Tag Archives: light

Light: Experience

21 Apr

The Giving Tree offers much that represents the characteristic of being light and most of this lightness is in an aesthetic sense in terms of text and pictures. Each page is full of open, white space with the exception of a few words and lines that make the outlines of the tree and the boy. Not only is there a great deal of white space, but everything is in black and white- there is no color to be found, save for on the cover of the book. This lack of abundant text, art and color on each page leaves no option but to leave the reader with a sense of weightlessness- that this book is truly a light read.

Not only do the pages provide a sense of lightness, the quality of being light, but this book can also be read in less than three minutes- a “light” experience and not a cumbersome or daunting task. Calvino expresses what he feels to be light in terms of its antonym form- weightlessness. And while I do feel this book does provide lightness through its aesthetic attributes, it does weigh heavily on the heart in terms of emotions. This story is such that Silverstein ropes in the reader with just the right expression and wording in a most simple form. The connection developed between the tree and the boy, the boy and the tree and the reader and these characters is such a strong bond that one feels as though they are a part of the story. The reader experiences the sense of love, loyalty and imagination that is prevalent throughout the story through these relationships, and as these are some of the strongest emotions that humans can feel, an immense sense of weight, or heavy heartedness is felt when the boy is gone for such an extended period of time. When he comes back and takes and takes, multiple times, one feels a sense of empathy for the tree because we know that the tree cannot really be happy in her lonesome state.

From these observations, it is apparent that Silverstein has created a paradox through the juxtaposition of the sense of lightness prevalent in the aesthetics of the story and the great sense of weight from the emotional involvement invested by the reader. I feel as though the combination of these two attributes really contribute to the success of this story because of its ability to appeal to children as a story to which they can relate because of the boy’s active imagination and playful spirit, as well as the ability to appeal to adults because of its deeper meaning and emotional relevance to the characteristic of unconditional giving that we learn to develop as we love those around us.

Light: Adaptation

21 Apr

My visualization of The Giving Tree is such that it could be adapted to a short film with relatively few edits. When I reflect on the book as a whole in my mind, as one continuous storyline, my imagination fills in the gaps between each scene and the time lapses. I imagine what the characters of the tree and the boy are like outside of their roles and interactions with each other, and develop the characters into fully fleshed-out and primary characters of a rich storyline, to which they do belong.

An adaptation would require the filling in of such parts of the story, but not in a cumbersome way- it would still remain as a light story, for it is only the interactions of the boy and tree that weigh heavily on the audience. The filler components of the story I image as the boy at home with his family, eating dinner, getting ready for bed, cared for by his loving parents. As he gets older, he is coming to and from high school, going on his first date, then getting ready to go to college. His life continues as such in average, every day sequences of events until he goes back to the tree. His returned visits are part of what is fathomable as a “conflict” because of the strained relationship and sense of guilt on the part of the boy and a sense of desperation from the tree. The episodes of the boy returning to tree over time represent story arcs, as discussed by Seger (pg.92). Because they are broken up over time in the boy’s life, but not over many chapters, these story arcs are also one way that this story is light- it is not of great burden to the reader to progress through the passage of time, although the burden is felt as empathy for both the boy and the tree alike. In terms of character motives, this story presents a great deal of intentionality (pg.93). The boy, as he gets older, comes to the tree with specific intentions and desires. As is the tree’s nature, she continues to give and give until she has nothing left but to provide a final resting place for the boy as an old man.

All in all, an adaptation would also present the juxtaposition of lightness with weight because of the story’s capacity to allow for lightheartedness in the frivolity of the boy’s adolescence, while at the same time emphasizing the struggle that is the relationship between the boy and the tree over the years.

Light: Cornell

21 Apr

The composition of a blox based on the work and guidance of Cornell around The Giving Tree in terms of the quality of being light, I will draw upon things from my own childhood that give me memories of lightness that are also found in The Giving Tree. The first thing that comes to mind is leaves. Not only are leaves an epitome of the quality of being light, but they are a large aspect of the story- they are much of the tree as the picture on the pages, as well as a prop for the boy when he makes a crown and builds his house. Another item included in my blox for light’s quality will be a child’s blanket. This is for both personal reasons and because of the boy’s adolescence in the book. When I would young I had a blanket that I loved. It was the perfect weight- just light enough to be snuggly and comforting while at the same time providing the comfort of warmth when I was cold.  Part of my synthesis for the holes in the story is the boy at home with his family. I can imagine that he would also have some kind of a blanket, as many children do.

The concept of being light can also, in my mind, represent a state of happiness. Therefore, I will include a flower, more specifically a daisy, because flowers make me happy. This is something that I imagine being around as a wildflower in the forest where the tree grows and where the boy plays. As a child myself, I spent a great deal of time playing outside and enjoying the outdoors. As another component of lightness implied in The Giving Tree to which I also relate are clouds. As the boy is outside playing in the shade of the tree, one can imagine that the sky is filled with sunlight and big, pillowy clouds.

For all of these items, I have reflected on the aspects of the story to which I relate that represent lightness. I have relied on nostalgia as well as prior knowledge that has been acquired over my 22 years of living, along with my 17 years of education. Like Cornell, this reliance on both physical and mental notes and the collection of items surrounding specific emotions have allowed me to compile this blox as I have.