The Tree of Life touches on embodiment of the soul in a sequence covering the O'Briens's courtship and marriage and her first pregnancy. As a family unit, the O'Briens's display dynamics typical of many mid-twentieth century Western societies. The human story in The Tree of Life is strapped across some main time frames. These are intercut forward and back with each other and a vision that fuses the mysterious present with the pre-history of the universe. The Tree of Life is mythmaking and, even when it draws on stories cherished by the ancients, renders myth for and of one time. As the title The Tree of Life insists, the coming of new life and joy even the recovery of joy after bereavement is integral to its majestic spread. Although the film draws heavily on Christian values and imagery, it does so because they inform the characters' culturally specific, Texan understanding of the nature of life.