Title: The Little Prince
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Genre: Children’s literature
Publication date: 1943
Pages: 98 pages
Source: given by my French teacher
Rating: 5 stars out 5
According to Goodreads
With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
I actually read The Little Prince in French which of course was a challenge that I took. I had to use my French dictionary and all other translation tools to have better comprehension. The book is very short and half of the pages consist of mostly pictures and very little words, so it wasn’t that difficult. In addition, it helped that I already knew a little bit of French so some of the words weren’t unfamiliar to me. I haven’t read the English version of the book, and I probably won’t because I feel I wouldn’t have that same enjoyment when I read the original version.
Anyways, the book is intended for little kids because it is a children’s book. However, I do think that this book was written for grown-ups. Exupery uses metaphors and allegories that children will not understand not unless the parent explains it to them. As a matter of fact children who read this probably wouldn’t be able to relate as much compared to when you read it as you get older.
So basically this book is about this little adorable prince from an asteroid who is seemingly innocent, yet amazingly wise. The story starts with the narrator (Exupery) who crashes his plane in the Sahara desert and meets the Little Prince. So what kind of little prince is he? He’s a lonely little prince. We learn that the Little Prince lives in a small planet occupied with three volcanoes, some plants including the “baobabs” which if left unchecked, can over-run the planet, as well as, his beautiful, singular rose that the Little Prince learns to love dearly.
Feeling used and unappreciated by the rose, he sets out on a journey across the planets seeking a friend. His journey, however, has been a trail of disappointment. He meets an absolute monarch, the conceited individual, the lamplighter, the geographer, the drunkard, and the businessman. All of them are too preoccupied in their own affairs to consider being the little prince’s friend- convincing the Little Prince that grown-ups are weird. Finally, when he gets to planet Earth, he meets a wise fox who teaches him about trust and friendship, helping him realize that he loves his flower and that she is unique and special because of the relationship they share. He then meets the pilot again and recounts his journey, also telling him that he wants to return to his planet. And then only way to get this done is to get bitten by a poisonous snake. The pilot was hesitant with the Little Prince’s decision; however, The Little Prince himself didn’t think it was a big deal. So, the snake bites the prince, who then collapses and disappears.
Okay I honestly didn’t expect that ending when I finished reading it. This quote from The Little Prince before he leaves and tells the pilot, I found sad and rather heartbreaking.
“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the night sky.”
It made me realize that sometimes you have to let people go, because to keep them would be to trap them. But letting them go can be the truest demonstration of love there is. The Little Prince was a great read. I am actually glad that I got to read it when I was a bit more older because there is so much philosophy in this book–something that I would have never thought of if I read it as child. Each of the grown-ups we meet in the story teaches us lessons in life. Individually they are a perfect example of how sometime when we grow older we lose touch of the inner child. And that child is what helps us see that money, numbers, and power are not what’s really important, but friendship, family, and love. It was poetically written and can definitely make an impact on those who read it (hopefully). Any age group can enjoy this book, whether it is read literally for the story, or more metaphorically for deeper insights.