I forgot how I came across the memory of the ‘The Giving Tree’ story, just yesterday, and started to youtube the short film, narrated by the author himself, Shel Silverstein.
The story was first told to me, or somewhere I read it when I was in Primary School. The familiarity of the story comes from the pictures itself – the most significant is when the full-grown tree is reduced to a stump towards the end of the story. I guess most of us would have known this story, or that it must be lying somewhere in your childhood memory – since especially during that stage of growing up, we would have been told more stories than we’ve ever been told when we’re all grown up.
There has been many interpretations of the original story, as I googled the background of the story and reviews – whether it’s in a pure way of one’s selfless love for another with no evil intentions of course, or either what reviews claim to be “controversial concerns” about the story ; in an erotic way which I never did interpret it that way when I was narrated to the story for the first time, at that point of time when I barely knew about the existence of those kind of stuff. But Literature allows you to interpret a story in so many ways if you can offer a good explanation which gets the nod, so this possibility cannot be ruled out.
My interpretation of the story, which is the most sensical explanation I can think of to justify for the love that… the apple tree has for the little boy, is like a parent-child relationship – which a parent is willing to give his/her all for the future of the child so that the child is happy (when the boy grows up and wants more and more out of the tree). It seems logical to think that it’s a win-win situation since we’re a part of our parents and it’ll make them happy if we are (the repetition of “and the tree was happy” in the story). But to deprive something out of them for our own happiness is a different thing. It doesn’t have to necessarily be biological parent, could be a foster one or like a grandparent’s love.
Below is the film, narrated by the author himself. Compared to so many videos out there with narrations from different people with nice, soothing voices, the music gives the old vintagey, classic-film feel and the original voice behind the story brings out alot of that heart-sinking feeling.