Literary Trees

Trees are essential for life – they give us material for shelter, food, paper and shade, not to mention helping us breathe. It’s no wonder then that trees have made magical appearances in stories and literature throughout history. Here are some of the most wonderful trees from literature, be they grand and beautiful or slightly more sinister:

  1. The Giving Tree

Wouldn’t we love a tree that was this generous? One of the most famous trees of literature is Shel Silverstein’s charitable creation who lovingly provides for her human, Boy. Boy wants to play, as children do and innocently climbs the tree and swings from the branches but as he gets older, his demands become harder, leaving the tree sacrificing itself to meet his demands. He wants her apples to sell, her trunk to make a boat and her branches to build a house. The end of the story is inevitable and sad but provides a lesson we should all take note of.

Image credit

  1. The Whomping Willow

As all fans of Harry Potter will know, the Whomping Willow is a rather beastly and frightening tree on the grounds of Hogwarts. It’s touchy, grumpy, car-crushing and potentially very lethal. When first introduced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it seems to be a foe rather than a friend. However, as Harry’s story unfolds, it is revealed in Prisoner of Azkaban that the tree holds a secret passageway and might not be all bad after all! If you have a troublesome tree in your garden, consider contacting a Dorset Tree Suregon at

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s classic book gives us a tree with important symbolism. The old oak tree outside Boo Radley’s home acts as both a symbol of generosity and friendship. The reclusive Boo starts to leave Scout and Jem small gifts in a knot-hole of the tree, suggesting perhaps that he is lonely as well as generous. However, later in the book Jem fills the knot-hole with cement and this the tree becomes a symbol for intolerance, fear and closed-mindedness.

Image credit

  1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This novel provides us with a tree of incredible inspiration. The novel tells the tale of a poor family living in the tenements of Brooklyn at the start of the 20th century. A tree grows in the yard and despite numerous extermination attempts, it flourishes. The tree’s story of resistance and strength is paralleled with the main character’s own life struggles and the courage to not give up raising her family under tough circumstances.

  1. The Lord of the Rings

Very important characters in this famous trilogy are the ‘Ents’, tree-like creatures who can talk. They are the guardians of the forest, led by Treebeard who is believed to be the oldest being in the whole of Middle Earth. The Ents serve to remind us of the ancient power and wisdom of nature, including the great trees of our woodlands and forests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *