FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Revelations... (Page 2)

  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   
Author Topic: Revelations...
breyerchic04
Member
Member # 6423

 - posted      Profile for breyerchic04   Email breyerchic04         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom, I love you.


Sorry, Christy.


Oh dear that shouldn't be on a new page.

Posts: 5362 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SenojRetep
Member
Member # 8614

 - posted      Profile for SenojRetep   Email SenojRetep         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
A martyr complex is not a virtue.

But can martyrdom itself be virtuous? If my daughter is about to be hit by a truck, is it good that I push her out of the way, sacrificing my life for hers? Or am I enabling her carelessness and I should let her get hit? That'll teach her.

Martyrdom is not necessarily virtuous, but it can be (and often is, despite the unworthiness of the beneficiary; or perhaps because of it).

Posts: 2923 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lisa
Member
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
The Giving Tree is, quite frankly, the most disturbing story I have ever read.

Did I ever post the link for The Healthy Giving Tree? I once corresponded with the author, and if I ever manage to create illustrations for him, he may actually get this published.
Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's awesome, starLisa.
Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sweetbaboo
Member
Member # 8845

 - posted      Profile for sweetbaboo   Email sweetbaboo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree, much better, starLisa.
Posts: 697 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ophelia
Member
Member # 653

 - posted      Profile for Ophelia   Email Ophelia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes, definitely better.
Posts: 3801 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lisa
Member
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Now I just have to teach myself how to draw. <grin>
Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SenojRetep
Member
Member # 8614

 - posted      Profile for SenojRetep   Email SenojRetep         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What do people who dislike The Giving Tree think of Oscar Wilde's fable, The Nightingale and the Rose. Do you have a similarly negative reaction?

When I read TGT, I thought it was tragic that the boy/man was too selfish to properly value the sacrifices the tree made on his behalf. But I always found the tree's selflessness to be something to be admired, not disdained.

Posts: 2923 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:

When I read TGT, I thought it was tragic that the boy/man was too selfish to properly value the sacrifices the tree made on his behalf. But I always found the tree's selflessness to be something to be admired, not disdained.

"Disdained" would not be the word I would use. "Saddened/horrified by" would fit closer, although not perfectly.

"Disdain" comes with an inherent flavor of superiority and looking down on another. That would not fit my emotion at all.

-----------------------

Edited to add: I am not fond of the other story you linked, but it does not grate at me so coarsely as TGT. Perhaps because the relationship and expectations are different?

The nightingale strikes me as rather misguided and quixotic (to say the least), but the nightingale seems to view this as a grand gesture Toward Love, not so much Of Loving. The latter feels more of a perversion to me, in these contexts, although neither (IMHO) is healthy or ultimately useful.

Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ophelia
Member
Member # 653

 - posted      Profile for Ophelia   Email Ophelia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with CT about the nightingale story.
Posts: 3801 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I should add that I am very wary of those who would insist on sacrificing themselves on my behalf. In my family, it was not uncommon to metaphorically have family members chase you down the streets (through an alley, up the fire escape, leaping between tall buildings) in order to "do you the favor" of some self-sacrifice on their parts.

I got to know the metaphorical back streets pretty well, and I learned where all the best hidey-holes from other's excessive largesse were. *grin

Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The thing that really irks me about TGT is that the boy learns nothing. I believe that love should give extravagantly, but it does bother me that the boy doesn't so much as notice the gift, much less strive to be worthy of it. I "get" the tree, but the boy really pisses me off.
Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SenojRetep
Member
Member # 8614

 - posted      Profile for SenojRetep   Email SenojRetep         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
"Disdained" would not be the word I would use. "Saddened/horrified by" would fit closer, although not perfectly.

I knew 'disdained' wasn't quite right, but I couldn't think of anything better at the time [Smile]
quote:
The nightingale strikes me as rather misguided and quixotic
In both cases the words I would first use to describe the character's actions would be "noble" and "elevated" (moreso in the case of the nightingale, but also in the case of TGT).

