Critical Analyses of Oscar Wilde’s "The Selfish Giant":One of the Stylish Fairy Tales



Oscar Wilde’s one of the stylish fairy tales The Selfish Giant was included in, The Happy Prince and Other Tales published in 1888. Noted for his witty dialogues, humour, careful choice of words and arrangement of words, Oscar Wilde showed his best in The Selfish Giant . Very simple and very interesting story The Selfish Giant is full of inner meaning and moral message. It suggests that if we give happiness to others we can also feel happiness in our life. The story tells about a giant who was really selfish. In fact, The Selfish Giant moves around a person who is very selfish by nature. He is tall, massive and looks ugly. He doesn’t like the children who are playing in his Garden. His selfishness was quite evident in the act of his depriving the children from the pleasures of his garden.

The Selfish Giant tells the story of the moral decay of everyman. An adherent of the principle that art exists for art’s sake, Wilde sets out the painting everyman’s inner corruption and way to salvation. Thus, the story The Selfish Giant focuses a great moral lesson of love and living a stir among straight-laced Victorian readers. It is the lesson of love. Love is a divine quality. God Himself is the image of love. God has created man and nature. His boundless love rules the universe and brings about a harmony among the heterogeneous elements on earth and it lends grace to everything. Love is a mighty power that has bound man and nature together. Love should be showered on all equally. He, who loves all things, best, irrespective of their greatness or smallness, is the best prayed for:

“He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small

For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.”—Coleridge :


Love is a great virtue, but it is difficult to cultivate. For the sake of love (which is the image of God) one has to sacrifice a lot. But once love is enthroned in one’s mind, one is lifted up to heaven as a reward. For God is Love and Love is God.

The Giant Going To His Castle
The   Giant  had a beautiful garden where some children played during his prolonged absence. The children, who played in the Giant’s garden, felt fortunate enough to enjoy so many beautiful objects of nature like star-like flowers, delicate flowers of peach-trees, their ripe and delicious fruits and the note of sweet-singing birds. The birds sat on the trees—in the garden, birds were attracted by beauty of the flowers and their fragrances and they sat on the trees. Nature provided the garden with so many objects that the children’s eyes and ears were feasted and they gave up playing in order to enjoy them. Indeed, they were really very happy in the garden.




However, on his return to his castle the Giant found the garden being used by the children as a play-ground. He built up a high wall around his garden and put up a notice board “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED”. This is really an act of selfishness. This very act makes it evident that the giant is very selfish. His crude selfishness will prompt him to drive away the children playing in the garden. Thus, he will deprive them of their simple and innocent pleasures in the garden.

The   Giant  is very conscious about his property and will not allow anybody to enjoy the beauties of his garden. Of course, the beauties of his garden are the beauties conferred upon it by Nature.

So he built notice board—the wall that the Giant’s wall was the wall of selfishness against the children who are blessed by Jesus Christ. It is a wall between Nature and man. It amounts a violation of the commandment of God—the love to and in children, who are simple and innocent, should be loved.

The Giant deprived the children of their communion with Nature. Of course, the Giant was punished by Nature for his selfishness Neither Spring nor Autumn visited his garden, but Winter prevailed all over it.

But, in one day, in the farthest corner of the garden was the ‘marvelous sight’- a tree covered with lovely white blossoms. Once, early in the morning he hears a sweet song and thought that kings’ musicians are passing nearby his home, but he found a linnet in his garden who is singing on a tree. After a long time he hears a sweet song put into the great joy and he found spring in the farthest corner of the garden. The children came though the little hole. He goes downstairs and found a little boy who is trying to climb up on the tree. Its branches were golden and silver fruit hung down and underneath it stood the little boy the Giant loved. The   Giant picked up the little boy in his hands and placed him on the tree. He told the children that the garden belonged to them. Finally, he took a huge axe and broke down the wall. With these actions the Giant showed his melting heart. The children are pure in heart and beautiful in mind. They are innocent. They are as pristine and simple as nature. Joy, bliss, warmth and life returned to the garden with the coming back of the children. They brought about a change in the Giant’s heart and helped to redeem his soul.

When he gave up his selfishness and began to love the children dearly, he was relieved of his punishment. The winter weather was removed from his garden. The Giant was rewarded. “But these are the Wounds of Love” and “You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come.”

The boy was Jesus Christ in disguise. He came to the Giant once again to take him to his garden, Paradise, as a reward for letting him play once in his garden. The Giant was redeemed by Jesus. He was absolved     of all his sins. His soul became pure and sacred. The ‘white blossoms’ symbolize the purity and sacredness that the Giant’s soul   attained and the ever-lasting peace that he obtained after death. He was taken to Paradise for his unselfishness by Jesus Christ.