The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
The Selfish Giant is a story about a giant who learned a valuable lesson about love and generosity.
A selfish giant owned a lovely garden. Long after his departure, children began to play in his garden. When he returned, he instructed the children to leave.
The giant constructed a tall wall. No one was allowed in the garden. The spring was unable to enter the garden. Only Winter was able to enter. There were no birds or flowers.
Then, events evolved. The children returned to the garden in secret, bringing spring with them. The birds and flowers have returned. One tree was still ice-covered. A young boy was crying beneath it because he was unable to climb the tree. The giant lifted the boy into the tree and placed him there. The tree then bore flowers as well.
The giant was no longer self-centered. He allowed children access to his garden. However, the young boy the giant had helped did not return to the garden.
The giant became aged. One day, the young boy returned to the garden. Blood was visible on his hands and feet. The giant was enraged and desired to kill whoever had injured the boy.
The boy explained to the giant that the blood was from his affection. He invited the giant to join him in Heaven.
The giant perished. The children discovered his floral-covered body. The young boy transported the giant to Heaven.
The selfish giant disapproved of children playing in his garden. He constructed a tall wall to keep them out. No one was permitted to enter the garden except Winter. It was extremely cold and isolated. Then, events evolved.
The children returned to the garden in secret. They brought spring, and spring brought birds and flowers. The garden was once again beautiful. The giant was no longer self-centered. He allowed the children to play in his garden, but noticed that one boy did not return.
The giant became aged. The boy returned to the giant’s garden one day. The boy’s hands and feet were stained with blood. He claimed it was out of love. He invited the gigantic giant to visit his garden. The child’s garden was paradise. The giant passed away, and the boy transported him to heaven.
The Selfish Giant, a stylish fairy tale by Oscar Wilde, was included in The Happy Prince and Other Tales, which was published in 1888. Oscar Wilde’s finest work, The Selfish Giant, is characterised by witty dialogues, humour, careful word selection, and careful word arrangement. Very simple and fascinating story The Selfish Giant is rich with hidden significance and moral message. It implies that if we bring happiness to others, we will experience happiness ourselves. The story is about an extremely selfish giant. In fact, The Selfish Giant follows a person who is extremely self-centered by nature. He is tall, massive, and unattractive. The children who are playing in his garden do not please him. In denying the children access to his garden’s pleasures, he demonstrated his extreme selfishness.
The Selfish Giant is a story about the moral decline of the average man. Wilde, an adherent of the principle that art exists for art’s sake, depicts in the painting the inner corruption and path to salvation of the average man. Thus, The Selfish Giant creates a stir among Victorian readers with its profound moral lesson on love and story. It is the love lesson. Love is a divine quality. God is the embodiment of love. God created man and the natural world. His boundless love rules the universe, creates harmony among the earth’s disparate elements, and gives grace to everything. Love is a potent force that has united man and nature. Love should be distributed equally to all. Whoever loves all things most, regardless of their size or importance, is the most prayed-for:
Love is a tremendous virtue, but it is challenging to cultivate. For the sake of love (which is the representation of God), one must make great sacrifices. But once love is enthroned in one’s mind, one is rewarded by being elevated to heaven. Because God is Love and God is Love.
The Giant Going To His Castle
During the Giant’s extended absence, children played in his beautiful garden. The children who played in the Giant’s garden felt fortunate to be surrounded by so many beautiful natural objects, such as star-like flowers, the delicate flowers of peach-trees, their ripe and delicious fruits, and the sweet songs of birds. The birds sat on the trees; in the garden, the beauty of the flowers and their fragrances attracted the birds, who sat on the trees. The garden was filled with so many objects provided by nature that the children stopped playing in order to appreciate them. Indeed, they were quite content in the garden.
On his return to his castle, the Giant discovered that the children were using the garden as a playground. He constructed a high wall around his garden and posted a sign warning that trespassers would be prosecuted. This is an act of true selfishness. This action demonstrates the giant’s extreme selfishness. Children who are playing in the garden will be driven away by his crude egotism. Thus, he will deprive them of their innocent and simple garden pleasures.
The Giant is extremely protective of his property and will not permit anyone to appreciate the beauty of his garden. Obviously, the beauty of his garden is bestowed upon it by Mother Nature.
Therefore, he constructed a notice board—the wall that the Giant’s wall represented: the wall of selfishness against the children whom Jesus Christ has blessed. It’s a barrier between Nature and humanity. It constitutes a violation of God’s commandment that love be shown to and in children, who are simple and innocent.
The Giant prevented the children from interacting with nature. Obviously, Nature punished the Giant for his selfishness. Winter completely dominated his garden, which neither Spring nor Fall visited.