<edit> In both cases I feel inspired by the purity of love, despite the unworthiness of the beneficiary. It appeals to the romantic in me that love (and sacrifice born of love) is its own raison d'etre (if I can't sound smart in English, I'll try a different language) </edit>

Posts: 2923 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It is a different perspective, I suppose. Very much the Rorshach, in some ways. *smile
Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In thinking more about this, I've come to realize that in cases where there truly is no other option to save another, I do find self-sacrifice to be noble and elevated.

For example, I've long been haunted by the memory of seeing a man in icy, frigid waters gathering others and strapping them in to be helicoptered to safety. (This was a news clip after, IIRC, a plane crash of the Atlantic coast.) He kept pushing others forward and eventually drowned himself before they could all be saved.

That is, in my estimation, one of the bravest and noblest things I've ever seen. I fear I couldn't live up to this example myself, although I would like to think I could find it in me to rise to the occasion. Similarly for the story of Scarlett, the very brave cat who returned into the burning building time and again to save her kittens from the fire.

In both these cases, there really was no other way to save the others. It was a last-ditch, desparate measure, not an embracing of a way of life.

Contrast this to TGT, who seemed possibly just a little too quick and eager to volunteer itself for the cause. Why not take the approach used by THGT? Or why not encourage the boy to find other ways of making his way in the world -- ways which would be "teaching him to fish" rather than just providing one meal?

I don't think I would've had such a problem with the story if it was clear that the (better, more healthy, more sustainable, less martyristic) other options had all been exhausted. As it is, I'm suspicious that this particular tree probably cuts initials into its own bark and has a childhood history of some longterm root abuse.

*wry look

Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SenojRetep
Member
Member # 8614

 - posted      Profile for SenojRetep   Email SenojRetep         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
As it is, I'm suspicious that this particular tree probably cuts initials into its own bark and has a history of some root abuse. *wry look

I don't often laugh at posts (and I *disdain* the rolling graemlin) but that made me chuckle.
Posts: 2923 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(*grin)
Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lisa
Member
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
What do people who dislike The Giving Tree think of Oscar Wilde's fable, The Nightingale and the Rose. Do you have a similarly negative reaction?

Gawd, that was awful. But you know, it's different. In both cases, the boy/man is really rotten. Worse in Wilde's story, but only marginally.

The real difference is in the tree/nightingale. The nightingale gave its life for something it truly believed in and identified with. It formed a value judgement and acted on it. The tree... the tree is just pathetic, and as much as I found the boy appalling, my contempt for the tree vastly outweighed it.

I can respect the nightingale, even if I think it made a poor choice.

Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lisa
Member
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
I should add that I am very wary of those who would insist on sacrificing themselves on my behalf. In my family, it was not uncommon to metaphorically have family members chase you down the streets (through an alley, up the fire escape, leaping between tall buildings) in order to "do you the favor" of some self-sacrifice on their parts.

I've had acquaintances (I hesitate to use the term "friends") who were constantly doing huge favors. But there was always an implicit string attached. I thought of it as similar to the kids who jump out at an intersection and clean your windshield without having asked you, and demand to be paid for it.
Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, exactly.

Remind me to tell you about my "Aunt Purple" sometime. [Smile]

Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom, a tree stump is still alive, and can send up new shoots easily. The tree didn't die. Also, the tree had thoughts and feelings in the story after the point at which its trunk was taken. I don't want to minimize the sacrifice of the tree, for it was indeed great. That's why it affects us so powerfully, I think. But a tree can take a much longer view of things than a man can. That seems to me to be a key in the story. A tree is a greater being (in this story) than a boy.

