There are many themes in the story – Selfishness is the main theme with a variety of sub themes. People who are selfish do not want to share their things with others. They want to keep everything for themselves. But when they do that, they quickly find themselves all alone. The giant was selfish and he didn’t want to share his garden with the children. When he sent the children away, he was left with nothing but a cold ugly garden that he could not enjoy. Wilde uses this theme, not only for the purpose of the story, but to show the moral, and teach children as well as adults, not to be selfish as there will be consequences. This short story isn’t just aimed at young children, but at young parents who would read this story to them. He also wants to warn them and make sure that they are not selfish, and that they must act how they wanted to be treated. He uses fun and fictional characters to keep the younger readers engaged in the story and again they can learn the moral simultaneously.
The ending of the short story is very religious as Wilde uses the presence of Jesus to help end the story and assist the moral. The little boy in the story is Jesus, the blood on his hands and feet was from where he was nailed to the cross. He loved people so much that he died for everyone. The giant who had sinned had been sent to heaven, purely because he had realised that he was selfish and that he was going to be lonely unless he was more kind. Wilde uses the Jesus to teach children and their parents that even if you sin you can always put things right and go to heaven. These short stories were written in 1888 and at this time people were still heavily religious and they wanted to go to heaven.
Wilde uses various language techniques to engage the reader as it is also a fairy tale. He uses personification throughout this short story, ‘the birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and trees forgot to blossom’ this shows the reader how dark and cold the giant’s garden was, also it shows that the without children nature cannot act naturally, and that it will turn to the dark side. Wilde is trying to show us the connection between children and nature, and their innocence of life, how they are still learning and how they should be taught. Wilde portrays this world as a fantasy for children, where everything has human emotions and is almost always happy especially wherever the children are.