It sounds like Cindy Assini ’04 (Inbox, May issue) has never been involved in the hardwood industry. Most species grow perpendicular to the earth, with magnificently straight trunks to maximize the efficiency of competing for sunlight. Large human objects like a boat or house are made from planks taken from the trunk, which means the tree must be killed. Trimming branches won’t suffice.

Instead of negating the theme of a beloved story to make it conform to ideology, a “critical thinking” approach to Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree would ask why or when self-sacrifice is important as a means to sustain one’s family or the culture at large. Military personnel (or civilians now living in Ukraine) can provide some answers. Countless generations of parents can provide others.

Martin Schell ’74
Klaten, Central Java