Revisiting a Classic: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
Childhood is a vast but mostly negligible part of every adult’s life, maybe because it comes too early. Whatever the case, a lot of adults seem like they were never kids. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is a children’s book created for grown-ups.
The narrator and author is an aviator who crashes in the middle of the Sahara Desert. As he works to repair the damage, a little boy comes to him and asks him to draw a sheep. Eventually, they begin talking, and the author learns that the boy, The Little Prince, comes from asteroid B-612, where he has left behind three volcanoes and a rose. He goes on telling stories about other people he has met on other planets before reaching Earth: a king, a conceited man, a drunkard, a lamplighter, and a geographer. In the end, the aviator fixes his plane and decides to leave the desert, and the Prince allows himself to be bitten by a poisonous snake in order for him to return to his planet.
The novel is a study of the human experience told through the eyes of the child. Each of the odd people that the Prince meets is a facet of human nature: power, vanity, pride, materialism, stubbornness, laziness, and lastly, dullness.
More than that, it’s also an exposition of how people, more often than not, shed their childlike wonder and their creative spirit upon entering adulthood. One of the most iconic drawings from The Little Prince is the unknown image of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant or a brown hat. A child would see the former and an adult the latter.
The novel is a children’s book for adults because it has all the whimsy of a fairytale and the wisdom of years of hard work. The book disguises these lessons for the audience to understand the story in a different perspective, as they should the world.
The fox said, “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Creativity, wonder, open-mindedness—these are the invisible things we shed upon adulthood that are eventually essential for a life well-lived.
**Disclaimer: Image is not ours. Credit to their respective owners.