'The Tree of Knowledge' tells the story of Morgan Mallow, a tal?ntless sculptor and his friend, Peter Brench. Peter wants to keep his friend's wife and son from discovering Morgan's lack of talent by convincing the mother not to send the boy to Paris to study art. Peter Brench ends up losing his innocence, his illusions, through an experience with his godson, Lancelot Mallow.
At the core of the story is the idea of an education?the power of knowledge which can destroy all convenient illusions. The narrative refers to the Biblical Tree of Knowledge from which Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.