ysth wrote:Maurits wrote:I consider The Giving Tree a horror story.
This. It's not just depressing, it is sick sick sick, teaching a lesson no one should learn.
...it's "sick" to not demand payback for the gifts you give?
I agree, the sociopolitical analogy was a bit too extreme and out of the scope here. What I think, though, is that "feeling happy for giving" is also a form of selfishness, isn't it? If you feel happy solely for doing something you think is good, without considering the actual consequences of your acts, you're just being selfish and irresponsible.
I also understand that the book is quite certainly an analogy to parenting, but, folks... that's not how parenting works. A parent who is willing to make his kid a spoiled brat by giving it everything without measure and without second thought is being a bad parent. The book never hints that, at some point, the tree/parent must say "no", and a child must hear a lot of "no" as well as "yes" in order to mature. If this Giving Tree is a role model for parents, then I understand perfectly why we have 12-year-olds beating up their teachers in school.
If parenting was all about giving and not taking, it would be a lot easier than it actually is.
That is a pretty out-of-context analysis of the story, and I kind of wonder whether you've actually read it.
The main thing the tree gives the boy is its love and time. It is not simply giving him presents, and although the boy does not give presents back, there is no indication that the boy is not grateful. The various gifts the tree gives are also pretty clearly things the boy needs to grow and be happy, even though the story isn't about the boy's happiness.
Most children are able to figure out that the moral of the story is that you don't need recompensation or gifts to be happy -- that you can find happiness and love simply by giving of yourself to others, and knowing that it helped them. That if you always require payback, you'll always feel an emptiness, but that if you are simply selfless and don't prey on others for your fulfillment, you'll find a truer, more complete fulfillment.
Or on a more banal note, "Money can't buy you happiness."
Also, countries aren't people. Your Africa analogy breaks down because the people recieving the gift are not the same ones who are suffering--that's the root of the problem, really. Your analogy is like saying "The tree was a bad friend because it tried to give the boy apples for food, but it got stolen by a squirrel."