Are we only to give our love and service to those who are grateful, then? I'm really surprised that you feel that way, CT and dkw. For me the blessing and exaltation of the gift is in the choice to give it. Then the one who accepts the gift also has a choice (free agency) to accept with joy and gratitude and be similarly blessed by it, or to take it thoughtlessly or not at all, and miss the blessing. Either way, the gift is a worthy and admirable act.

The tree can't force the boy to understand or be grateful. That choice belongs to him.

Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why do you assume strings are always attached? Did the tree attach strings? I don't see any hint that it did.

It's rather funny that people tend to be suspicious of gifts, but if someone tries to take things then they feel they understand and can trust that person.

I feed the animals in my backyard. I do it because they are cute and I love watching them. And because the life of a wild animal is a hard one, and I sympathize and want to ease their lives just a bit. Also when they come around looking for something to eat, I feel empathy with their hunger, so I put out food for them. There are no strings. I do it for the joy of it. They aren't grateful. God does the same thing for me. He provides the earth's bounty, the sunshine, the rain, the beauty of nature, the sky, intelligence, etc. to bless me. I don't think there are strings on that transaction either.

Is it really true that I'm so different in outlook from you, CT, and from you, dkw? This discussion is making me feel sad. The world must be a fairly harsh and unloving place for you guys?

Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Are we only to give our love and service to those who are grateful, then? I'm really surprised that you feel that way, CT and dkw.
That is not even remotely what I said. Neither I nor CT said anything about gratitude.

quote:
Is it really true that I'm so different in outlook from you, CT, and from you, dkw? This discussion is making me feel sad. The world must be a fairly harsh and unloving place for you guys?
No, the world is a place full of love and joy. But encouraging people to sin is not a positive thing, in my opinion, and that is what the tree was doing.
Posts: 9866 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dkw, I suppose this is a pastoral question. I'm trying to understand how being generous and loving is an encouragement to sin. Will you tell me more about what you think?
Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Being generous and loving is not an inducement to sin. Encouraging someone to do something that will deeply hurt another person, even if that person is yourself, is.
Posts: 9866 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
maui babe
Member
Member # 1894

 - posted      Profile for maui babe   Email maui babe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There's a line between being "generous and loving" and being enabling. I tend to agree with dkw and CT on this one that TGT is more enabling.
Posts: 2069 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, I think I'm starting to understand a little better now, maybe. It's the harm to the tree that's the part where the sin comes in?

I see this as a Christ figure book. That makes me wonder though, if what the giving tree did was bad, why was what Christ did for us a good thing? He too was deeply hurt. By accepting his gift, am I not being in many ways like the boy in the story?

(Hopefully, I'm more grateful and cognizant of the sacrifice made than he was. But I'm not really positive he wasn't. He just didn't seem to be. Maybe he was. Or maybe he found wisdom in his old age, or after he died (as in my sequel). And regardless of whether he was or not, it's for sure that I'm not nearly grateful ENOUGH.)

Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What do you think Jesus would have done if Peter had come up to him and said, "Jesus, I'm really not happy with my life. This whole "disciple" thing is just not working for me. Would you suffer physical, mental, and spiritual agony so that I can build a boat and sail far away?"
Posts: 9866 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Either way, the gift is a worthy and admirable act.

The tree can't force the boy to understand or be grateful.

Anne Kate, in this scenario, the gift itself seems supremely selfish. If the point of the gift is the GIFT -- if the attitude or reaction of the recipient of the gift is completely incidental to the "nobility" of the gift itself -- then giving becomes its own supremely self-interested act. In this case, self-sacrifice is just another form of twisted vanity.
Posts: 37419 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom, how is it twisted vanity to be kind and generous?

Isn't it the other way around? If you only give when the person is going to reward you by being grateful and admiring to you in return, isn't that a commercial transaction rather than a gift? Isn't that the gift with strings? The one that you wouldn't give to someone ungrateful?

Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dkw, I don't find Peter's position admirable, in your hypothetical tale, but as for what Christ would do, I think he sort of already did that for me, sacrificed his life, and bore mental and physical and spiritual agony for my sorry self, long before I was cognizant of or grateful for his gift. :/
Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Also, the boy didn't ASK the tree for its gifts. The tree offered and the boy accepted.
Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For your sorry self, yes. To build you a boat, no.

And the boy did ask.

Posts: 9866 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
What do you think Jesus would have done if Peter had come up to him and said, "Jesus, I'm really not happy with my life. This whole "disciple" thing is just not working for me. Would you suffer physical, mental, and spiritual agony so that I can build a boat and sail far away?"
You've nailed it dkw. Its not the fact that the tree makes these sacrifices for the boy which bothers me. Its that nothing the boy takes from the tree brings him happiness. The tree gives her all and still the boy is unhappy and unsatisfied. The trees gifts are essentially worthless. In fact it makes me wonder whether the trees gifts actually contribute to the boys life long selfish attitude.

It also seems to me that if the boy hadn't taken the trees branchhes and trees trunk, dozens of boys could have swung from her branches and eaten her apples. Over time, hundred of people could have sat in her shade and found joy in the beauty of the tree. Instead, this tree decided to sacrifice herself to the selfish lusts of one boy who never even go any joy from her gifts.

And Tatiana, Don't many years pass between when the boy takes the trees trunk for a boat and when he comes to sit on her trunk. Yet there are no new shoots. Some trees will continue to send up new shoots after they are cut down, many do not. Based on the story, this tree does indeed seem to be truly dead.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
dkw, I don't find Peter's position admirable, in your hypothetical tale, but as for what Christ would do, I think he sort of already did that for me, sacrificed his life, and bore mental and physical and spiritual agony for my sorry self, long before I was cognizant of or grateful for his gift. :/

But Christ's sacrifice has given you and I something of real and incomparable value. Christ didn't offer himself so that we could live in big houses or sail around in boats. He didn't offer himself so that we could glut ourselves with material things that never satisfy. Christ sacrifice was to bring us true eternal joy.

The tree sacrifices everything for the boy, but her sacrifices never give the boy anything of lasting value. They never even make the boy happy.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rabbit, the tree still has thoughts and feelings as a stump at the very end, so it's definitely not dead.

dkw, Christ's sacrifice doesn't give us anything of any value at all unless we notice it and accept the gift and understand the magnitude of it and feel grateful for it. I think the boy is sort of in the same position with regards to the tree. He can only receive the blessing of the gift if he will notice and understand.

Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The real gift isn't the physical fruit, or limbs or trunk. The real gift is the love they convey, and the desire for his happiness that they show. The physical things are just the hardware platform that supports the real gifts.
Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Tom, how is it twisted vanity to be kind and generous?
It's hard to describe this to someone who's never experienced it, and I have to assume from what you've posted here that you (thankfully) never have. But there is indeed a twisted form of "generosity" out there that feeds on the need of others, even or especially when those others aren't grateful. It's a dark and particularly vile form of giving, not least because it can seem completely innocent. It becomes a sort of self-mutilation, an enforced martyrdom, a cross one chooses to bear -- and it doesn't even need to be something that anyone else appreciates, because the giver, deep down, gets the same satisfaction from his or her martyrdom that people sometimes get when peeling off a particularly thick and crusty scab.

It has to do with boundaries, I think, and concepts of self-sufficiency and self-worth. The tree was worth something, and she allowed herself to be destroyed when her destruction was neither necessary nor desirable, merely to grant some kid's ill-formed whims. She should have recognized the value of her own life and the long-term merit in continuing to exist while providing reasonable and useful gifts to someone deserving of them.

Posts: 37419 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lisa
Member
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Are we only to give our love and service to those who are grateful, then? I'm really surprised that you feel that way, CT and dkw. For me the blessing and exaltation of the gift is in the choice to give it. Then the one who accepts the gift also has a choice (free agency) to accept with joy and gratitude and be similarly blessed by it, or to take it thoughtlessly or not at all, and miss the blessing. Either way, the gift is a worthy and admirable act.

