How It Should Have Ended (HISHE)
Have you ever read the classic children’s story “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein? I’ve always been disturbed that the tree sacrifices itself to a greedy old man — so I rewrote the ending and drew new pictures. Call it: The Giving Tree Sequel or The Giving Tree Redux. The last 4 pages pictured here are my new ending. I also matched the layout, font and typesetting exactly to the original book.
Last seen the old man is sitting on the stump of the tree looking forlorn. The tree is happy to see his old friend and offer him a place to sit; that is all the tree has left to give. But, presumably, the man is unhappier than ever after having taken the tree’s friendship for granted and realizing he has killed the tree with his greed. Giving credit to the original author, Shel Silverstein, perhaps the young readers are meant to learn to stop being so greedy and destructive, yet I wonder why the tree is still happy? And the man seems little changed by his actions, so there is not much character growth there.
Alternate ending to The Giving Tree
What if instead of the tree being reduced to a stump, the cycle of life continues with a lesson conveyed to the next generation, both a grandson and an apple sapling? Please see my pictures and words above.
Let me know how you think the Giving Tree should have ended in the comments below.
Dear all, Thanks for your valuable comments. Sirajuddin.
You completely missed the point of the book. The tree was happy at the end because the tree loved the man with the pure, selfless love that parents are called to give to their children. It didn’t condition its love on the man’s gratitude or reciprocation, just as parents shouldn’t condition the love for their children. Your ending obviates the whole point of the story. If you deny the role of sacrifice – true sacrifice – in life, you will blind yourself to its true beauty.
Hi Patrick, I like this interpretation a lot, especially from the POV of a parent. I’ll have to think about this more. I just wish this allegory wasn’t in the form of humans vs nature. Thx for your comment.
Modified end is good. I myself thought of two diffrent ends to this story. 1. When boy seat on the stump and thinking that the tree gave him everything it had and in return he did nothing. By this thought his his eyes became wet and tears started flowing down, down to the root of stump. And lo and behold…the new shoot came out of the old stump and the tree was happy.
Hi, Sirajuddin. I love this ending as well. Thanks.
I almost started crying. I haven’t read this book in forever and I rember the ending petty well, but this was even better! :,)
Thanks for your comment, Evelyn. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I’ve returned to this book for almost 50 years .. from a young child to an older woman. I still treasure it and your ending encapsulates the “redemption” theme In many ways. However, the Giving Tree must somehow learn not to give so much of herself that she has nothing left for her. No martyrdom. She needs Boundaries please.
Thanks for your comment. You added a whole new level of meaning for me. Of course, the tree has a lesson to be learned, too. Maybe the book needs yet another page? Or is it best left to the reader’s imagination.
I like your ending better
No, No, No! It’s a story about death and things coming to an end.