Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella has touched the lives of millions. It’s been translated into 300 languages and dialects. It’s sold 140 million copies worldwide (Wikipedia article). This beloved classic has made its own impression on me.
I’ve loved The Little Prince since I read it in high school. Drawn to this book as a teenager, I read it for the first time as a young person. I intend to re-read it someday, especially now that I’m in my late twenties. Some of the insights about the adults that the Prince meets went over my head. Now, though, I would better understand his queries about life.
The Prince is a child, but has the wisdom and innocence of a child. You must be asking, “Meghan, why didn’t you say the wisdom of an adult?”
Adults can be wise. I’m an adult, and there are days where I feel somewhat wise.
But, I see the wisdom of children in their curiosity, their imagination, and the freedom they possess to be themselves. Some children I meet in my cashiering job are shy, but others are inquisitive and interested in me and what I’m doing while I work. A child will love you unconditionally. An adult may judge you, and think they are better than you.
This is not to say that children are not selfish. Children are still learning how to act, and so they will beg for things like toys and candy because they see it. Advertising is strong with kids (and, if I’m honest, adults).
As an adult, I will often find myself judging other people. A child will look at you and quickly size you up, but they will not judge you based on how well you are working. Children are looking for adults they can trust, as well as children they can trust to be good friends and good playmates.
When I was a child, I didn’t care about the trivial things that adults do. Instead, I cared about playing with my toys in the house, and playing with my friends as we rode our bikes through the neighborhood. As I got older, I took books with me when we went out to eat, because books were comforting to me. (Books are still a comfort to me, but I’ve adjusted to when I can take a book with me places and when I don’t need one. I’ve improved my social skills, and focus on forming friendships as an adult.)
The Little Prince asks good questions about why adults are the way they are, like how they obsess over money or fame. Children do not focus on these kinds of things, for they tend to be focused on much more simpler things, like opening a toy they just bought, or asking for a sticker. (At work, we have stickers that we can hand out to children.)
The Little Prince is a profound book because it talks about caring for nature, as well as being kind and friendly to nature as well. The relationship that the Prince has with the fox demonstrates this, as well as his relationship with his rose. In this vein, the Prince is learning about the importance of friendship, and responsibility. The Little Prince is a classic, and something that everyone should read at least once in their life.
What cheers me up the most about the ending is that the Prince does not die. He instead goes back home to the asteroid B 612. I cried because I thought he had died, but now I cry because I’m grateful that he was able to go home and take care of his rose.