Tag Archives: love

Visible: Experience

22 Apr

So much of  The Giving Tree  is experienced through the quality of being visible. However, there is much to the story that is not explicitly visible because of lack of color or extreme detail in the drawings or even detail in the text. The visibility of this work is provided through the work of the imagination. As an experience, the visibility of The Giving Tree is such that the mind creates the forest as the environment in which the boy and tree’s relationship is kindled and therefore allows for a sense of happiness and adventure because of the mind’s freedom to go where it pleases.

Personally, when reading the story, I fill in the gaps, imagining other trees in the forest, a blue sky, bright sunshine. I imagine the boy shimmying up the tree rustling the branches, ruling the forest as a boy with such a wide open imagination. I imagine his life when he is away, at home with his family, spending time with his girlfriend under the tree. I imagine the boy carving the initials into the tree as a young boy, and again as an adolescent with the initials of his love. I imagine the boy growing older as a man, marrying his love from younger years, making a life with her. He needs a house so we see him return to the tree and ask for some wood. The tree of course gives him the wood and as the image on the page shows the boy, now older, walking away with the wood, one imagines him cutting this wood and building a house.

This story is so beautifully written that I would describe this experience of reading as imaginative and emotional. The visibility that the imagination provides is quite pleasurable and one that is most definitely unique to this work of literature.


Multiple: Experience

21 Apr

Calvino describes multiplicity as a quality that involves explaining until something cannot be explained any more- until a new topic is reached by the over explanation of an original topic. However, The Giving Tree, in its 25 pages, is not an example of this. It demonstrates a different kind of multiplicity, and that is the repetition of certain elements of the story.

I found this experience of repetition or multiplication to be endearing, especially since at its core, The Giving Tree is a children’s book. This is not only easy for the children to understand, but from an adult perspective provides a sense of enforced meaning and a deeper emphasis on the message of unconditional love and understanding. The fact that the tree continues to give and support the boy is a true testament to her love, and therefore the aspect of the story that is multiplied simply enhances this attribution.