Saturday, May 29, 2021

Antoine de Saint-Exupery - The Little Prince

A pilot forced to land in the Sahara meets a little prince. The wise and enchanting stories the prince tells of his own planet with its three volcanoes and a haughty flower are unforgettable.
A strange and wonderful parable for all ages, with super illustrations by the author.

Comment: It might seem incredible but, yes, I haven't yet read this classic before now. Since it was a small book, I thought, why not?

To those who have not yet heard of this small book, it's the story of a little prince the author/narrator encounters when his aircraft has a problem in the Sahara desert. While he tries to fix it, the little prince appears from nowhere and they start talking. What the narrator learns from the little prince and how meeting him impacts his own life is precious, indeed.

I won't write much about this book. It's true it's a small book and the content could be dissected at length for all its depth, but the fun part in all this is for people to read and feel for themselves, and I'm not knowledgeable enough to analyze this through and "academic" POV.

I liked the story for its apparent simplicity and the lesson it tries to teach us: we should have time, we should make time for our friends and for those we care about because everything else is secondary, and we won't be able to forever physically be with those we love. I liked the way the narrator shares this story, obviously with the intention of his audience being young (he does dedicate this to his best childhood friend) but the message is timeless.

The plot isn't too complicated, it's basically an interaction between the prince and the narrator where they talk and in the middle we also get to know about some of the little prince's experiences and those he met in his journey to reach Earth from his asteroid. It's quite a metaphor and I admit I was a little sad when the story ended. 

Many readers talk about this being a book to remind adults they were once children too and the author himself mentions that. It's quite the irony... when we allow our dreams to be free and when we allow ourselves to have time to look at stars and imagine all the magical things that can be taking place there, we don't think about the consequences of having responsibilities or of not having enough time in our day for the simple and the innocent things. Then we grow up and we are legally allowed to do certain things but the majority of adults do lose the innocence of being a dreamer.

It is true we cannot go back and redo our steps, regain our losses, recover whatever we feel we should have again. The little prince and those he met thought him a precious lesson: we should have time to share with the important people in our lives at every moment, for one day we will no longer be here. We are often also blind to all the adult expectations we develop and that those surrounding us also do and how trapped we are in things that lead nowhere. As children, we were innocent and we only dedicated ourselves to those we cared about, such as our close family members and our friends.

I think this is an excellent novella to be re-read, for it reminds us of how we are needed to be responsible but we are all the parts of ourselves, all our experiences, including the child in us. I wish this story could have been longer... but perhaps...might it ruin the message then? Thoughts....

Grade: 8/10

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