The Little Prince: much more than a ‘children’s book’

Everyone has a book they never get tired of reading. When you read the pages, you are able to draw connections between the words and your life, and you spot different details every time you read it. When you hear or see the slightest thing about it, you feel a warmth in your heart. If you were to ask me what that book was for me, indisputably, it is The Little Prince. The Little Prince is a book that should be read at least once a year, as it has a slightly different meaning each time you read it. For instance, If you are 15 years old, you may see a boy and his adventure but if you are 35 years old, you’re more likely to start thinking about the values of life. You must remember that The Little Prince is not just a children’s book. First published in April 1943, it was originally written for adults by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

“For I do not want anyone to read my book carelessly. I have suffered too much grief in setting down these memories. Six years have already passed since my friend went away from me, with his sheep. If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure that I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer, aviator, poet and author. Raised in an aristocratic family, he fell in love with aviation at an early age after took his first airplane ride at the age of 12. He received his pilot’s wings during his compulsory military service in 1922, around which time he also began to write. His adventures as a pilot would supply the inspiration for all of his literary endeavors, which culminated with the 1943 publication of the classic The Little Prince. In 1935, when he attempted a flight from Paris to Saigon in French-ruled Indochina in a bid to beat the airspeed record for that distance, his aircraft crashed in the Sahara after 20 hours of flight. Saint-Exupéry and his navigator had nothing but a little wine, a thermos of coffee, a couple of oranges, grapes, and a bit of chocolate with a few crackers. After four days they were nearly dead, until a desert tribesman rescued them.

Thus his experiences in the Sahara Desert were an opportunity for the book, and the novella begins with a plane crash into the Sahara desert. Living with a rose in his own galaxy, in his own little world, the Little Prince goes on a journey; leaving his only existence, his rose alone because of the curiosity of other galaxies and his story begins. It is this journey that grows the Little Prince. Actually, some people think the book is a reflection of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s own life and experiences. For example, the fox in the book was inspired by a fox that he saw in the desert when the plane crashed. The Little Prince’s unique rose is his lovely wife. Because of his curly-blonde hair, Antoine was called “Sun of the King” when he was a little child. It does appear that the Little Prince certainly reflects certain memories from Antoine’s childhood. 

The Little Prince is an honest and beautiful story about loneliness, friendship, humanity, sadness, love, and the values of life – and the prince travels the universe, planet-to-planet, seeking wisdom and encountering these themes along the way. The novella serves as a philosophical tale, with humanist values, shared from one generation to another for more than 75 years. The central message is expressed in the secret that the fox tells the little prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye.”