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The Giving Tree Discussion Questions

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

The following discussion questions will confirm students' understanding of ''the Giving Tree'' by Shel Silverstein. While this story is assigned in elementary, many middle to post-secondary students explore the philosophical content.

The Giving Tree

These discussion questions on The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein allows students to examine their feelings and emotions about giving, love, and happiness while demonstrating their understanding of the storyline and characters.

Giving: A Selfless Act

  • Define selfish in your own words, now define selfless. Using these terms, how would you categorize the boy and the tree? Use specific scenes from the story to support your answer.
  • What do you think about someone who continually gives of themselves without considering their needs? Describe a character in a movie or book who has a similar characteristic. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of behavior?
  • Is the tree happy after giving her trunk? Explain. Have you ever given something away, then regretted the offering afterwards? Explain. Discuss how a recipient's appreciation might impact a giver's attitude. Do you think the boy was appreciative? Why or why not?
  • Are you the type of person who gives something and expects something in return? Why or why not? What do you think about people who have an opposite philosophy? Do you think the tree expected something in return? Why or why not?
  • If you're the recipient of a gift, do you feel you owe the giver? Why or why not? Should the boy feel obligated to the tree? Why or why not?
  • Are there limits to giving? Would you give to your detriment? Explain.

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