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The story talks about a farmer who decides to cut off the Apple tree with whom he had grown since he was a little boy. As the Apple tree grew old and useless, he decided to chop it. The theme of memory and age along with nature versus man is prominent throughout the story, as at the end the farmer realizes how wrong he was.
The story, The Apple Tree and The Farmer, starts with a farmer, who lived in the village, up the hills, beside a forest. The farmer had many plants and vegetables in his farm, along with an apple tree, which borne the tallest and the luscious fruits. For many years in his childhood, the farmer and his friends enjoyed and played beneath the Apple tree and ate the apples. Soon years past and the boy grew into a man.
The man started taking care of his farm and the Apple tree, which now has become a home to many small animals and birds. His children started playing under the Apple tree with their friends and seem to lead a life exactly like that of the farmer in his childhood. but the Apple tree grew old and started bearing fewer and fewer fruits.
The farmer realized that the old Apple tree was just using up his space which she could used to grow another vegetable and also use the wood to build a room for his house. Old memories of playing beneath the tree or resting under the shade of the tree or even eating the delicious apples from the tree, never crossed the farmer’s mind and he was determined to cut the tree.
The farmer, then, picked up an axe and started chopping down the tree. Alarmed, all the little birds and animals started leaving the tree and created an uproar so that they could plead to the farmer, in their own language, not to cut down the tree. The farmer remained and moved and continued with his work. The huge commotion meet by the animals and birds brought the children out.
His children requested him not to cut down the tree and that they will take care of the tree and play and make memories with the tree just like the father did in his childhood. The farmer then noticed a small fruit hanging from an upper branch of the tree and he plucked and bit the apple and all his old memories with the tree rushed back in. He realized how wrong he was and promised his daughter that she can play with her friends and make memories with the tree as he will never cut down the tree again.
Memory and Age
The theme of memory and age play an important role in constructing the plot of the story. Age is inevitable as one day each and everything will age and will perish but what keeps humanity going is memory. In the story, the farmer transcends from a little boy to a grown man with his own children. He ages just like any other man but what saved him from finishing off the beloved apple tree is the memory of the apple tree.
The farmer’s preferences have changed when he grew from a boy to a man but his memories of his childhood are the same. When his daughter stops him from cutting the tree, he saw his own reflection in his little girl as he, too, once was attached to the tree.
He then realised that he had created many memories under the shade of the Apple tree and it would be cruel to snatch away his kids making the same memory with the tree, as he knew that in the old age these memories are what will keep them going in life. The memory of the tree preserved in his brain made the farmer realize that he wanted his daughter to have the child do that he had once had.
The farmer passes through a change when he transitions from a little boy to a grown man. This change is shown through his change in preferences, as when he was a little boy his preference was to play with his friends under the Apple tree, but as he grew up his preferences changed to killing the tree in order to provide wood for his family.
The farmer represents the concept of man versus nature. No matter how nature is useful to us, one day or the other it will fall under the destructive hands of the man. The farmer realizes at the end that he is wrong as his children also have the right to create memories with the apple tree and receive a childhood just like he had when he was young.
The farmer also sympathises with the little birds and animals who have built a home in the apple tree. The farmer understands that the Apple tree means a lot more than what it stands for. The tree is not just a connection between him and his childhood, but a future for his daughter and their friends and also a home to the birds and animals.
The story shows how humans survive on memory and that nature not only forms an important part of survival but also important part for life. The survival of the apple tree is a symbol that the future generations will be saved. The farmer realizes how selfish he was trying to be when he decided to cut off the tree as his children also had the right to create memories just like he had.