Tag Archives: relationship

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.


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.