The Selfish Giant

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it 

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was a well-known Irish author. He wrote poems, plays, novels, and short stories. Some of his most popular works are the novel The Picture of Dorian Grey and the play The Importance of Being Ernest. The short story “The Selfish Giant” is part of a collection for children titled The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888).

Extract

Below, you can read an extract from our study guide:

Symbols

One of the most important symbols in the story is the child, who is actually Jesus Christ. The child symbolizes the task that the Giant has to perform in order to be rewarded. When he sees the error of his ways, the Giant helps the child, who rewards him many years later by granting him access to Paradise. The child is a symbol of the power of love, but also of forgiveness. When the child puts his arms around the Giant and kisses him, this symbolizes the beginning of the Giant’s redemption.

The children who play in the Giant’s garden symbolize innocence. Their presence calls the Spring and makes the garden bloom, as they enjoy playing and spending time in nature. 

The Giant’s garden is a symbol of earthly Paradise. For the children, the garden is the place they enjoy most, as they appreciate nature and its beauty. This idea is reinforced at the end, when the child associates Paradise with the Giant’s garden: “ ‘You let me play once in your garden, to­day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise’ ”. The corner of the

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The Selfish Giant

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