The Giving Tree

Author: Shel Silverstein
Plot Summary: A young boy plays with a tree and both are happy. As he grows up, he asks the tree for a variety of things he needs; the tree gives to him generously and without any expectation of return. The boy becomes a man, and then an old man. In the end, all he needs is a place to sit, which the tree, now reduced to a mere stump by all it has given, is happy to provide.
Posted In: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Discussion Questions
  • Why does the tree give so much to the boy?
  • Is the boy right to keep asking for me?
  • What should the tree give to the boy?
  • What should the boy ask of the tree?
  • What is love?
  • Can a tree love a boy?
  • Can a boy love a tree?
  • Why do we change as we grow?
  • What is happiness?
  • What does some one need to be happy?
  • What is the meaning of life?