Published in 1943, The Little Prince by Antoine by Saint-Exupery is one of the best-selling books ever. Even if at first sight can be considered a children`s book, The Little Prince is full of profound observations regarding human nature and life in general.
The author, a French aviator, wrote the book inspired from his own experience in the Sahara, where his plane crashed, so he and his navigator Andre Prevot faced desert survival. Lost and dehydrated, they began seeing mirages, then vivid hallucinations, but they were rescued after four days of agony.
A glorification of childlike innocence, the novel presents the amazing story of a little prince that travels on different planets in an allegorical journey. The narrator, an airplane pilot, crashes in the Sahara desert where he meets the little prince, a blond little boy who asks him to draw a sheep. They become friends and the little prince tells his story.
The little prince was living on an asteroid where he made sure no bad seeds grew, nor the baobab trees overrun his little planet. Still, a rose grew on his planet, he fell in love with her, but the rose lied to him and disappointment made him decide not to trust her. To cure his loneliness, the little prince went on exploring other planets.
Passing through the universe, the little prince acknowledge for the first time how narrow-minded grown-ups are. There is one adult on each of the first six planets he visits, but he does not understand them. The king, the vain man, the drunkard, the businessman, the lamplighter and the geographer he meets are all extremely occupied by what they are doing. The only thing he learns is that flowers do not last forever, so he starts missing his rose.
The little prince arrives in Earth, in the middle on the desert. There, he talks to a snake and a flower, climbs the highest mountain and speaks to his echo. The little prince finds a rose garden that makes him sad thinking his rose had said to him that she is unique. He becomes friends to a fox who tells him that the things visible only to the heart are the most important ones. The little prince has a revelation that his love for the rose is what makes her unique, so he is responsible for her. Realizing he is so far away from his rose, he starts feeling lonely again.
The narrator fixes his plane, while the prince lets himself bitten by the snake in order to return home. The next, the narrator does not find the little prince`s body, so he thinks he had finally arrived home at his rose. Looking at the stars, he thinks he even hears the prince`s laughter.
Themes and style
One of the novel`s ideas is the fact that people are so occupied by doing something that they forget what is really important in life. In addition, enlightenment through exploration is also promoted.
The Little Prince is full of symbols and life principles, all presented from the innocent perspective of a child. Its candid style make it a charming lecture.