неделя, 10 октомври 2010 г.
The Giving Tree, first published in 1964 by Harper & Row, is a children's book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. This book has become one of Silverstein's best known titles and has been translated into more than 30 languages.
• 1 Storyline
• 2 Interpretation
• 3 Song version
• 4 References
The Giving Tree is a tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree in a forest. The tree always provides the boy with what he wants: branches on which to swing, shade in which to sit, apples to eat, branches with which to build a home. As the boy grows older he requires more and more of the tree. The tree loves the boy very much and gives him anything he asks for. In the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, the tree lets the boy cut her down so the boy can build a boat in which he can sail. The boy leaves the tree, now a stump. Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns and the tree says, "I have nothing left to give you." The boy replies, "I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest." The tree then says, "Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come boy, sit down and rest." The boy obliged and the tree was happy.
Ever since the book was published, it has generated controversy and opposing opinions for its interpreted messages, on whether the tree is selfless or merely self-sacrificing, and whether the boy is selfish or reasonable in his demands of the tree. The story clearly shows childhood as being a time of relative happiness in comparison to the sacrifice and responsibility of adulthood.
Some academic readers describe the book as portraying a vicious, one-sided relationship between the tree and the boy: with the tree as the selfless giver and the boy as a greedy and insatiable entity who constantly receives, yet never gives anything back to the tree; a selfish love that could be misrepresented and imitated by its young readers. Indeed, some of these speakers single the tree out as an irresponsible parent whose self-sacrifice has left the boy ill-equipped. Other readers argue that the tree gives everything to the boy freely because she loves him, and its feelings are reciprocated by the boy when he returns to the tree for a rest. In this way, the relationship between the tree and the boy as he grows up could be viewed as similar to that between a parent and child; despite getting nothing in return for a long time, the tree puts the boy's needs foremost, because it wants him to be happy. Indeed, the only time the tree ever seems to be sad is when it feels that it has nothing left to give the boy and that the boy might never return.
As Ben Jackson, a professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University put it:
“ Is this a sad tale? Well, it is sad in the same way that life is depressing. We are all needy, and, if we are lucky and any good, we grow old using others and getting used up. Tears fall in our lives like leaves from a tree. Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised, however; it is what makes giving (and receiving) possible. The more you blame the boy, the more you have to fault human existence. The more you blame the tree, the more you have to fault the very idea of parenting. Should the tree's giving be contingent on the boy's gratitude? If it were, if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young, then we would all be doomed. ”
Jackson, linking the story to the human condition, asserts that readers ought to identify with both the boy and the tree.
 Song version
Shel Silverstein also wrote this same story in a song of the same name which was sung by Bobby Bare in his album "singing in the Kitchen"