Friday, May 04, 2007

Yet another Giving Tree rant

Today was Grandparents Day (and “special persons" day) at Lucia’s school. Bede took Lucia to the assembly while I went to my doctor’s appointment. Afterward, Bede told me that it was a good thing I hadn’t been there. One of the grades did interpretive dance to The Giving Tree. Lucia’s teacher told Bede, “I just love this story. It’s so sad.” Lucia was peeved when the dancing trees disappeared, and said, “Want the trees to come back!” The trees did return, but only to take a bow (no pun intended).

It’s a good thing I am an open-minded parent who is willing for my child to be introduced to concepts with which I don’t necessarily agree. In case you couldn’t tell, I wrote that last sentence with clenched teeth hidden behind a scowl. Some people might say, “Oh, why are you sad, twisted-minded people getting bent out of shape over The Giving Tree? It’s just a simple children’s story. La, la, la.”

To which I would reply, “Oh, why are you people getting bent out of shape over a little badly written conspiracy novel about Jesus Christ?”

Then, they might retort, “That novel WAS a big deal. After all, it twisted a lot of things about Christ.”

Then, I would say, “Oh yeah? Well, a lot of people equate the tree in The Giving Tree with Christ. But guess what: love is not a quantifiable commodity. If The Giving Tree were truly about Christ and unconditional love, the tree would have grown more apples. By all that is good and holy, the tree wouldn’t have been depleted when the boy picked her apples. When the boy chopped down her branches and trunk, she would have grown anew after three days. If you want apt allegories, make sure your metaphors actually line up.”

The naysayers would then reply, “Oh, Alkelda, I never looked at it that way. You’re right, you’re right, you’re right.”

Then, I would take a bow.


TadMack said...

I love the kinds of arguments I have when I can write what the other guys say...

I'm still struggling not to spit my coffee over the INTERPRETIVE DANCE segment of this post. For sheer hideousness value... wow.

Liz B said...

"Oh, Alkelda, I never looked at it that way. You’re right, you’re right, you’re right.”

I often have the same daydream about various things.

Except, of course, it's "Oh, Liz" rather than "Oh Alkelda."


Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Tadmak: Bede said it was actually a good dance except for the subject matter. And yes, I have these arguments all the time-- in my fantasies.

Liz B: You understand!

Elaine Magliaro said...


Another sad thing is that THE GIVING TREE always shows up on the list of 100 favorite teacher books--and it's usually in the top ten...along with LOVE YOU FOREVER.

HipWriterMama said...

Interpretive dance? While I scoff at such a ludicrous idea, strangely I'm wondering, how in the world did they do this?

You mentioned there were trees. So were these trees dancing with joy around The Giving Tree,either encouraging the tree or mocking the tree for letting the boy have his way? Does the boy dance with selfish glee each time he takes something away from the Giving Tree? Does The Giving Tree have a solo performance, dancing one last dance before collapsing on the ground from sheer exhaustion?

Clearly I am thinking too much.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HipWriterMama: I imagine that the trees threw rotten fruit, nuts and pinecones at the boy in the attempt to get him to GO AWAY. They also chastised the Giving Tree for being such an enabler. Then, the Giving Tree, finally realizing that the boy had played her for all he was worth, jumped around in a burlap bag (to demonstrate her stumpiness) and yes, collapsed on the ground.

What, it didn't happen that way? That's how I would have done the interpretive dance!

Elaine: This is good to know. I'm going to be that uppity, opinionated parent who makes a fuss over the school reading material. Fortunately, Waldorf schools focus on folklore and mythology, but still, I've got to use what scrawny muscle I've got.:)

Lone Star Ma said...

Sigh. I'm afraid the reading material often doesn't get tons better. Good literature tends to have to get inculcated at home.

Susan said...

Oh, boy. Interpretive dance to The Giving Tree? What a choice, but I have to say, it sounds like my kind of festival.

Kelly Fineman said...

Just in time for Arbor Day, interpretive dance to The Giving Tree. I hear they're going to do The Boy in Striped Pajamas next year (bigger cast, longer dance).

Thanks for the post, though.

Kelly said...

People have equated the tree with Christ? I've never heard that before.

I always read it as: You're a parent/tree. Soon a young person comes along and takes a piece of you bit by bit until you're dead. The end.

It disturbed me as a child, and it disturbs me now. Who thinks this would be a good children's book?

And interpretive dance? Egads!