- Accidental Aesop: Don't keep giving and giving people things when they keep asking, or they'll just keep taking and taking while giving you nothing in return.
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- The Tree's love for the Boy is unconditional, but because the Boy is never said to give the Giving Tree anything in return, and doesn't seem to notice or appreciate the sacrifices the Tree is making for his happiness, some readers find the Boy to be very unsympathetic, which in turn makes the Giving Tree's sacrifice into glurge.
- Some have even interpreted it as a story about an abusive relationship, with the Jerkass boy taking advantage of the tree's hospitality.
- Glurge: The story is supposed to be a touching ode to the selflessness of a parent's unconditional love for their children. However, in highlighting just how selfless that love is, the Tree's sacrifice and the Boy's neediness can come across as rather creepy to some readers.
- Tear Jerker: The story is (intentionally) both heartwarming and sad. We cry in happiness for the selfless spirit of the Giving Tree even though we feel sad that she has sacrificed everything about herself to express that love.
YMMV / The Giving Tree