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“The Giving Tree” Represents Humanity’s Disrespect Towards Trees

tree stump giving tree


I may be a bit old to be reading children’s books, but “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein really stuck out to me. It's about a young boy who adored playing with a tree. As he grew older, he used the tree’s resources for profit, housing, and transportation. The more he took from the tree, the less the tree had left to give. By the end of the story, (SPOILER ALERT) the tree had become a stump.


“The Giving Tree” symbolizes humanity’s toxic relationship with trees. The trees give and we take. We cut down trees for resources and to make room for “more important things.” In response, the trees don’t ask for anything. They are powerless and it is our responsibility to limit the amount of trees we cut down.


While reading the book, I primarily felt disappointed; not in the writing - the book itself was well written. It disappointed me that a person would strip the life out of a tree for greed. However, that is our world, and Shel Silverstein did a good job of expressing it. 

The Bottom Line

Yes, I'm over 55 years late to be reviewing this book, a number so big, I did not feel like writing it out. However, it serves the same message today as it did in 1964. We must respect trees; they can give us resources, but we shouldn’t cut them down in return.

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