The Transformation of a Selfish Giant

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As people, we often become self-absorbed. Sometimes without meaning too, we become selfish. The word selfish is used to describe someone who is devoted to oneself. Often, selfish people end up lonely, due to the lack of caring. The question that one may ask is; can one person transform themselves for the better? The answer is yes, one person can certainly change for the better. In the story “The Selfish Giant” Oscar Wilde portrays what it is like being both selfish and unselfish. He uses a giant to express the consequences of being selfish. When the giant gets tired of suffering, he transforms into a different person. Just as humans do, we see how much we are suffering and decide to change. It is challenging to change who you are, even if it is for the better. Wilde explains the events that lead up to the giant’s transformation throughout the story.

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In the beginning, the story starts out happy and peaceful. The children of the town meet up and play in the giant’s garden after school. The giant had been away visiting a friend for seven years. After seven years, the giant decided it was time to come home to his huge castle. As he arrived, he noticed the kids playing in his garden. It drove him crazy, and he immediately scared them away. We as people tend to react with anger in situations like this. Usually, there is always a better way to handle things. The giant didn’t know any better. He could care less about scaring the children away. As the day went by, the giant decided he was going to build a wall. He was building a wall to keep the children from coming into his garden. The giant was indeed very selfish; he didn’t want to see the children playing at all. He wanted to enjoy his garden and his lovely castle all to himself. The giant said to himself, My own garden is my own garden, anyone can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself (Wilde 5). This proves that the giant cares about himself, and could care less about the children. He could have easily been generous and allowed the children to play. Not only did this happen in the story, but this relates to real life too. Many people focus on only what they have and do not care about the people around them.

After the giant built a wall, he proceeded to stay in his castle by himself. He would sit by the window and watch the seasons change. Wilde portrayed him as being someone who enjoyed the loneliness. As the days went by, the giant began to notice that the seasons weren’t changing anymore. He also noticed the birds weren’t singing outside anymore either. He began to wonder what was going on. The giant never looked to himself as the problem. Instead, he confusingly wondered if the seasons were messed up. The giant said, I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming (Wilde 10). It was clear to say that the giant was being punished for treating the children so poorly. Wilde kept the giant blinded in the story for good reason. He portrayed that the giant did not realize he had caused this. This happens often in today’s society. We wonder why things don’t go our way and point at others to blame. When in reality, all we have to blame is ourselves

Months passed by, and the giant finally realized what had kept the seasons from coming. The giant looked out of the window, and saw that the children had made their way into the garden. There were children in all of the trees, and each of the trees began to bloom. Instead of getting mad, he smiled and began to see the tree and flowers bloom too. It was then that he noticed how selfish he had been. The giant shouts, “How selfish I have been!” he said; “now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground forever and ever.” (Wilde 15). He felt very bad about how he had been acting. He helped a little boy get into a tall tree, and as he did it started to bloom. He wanted to fix all of his wrongdoings as best as he could. He allowed the children to play in his garden forever. Wilde used imagery in his story to show how the giant transformed into a better person.

The children and giant continued to play in his garden. They played together every day after class. It was until the giant got old and could not play anymore. The giant’s bones became weak and brittle. Instead of playing with the children, he would sit in a chair by the window and watch them. One day he was sitting at his window, watching the children play, and saw a young boy. He approached the young boy, and come to find out he was an angel. The angel was rewarding him for transforming himself into a better giant. The angel welcomed the giant into his “paradise” (Wilde 29). Wilde used the word paradise as a symbol of heaven. The children came over the next day to play in the garden. When they got there, they saw the giant dead on the ground.

In Oscar Wilde’s story, the giant is portrayed as a selfish and inconsiderate giant. However, he doesn’t stay that way throughout the story. The giant transforms into a sweet, caring, and considerate giant. He finally stops suffering and changes for the better. He finds happiness in making the children happy. As a result, he doesn’t die alone in the end. He dies happy and loved by the children. As humans, if we can make peace with our mistakes, chances are we won’t die alone.

Works Cited
Wilde, Oscar. “The Selfish Giant.” Short Stories and Classic Literature, 27 March 2018,

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The Transformation of a Selfish Giant. (2020, Mar 17). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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