The Crying Tree

In the novel The Crying Tree Naseem Rakha A family goes through one of the hardest things ever, when their son Shep was found murdered. Nate, Shep’s father insisted on the family moving to Oregon. Sheps death caused Irene and Nate to fall apart Bliss was too young to truly understand her brother being gone. The family moved back to Illinois, they continued their lives in a sort of trance, never discussing Shep or mentioning his name. Bliss was a forgotten child until she made her mother see that her life was bring wasted. Bliss went off to college defying the standards of her town.
Irene struggled with living so she tried to take her own life, after this fail Irene decided that forgiveness of her sons killer was the only way for her to keep living. Daniel was on death row when Nate found out about the letters Irene and Daniel had been writing to each other, the two got into a huge fight that uncovered some secrets about Sheps death that only Daniel and Nate knew of. While finding out about the family you also learn about Superintendent Mason and his struggles of life and dealing with someone on Death row. In the end Irene, the family, Daniel and Mason find their peace.
Point of View-The information is received through dialogue mainly and the way these people go through life. The perspective used was effective for this novel because it really gave the feel of the main character Irene and I do not personally connect to Irene because I do not know what it is like to lose a child but the perspective lets me get into her head and learn what she is feeling and what it is like. “My son is dead, and you want to tell me about justice? There’s no justice for this kind of thing” (Rakha 69). This dialogue really showed what Irene is going through.

The novel also shows her husband but mainly through his actions and how he goes through life. Protagonist- The protagonist in this book “The Crying Tree” is Irene the mourning mother. Irene is mainly revealed through her thoughts and her actions throughout the story. She is a very round character meaning that she changes a lot in this book, for the better one quote that I think really shows Irene is when she finally forgives Daniel for killing her son “I forgive you for what you did to my son. For whatever it may be worth, I understand people make mistakes in life, Mr. Robbin, and I forgive you yours”(Rakha 126).
It took a lot fir Irene to do this. Setting- This novel occurs in Blaine, Oregon and Carlton, Illinois. They are only a few locations describes, the house in Blaine and the house in Carlton, Illinois. The connection of the setting and characters are that the mother Irene and her husband both grew up in a town where almost everywhere a girls goal is to get married. Blaine and Carlton are almost opposite to each other Blaine is a very green beautiful city full of sights and nature while Carlton is a very dry farming state yet Irene felt more safe in comfortable in Carlton yet she felt very unsafe and uncomfortable in Blaine. Blaine, in contrast, looked incidental, an afterthought built by people who had no intention of staying” (Rakha 19).
Theme – The major theme in this novel is forgiveness. After Irene’s son died she thought she could never forgive his killer, that he was the worst there was and he truly deserved to die, even said that she wouldn’t rest until he was dead. The death penalty can take years to go through in fact it took 19 years for Daniel to finally be given a death warrant. Throughout the novel Irene starts to realize that her life is horrible, she stopped speaking to her husband, stopped worrying about her daughter and stopped living her life.
Irene tried to commit suicide and that is when she hit rock bottom she had to start admitting to herself what she was holding inside. “Shep died and we just stopped doing things. And now-now I’ve gone and thrown it away, and it’s broken, and, well, it’s gone. It’s all gone” (Rakha 122). After coming to a reality Irene proceeds to forgive Daniel after 10 years because she wants to get on with her life and stop focusing on living in the past. It is also showed through Nate because Nate must work through forgiving himself, for lying and for holding back critical information that could have saved a mans life.
Forgiveness is also showed through Daniel and Mason. Mason because we learn about his past and how he feels as if he can ever forgive his brother for the way he used to torture him. Daniel because he needs to learn to forgive himself now that Irene forgave him when he did not deserve it. Title- This title is very appropriate for the book because the author uses the image to show what was going on in Irene’s mind at the funeral and The Crying Tree is used as an example to show how there are things in life you should never have to see.
In the novel the title is mentioned at Shep’s funeral his little sister is grieving her brother when hes sees a tree and runs to it coming back with her handful of pearls “They look like tears, like the tree’s crying” (Rakha 37). Personal Recommendation- This novel should be added to the AP curriculum because the book used many great examples of literary devices including scenery, character flat and round, metaphor, structure, narration and many more. This book allows you to see through another perspective and not just one many different perspectives. This book was also very enjoyable and I am sure many students would enjoy reading the story of Irene and her family.

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