ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born to an aristocratic family as Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry in France in 1900. His father was a Viscount, who died when Antoine was very young. After the death of his younger brother, Antoine had to work hard to take care of his family.
Antoine was not only a poet and writer, but also a military aviator. He worked as a pilot for postal flights, as a negotiator for the downed fliers taken hostage in the Sahara Desert, and as a Free French Air Force pilot during World War II.
His literary work includes L’Aviateur (The Aviator), Courrier Sud (Southern Mail), Vol de Nuit (Night Flight), and Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). Arguably the most well-known of his works, The Little Prince captures two of the most critical incidents in Antoine’s life – his crash in the Sahara Desert, where he went missing for six days, and his relationship with his wife, the beautiful Consuelo Suncin. Banned during his lifetime in France for political reasons, The Little Prince was published posthumously in French.
Antoine died in 1944 after his plane disappeared while he was collecting information on the Germans.
The story of The Little Prince begins after the narrator crashed his airplane in the middle of the Sahara Desert and encountered a little stranger. This stranger is the eponymous little prince. The little prince claims to have come from a small asteroid, which he refers to as his planet.
The prince relates that one day he found a strange seed at his house. This seed later germinated into a thorny but beautiful flower. Enamored with the flower, the little prince took great care of it. However, the vain flower hurt his feelings one day. In the heat of the moment, the prince decided to leave the planet to stay away from her. He traveled to seven worlds, the last of which was Earth. He claims to have met different characters on every planet, each of whom personifies a different shade of human behavior that we, as adults, develop. It is on Earth that he discovers the true meaning of love, which leaves him heart-broken.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE LITTLE PRINCE
The Little Prince is a modern-day classic, a fable for the ages. For a book as short as this, this timeless novella drives home an astounding number of morals. Each incident, chapter or dialog conveys something or the other about a virtuous life. While the book explores several themes, the central theme remains how adults often fail to see or feel things for what they truly are.
Although the book is popularly classified as a children’s novella, it is equally appealing to adults so they do not end up losing touch with the kids we all are at heart.
The Little Prince also addresses how we often choose to run away from our loved ones in the face of a conflict, when we should actually confront them or engage in a constructive conversation. The relationship between the rose and the little prince is a reflection of the relationship between the author and his beloved wife. Likewise, the little prince’s journey through the seven planets is a fine example of allegory.
Even in his final moments, the little prince urges the readers to keep their innocence from dying at the hands of negativity and ill-will. Overall, The Little Prince is a poignant reminder of how important it is to remain in touch with our true selves, cherish the company of our near and dear ones, and express our feelings to the people that really matter to us.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT THE LITTLE PRINCE
While basically a novella, young readers in particular may find The Little Prince a tad too overwhelming with all its metaphors and allegories.
“You talk just like the grownups!” That made me a little ashamed. But he went on relentlessly, “You mix everything up together…You confuse everything…” He was really very angry. He tossed his golden curls in the breeze.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”
Ameya would recommend The Little Prince to young and adult readers alike. The book is a literary masterpiece that imparts the importance of staying connected with the child we have within.
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