All the tree has done is to teach a very bad moral lesson. It's like parenting. Parents who never demand anything from their children, but only give, give, give... that's close to child abuse, in my opinion.

The tree didn't teach the boy responsibility; it taught the boy the unimportance of responsibility. It taught the boy that taking advantage of others is okay. And the book has passed that lesson on to countless children.

To answer your question, though, the only reason to do things for those who are not grateful is if it's going to have some other positive effect. If there's hope that eventually the ungrateful person will learn to behave correctly. If there's hope that other people will learn from the pathetic example of the ungrateful person.

Certainly not just to parade ones own virtues.

(And not for nothing, but "giving love" is cool; "giving service" makes my skin crawl.)

Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lisa
Member
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Tom, how is it twisted vanity to be kind and generous?

Isn't it the other way around? If you only give when the person is going to reward you by being grateful and admiring to you in return, isn't that a commercial transaction rather than a gift? Isn't that the gift with strings? The one that you wouldn't give to someone ungrateful?

There's a middle ground. Yes, doing something because it's right may be better (context depending) than doing something because you're getting a concrete benefit out of it. But when it only harms the giver and the giver keeps doing it, and when it's not truly benefiting the recipient either, then it's either masochism or someone showing off how kind they are.

I think everyone reading this topic should take two spoonfulls of The Fountainhead and get some sleep.

Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tatiana, I've been mulling over this since I woke up (and that was 6 hours ago, so it's a lotta mull), and I can't quite figure out how to respond in a way that would make sense. I think that maybe we are starting from two such different places that I would find it helpful to work on getting a better grasp on your perspective first.

I want to ask a few questions, but I also want to make sure you know that I'm not setting you up for something. [Smile] They are honest, want-to-know questions, and I won't be pushing you to defend your answers. (You should also feel free not to answer, of course, especially if you get the sense that this isn't going in a productive way for you.)

So, if you're interested, willing, and able:

1) Did you think that the tree character in the original The Giving Tree or the one in The Healthy Giving Tree acted in a better way (however you may want to define "better," be it "nobler" or "more enlightened" or "more helpful," or whatever "better" may mean to you)?

2) Separately from #1, did you think that the tree character in the original The Giving Tree or the one in The Healthy Giving Tree was a better role model for how to act to another (however you may view the relationship between the tree and the boy, be it "friend-friend" or "parent-child," or whatever relationship resonates most strongly with you as the truest metaphor)?

I think I can get a better handle on how to piece through my thoughts in a useful way if I know where you are on these points (for whatever reason -- the reason itself isn't really what I need, though you are of course welcome to elaborate). Meanwhile, I'll keep struggling with the mulling. [Wink]

[ March 22, 2006, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SenojRetep
Member
Member # 8614

 - posted      Profile for SenojRetep   Email SenojRetep         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So I talked about TGT vs. THGT with my wife last night. Her reaction to THGT was identical to mine. To wit, "The tree doesn't really give anything, does it? It's more like The Teaching Tree." Teaching is very important; I like the lesson of THGT. But it's no longer a lesson in giving (at least the portion of giving that is costly, i.e. sacrifice).

I would like TGT more if it was evident that the sacrifice was meaningful (like Christ's sacrifice for me). I see that as a shortcoming of the story, but it does not impinge on my appreciation of the message. This is akin to, "no parable is perfect, but the principles they teach can be."

Posts: 2923 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
After giving it some more thought, I think part of my problem is that the tree is female. I hate reinforcing stereotypes where the woman makes huge sacrifices for an unworthy male and should consider herself fulfilled by that.

I do believe that love is a gift and that one should give it extravagantly and unreasonably, but that gift can only come from a place of great strength. It is a subtle but really important part of the equation that isn't well defined in the book. I think that often women make those sacrifices from a place of powerlessness in a relationship and I hate teaching little girls that that is how things should be.

