This week’s prompt is to imitate the story The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I must confess that on reading this story I have been sickened. This writing style has always bothered me greatly. It is told in a very blank style, much like D. H. Lawrence’s The Rocking Horse Winner which is written in the style of a bright and cheerful children’s story while what is actually being told is extremely disturbing. This is written very bluntly and yet so gently that it is masking the horror of what is unfolding. It contrasts selflessness with selfishness. The selflessness is one of a twisted love. True love does not spoil, but it gives or holds back at particular moments to keep the loved one from damage. The tree in this story is also wholly placing it’s identity in the child. So not only is the child completely selfish, but the tree is not innocent as some perceive it. I have attempted to write something in a similar style but different enough that it does not disturb.
There was a boy who loved to cook.
When he was old enough, he went away to school.
Something about living on his own excited him.
While he was often busy studying
Some nights he’d have time to cook.
One day he planned to have a dinner.
He went and invited his best friends.
He told his roommates
And the people that were closest to him
Meanwhile he went out to buy food.
He bought only the best.
He took it to his kitchen and began to prepare.
He spent several hours.
He loved to cook,
And especially because it was for his friends
He worked very hard.
At last he found all of the food cooked.
He set the table
And laid everything perfectly ready.
He wiped the sweat from his forehead
And washed his hands.
He was ready to call everyone to dinner.
But none of his friends came.
One of them said he had to study.
Another had planned to spend time with someone else instead.
Not one of his friends would come.
He went back inside down cast.
He had prepared food for many,
He could not simply eat it alone.
Why would his friends leave him?
Why would his friends scorn his labor?
As he sat gazing at the ready food
An idea occurred to him.
He ran out into the hall.
There were other students in the rooms around him.
He called out to them and invited them to come.
“I have made a wonderful dinner that no one has come to!
The food is getting cold! Please, come!”
He invited total strangers to his room.
He sat down with them and ate.
His friends may have left him
But the feast was still eaten.
They enjoyed it even more
Than his friends might have,
Had they accepted his invitation.