One day, however, in the farthest corner of the garden appeared a tree covered in beautiful white blossoms. Once, early in the morning, he heard a sweet song and believed that kings’ musicians were passing nearby, but he discovered a linnet singing in his garden. After a long time, he finally hears a sweet song that fills him with great happiness, and he discovers spring in the farthest corner of the garden. The children entered through the small opening. He descends the stairs and discovers a young boy attempting to ascend the tree. Underneath the tree, which had golden branches and silver fruit, stood the young boy the giant cherished. The Giant lifted the boy into his arms and placed him upon the tree. He informed the children that the garden was theirs. Eventually, he took a massive axe and destroyed the wall. These actions demonstrated the Giant’s heart melting. The children are emotionally and intellectually pure. They are not guilty. They are as pure and straightforward as nature. With the return of the children, happiness, bliss, warmth, and life returned to the garden. They brought about a change in the Giant’s heart and aided in his soul’s redemption.
When he abandoned his selfishness and began to love the children deeply, his punishment was lifted. He removed winter weather from his garden. The Giant was compensated. “However, these are the Wounds of Love,” and “You once permitted me to play in your garden; today you shall arrive.”
The boy hid his identity as Jesus Christ. He returned to the Giant to take him to his garden, Paradise, as a reward for allowing him to play in his garden once. Jesus has redeemed the Giant. He was completely forgiven of his sins. His spirit became pure and holy. The ‘white blossoms’ represent the purity and sanctity that the Giant’s soul attained after death, as well as the everlasting peace he obtained. Jesus Christ took him to paradise for his selflessness.
Context and Themes
People who are selfish do not wish to share their possessions with others. They wish to retain ownership of everything. When they do so, however, they quickly find themselves isolated. The giant was egocentric. He was unwilling to share his garden with the children. He dispatched them. But when he sent them away, he was left with a barren, unattractive garden that he was unable to enjoy.
Without love, our lives are meaningless and lonely. Love illuminates our world and brings us happiness. When the giant lacked affection, his garden was cold and desolate.
When he allowed love in and loved others, his garden blossomed and flourished.
Jesus loves people without conditions. People mistreated him, but he sacrificed himself so that others could be saved. He is the only way to reach Heaven. Jesus is the little boy in the story. His hands and feet were stained with blood from where he was nailed to the cross. He loved humanity so much that he gave his life for everyone.
Seasons: Spring is a time of rebirth. Death is the season of winter. When Spring was permitted in the giant’s garden, numerous birds and flowers appeared. Winter took over when Spring was denied entry, and the garden became cold and lifeless.
Children: Children are a gift. Their innocence and love bring great joy and happiness to others. The giant discovered how unique children are. When he allowed them to play in his garden, he was filled with love. The young boy also showed the giant affection. He returned to the garden and escorted the elderly giant to Heaven.
Questions and Answers of The Selfish Giant
Q. 1. How does the nature of the Selfish Giant change in the course of the story? Give examples from the story to support your answer.
Ans. In the beginning of the story, the Giant was extremely egocentric, impolite, and cruel. He did everything possible to prevent the children from entering his castle’s garden, including constructing a wall, posting a sign at the entrance, and yelling at them. He realised his error when he noticed that spring had arrived after the children sneaked into the garden through a small hole in the wall. He felt regret for having been impolite and insensitive. At the end of the story, the Giant became extremely kind and affectionate toward all the children.
Q. 2. What emotions did the children experience throughout the story? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. The children loved the garden of the Giant. They were delighted while playing in the garden. They enjoyed listening to the birdsong in the trees. When the Giant returned and ordered them to keep their distance, they became depressed. Without a place to play, they wandered the streets. Later, when they were able to enter again, they observed a changed, generous, and selfless Giant. After school, they enthusiastically engaged in play with the Giant, which filled them with joy.
Q. 3. Why do you think it is important to share our things?
Ans. As it is said ‘Sharing means Caring’, we should share with others things that can be shared together.
Sharing things with others makes the object valuable. It also gives happiness to the receiver and giver.
Sharing is a vital life skill. It teaches children about compromise and fairness. It also helps create trust, which is a prerequisite for security and happiness.
Character Sketch of The Giant
The Selfish Giant is a well-known short story by Oscar Wilde. It is one of the numerous tales written by the author. This imaginative work includes magical creatures such as the Giant and the Ogre.
The story’s protagonist is a Giant who is extremely self-centred by nature. He is a tall, massive, and unsightly individual. He dislikes it when children play in his garden. His personality is not static. His outlook is greatly altered by the occurrences and experiences. As he prohibits the children from playing in his garden, he is initially cruel and unkind. Consequently, his garden begins to suffer the effects of his isolation.
Later in the story, when nature forbids him from bringing happiness to his garden, he learns a lesson about sharing. Ultimately, he becomes compassionate, loving, and kind, allowing the innocent flowers to play in his garden forever.