I wonder if I would be less bothered if the tree was "male" and the "givee" was a little girl. Although that is a bit creepy, too now that I think of it.

[ March 22, 2006, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grisha
Member
Member # 6871

 - posted      Profile for Grisha   Email Grisha         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I always thaught the tree was just trying to help the boy be happy, and making the boy happy, seemed to make the tree happy, because the tree loved the boy. I guess you all see the Tree as having other motives. [Dont Know]

Oh well, I still like what I think it means. [Cool]

Posts: 376 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I guess you all see the Tree as having other motives.
No. I just think the Tree was sick.
Posts: 37419 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tatiana
Member
Member # 6776

 - posted      Profile for Tatiana   Email Tatiana         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
CT, I didn't read THGT because

1) I love the original, which I think is a great work of art.
2) THGT is a takeoff on an original great work of art, and those don't ever seem to come off with anything like the impact or importance of the originals. The poem "Dover Bitch" is a good example of what I mean, but there are numerous cases like this, none of which are coming to mind at the moment. [Smile]
3) I didn't want to spoil the beauty of the original in my heart.

I apologize if my "fanfic" sequel for the book did something like that (spoiled it) for anyone else. I've never really thought of my sequel in words before, it's just the idea that I've carried with me since a few days after hearing the story for the first time.

By the way, I first heard the story perhaps a year ago, or a bit longer, and it was read aloud to me by someone I dearly love, who reminds me very much of the tree. [Wink]

To me the tree is definitely giving from a position of strength and puissance. It's only the boy's heedlessness which even hints at the viewpoint that the tree and the tree's sacrifice are not of great worth and magnificence. The tree is simple and humble, yet the tree is exalted, a higher being than the boy. It seems he may not realize this, or not until the end. I think he may have found wisdom while sitting in the sun on the stump, but if not then certainly he did as he lay under the earth after his death.

What the tree did for the boy is so much like what Christ did for me that I can't read the story without feeling an enormous influx of joy and power and love. It brings home the glory of the Atonement to me in a direct and immediate way, making me feel again this very moment what I only *remember* feeling most of the time.

This tree, in fact, is tied up in my mind with the image of the White Tree in the Lord of the Rings books, and the Tree of Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon (Volemak's dream in the Homecoming series, for non-LDS people). The images of those three trees have partially merged in the storybank inside my head.

I want to understand your viewpoint on the story, because I do think I have a different approach to giving gifts than most everyone else I know, and I would like to understand the differences so I can know how to guess what other people are thinking.

I have some questions for those of you who see this book very differently from me, too, if you will indulge me. Same caveats apply as CT wrote concerning her questions to me.

1. Do you give money to panhandlers? Have you ever given over $5 to a panhandler?

2. Do you give money or items to charity? If you do, is the tax write-off worth more to you than the money or items you give?

3. Do you pay a regular percentage of your income to your church or other organization?

4. Have you ever done volunteer work? For what cause and about how many hours (or hours a month) have you volunteered?

5. Do you give blood? If so, would it matter to you if you found out that the recipient of your blood was a felon shot in the process of committing a felony? If you found out that 30% of blood recipients were felons, would it have an impact on your willingness to give blood?

6. If you help people in the course of your work, does the gratitude of the client have any impact on the diligence with which you would serve that client? Does your perception of them as a good or bad person have any impact?

7. Are there people who have been more generous to you than you "deserve" in the course of your life? How strongly do you identify with the boy?

8. Have you ever later been sorry for any act of generosity you've done, because of the ingratitude of the recipient? Does the recipient hold the power to change the meaning and worth in your heart of your actions by being grateful or not grateful?

If any of these are too personal or invasive, don't answer. I truly don't understand, and I want to understand.

Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
1. Do you give money to panhandlers? Have you ever given over $5 to a panhandler? Last time I encountered a panhandler was outside a Subway, and I bought him a sandwich. I think it cost more than $5.


2. Do you give money or items to charity? If you do, is the tax write-off worth more to you than the money or items you give? I do, and much of it is in cash with no tax write off.

3. Do you pay a regular percentage of your income to your church or other organization?10% plus special offerings and designated giving.

4. Have you ever done volunteer work? For what cause and about how many hours (or hours a month) have you volunteered? Yes. Appalachian Service Project, Habitat for Humanity, Iowa Peace Network, Heifer Project, Interfaith Economic Justice Inititive, local public schools, and a bunch of others. Time varies from a few hours a week to week-long service trips.

5. Do you give blood? If so, would it matter to you if you found out that the recipient of your blood was a felon shot in the process of committing a felony? If you found out that 30% of blood recipients were felons, would it have an impact on your willingness to give blood? Yes, no, and no.

6. If you help people in the course of your work, does the gratitude of the client have any impact on the diligence with which you would serve that client? Does your perception of them as a good or bad person have any impact? As part of my job I give out food at our church food pantry and also have a discretionary fund from which I can write checks for rent, utilities, gas, medicine, a hotel room for the night, etc. Gratitude is completely irrelevent and I rarely know enough about the people to judge whether they are "good" or "bad" people. If I think they're lying about why they need the money I might call and check their story, though.

7. Are there people who have been more generous to you than you "deserve" in the course of your life? How strongly do you identify with the boy? Yes. Not very strongly. I'm generally a pretty happy person and I think I've had and am having a great life. The boy seems to me pretty miserable and not content with his life.

8. Have you ever later been sorry for any act of generosity you've done, because of the ingratitude of the recipient? Does the recipient hold the power to change the meaning and worth in your heart of your actions by being grateful or not grateful? No. Gratitude is, as I've said, completely irrelevant.

Posts: 9866 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Again, the boy's gratitude (or lack thereof) isn't the problem. Frankly, I think you're reading a Christ metaphor into a book which is meant to be a parenting metaphor.
Posts: 37419 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, I think it's trying to be a Christ metaphor. I just think it fails.
Posts: 9866 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
1. Do you give money to panhandlers? Have you ever given over $5 to a panhandler?

Yes and yes, although I prefer to give large sums to soup kitchens and shelters rather than directly to pan handers.

2. Do you give money or items to charity? If you do, is the tax write-off worth more to you than the money or items you give?

Yes. Although I do take the tax write off I would give as much if there were no tax break.

3. Do you pay a regular percentage of your income to your church or other organization?

Yes

4. Have you ever done volunteer work? For what cause and about how many hours (or hours a month) have you volunteered?

Yes. I've never kept track of the hours.

5. Do you give blood? If so, would it matter to you if you found out that the recipient of your blood was a felon shot in the process of committing a felony? If you found out that 30% of blood recipients were felons, would it have an impact on your willingness to give blood?

They won't take my blood because I have an autoimmune disorder. If they would take it, I would give and not it wouldn't matter to me who got the blood.

6. If you help people in the course of your work, does the gratitude of the client have any impact on the diligence with which you would serve that client? Does your perception of them as a good or bad person have any impact?

I'm a teacher so my job is primarily to help people. I find it gratifying when students show appreciation for my efforts but try my best not to let it affect my teaching or grading.


7. Are there people who have been more generous to you than you "deserve" in the course of your life? How strongly do you identify with the boy?

Yes but I still don't identify with the boy.

8. Have you ever later been sorry for any act of generosity you've done, because of the ingratitude of the recipient? Does the recipient hold the power to change the meaning and worth in your heart of your actions by being grateful or not grateful?

I don't regret giving when a person is simply inappreciative, but it really bothers me when I give something and it is wasted, particularly if it is a gift I put a lot of thought or time into.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2