“The man who planted trees,”is an intriguing french novel, translated into english, written by Jean Giono. It is a short story beginning with a young man recalling a hike he did a long time ago ad the odd and interesting man he came to find on his journey. The hills were empty except old town ruins, and the old man with his sheep. “it is consisted of barren and monotonous land.”
This old man, named Elzeard Bouffier, lives alone and spends his time tending to his sheep and planting trees from acorns. Slowly, the once fruitless forest starts to grow again, much to the surprise to the forest ranger, who naively believes it grew by itself. The ground before had been barren and lifeless and would have stayed that way if not for the old man. “He added that, having nothing more important to do, he had resolved to remedy the situation.”
Throughout this story, the ides of solidarity, faith and perseverance reflect through in the shown character of the old man living in the hills. Also shown by his tree planting hobby, he planted 10,000 trees only to have most of them die. “to get a true idea of this exceptional character, one must not forget he worked in total solitude…” This kind of repetitive frustration would have an affect on anyone’s motivation to continue on but this shows what kind of person he is, that he keeps going planting as many trees he can. This shows resilience and a sense of self direction that everyone should strive for in their daily lives.
I take inspiration from this story through the themes shown and the underlying messages shown in the text. From reading this I can understand how and why the old man chose to live out his life planting trees alone in the mountains. In the last paragraph, by the time the old man has passed on, the forest was fully regrown, this sends the message that in the real world, hard work takes you places and gets you the result you were hoping for.
When comparing this text to my experiences and rest of the world I found that this story relates mostly to the age gap between the young and old man, showing the comparison of outlooks on life and difference in attitudes between the generations. This is an idea we see often in movies and books more recently as the culture and belief system of our older generations die out, showing how chivalry, manners and the motivation to help in causes bigger than yourself are slowly coming to a stand still.
I would recommend this text to teens and young adults as it has some interesting underlying themes there but the language used is not too complicated to grasp. Also I feel this would be a good text for comprehension or a novel study as it can be interpreted in many different ways. I enjoyed this text and I think many of my peers would too.