Critical Analysis of the Giving Tree

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Psychoanalytical View of The Giving Tree In “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, both the characters, the tree and the boy, have mirrored psyche’s as their ego’s seek their ID’s, ultimately gratifying themselves rather than each other. While the boy’s initial desire is to take from the tree, the tree’s initial desire is to give, showing how both characters ID’s overwhelm their superego. However, the boy’s desires changes as he grows into an old man, while the tree’s desires stay the same. Initially, the young boy’s desire to play with the tree without any fears, needs, and conflicts reveals his unconscious mind. This is shown when “they would play hide and go seek…[and] he would sleep in her shade” (Silverstein 9-10). The boy’s desire to play, subsequently reveals his ID. His superego feels he should return his love to the tree, as “the boy loved the tree very much” (Silverstein, 11). However as a young boy, he is unaware as his unconscious ego is not prevalent to him as his innocence overwhelms his mind to acknowledge that the tree will not be there forever, thus he should take advantage of the time he has now. This is evident as time went by, and the boy grew older, and “the tree was often alone” (Silverstein, 13-15). In the meantime, the tree wishes only to give everything the boy wants, which serves as her ID. She realizes that the boy will not be around forever, and that she must not get too attached to the boy. However her ego pushes aside her superego leaving her immediate desire, satisfying the boy’s wishes, which resulted in “the tree [to be] happy” (Silverstein, 12). As the boy gets older, his desires shift to materialistic objects. He needs money, a house and a boat in order to “buy things…keep [him] warm…take [him] far away from here”. Without these things, he feels he will not be happy. His superego urges him to stray away from using the tree as
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