• Ananya Ak

The Little Prince is Poignant and Deep


A picture with the book, The Little Prince, placed on a white surface, at the centre. At the top is a sketchbook with three drawings. To the left is an origami airplane, and to the right is a small origami fox and an origami rose.

Grown-ups are odd. When you tell them about a book you discovered, they never ask you the essential details. They never ask: “How does it smell? Is it colourful? Where does it take you?” Instead, they say: “How many pages does it have? How much does it cost? What is the moral of the story?”


If you said to them: “The proof that I had the book is that I smiled when I read it and that I saw myself in the Little Prince”, they won’t be convinced. But if you say: “I bought this 114-page book for 100 rupees from the local bookstore”, they will be convinced. You must not be annoyed by this. This is just the way they are. Children must show great understanding towards them.


I would have liked to begin like a fairy-tale, saying: “Once upon a time there was a book scarcely thicker than my index finger, which eventually became my friend.” But grown-ups only understand figures, so I mentioned its cost and number of pages.


Now we can get to the story.


The book’s hero thinks that grown-ups are odd. He meets a lonely Little Prince who’s in need of a friend, and spends several days with the little fellow.


What the hero does or who he is or how old he is, that’s not important. The Little Prince and the lessons he teaches the hero (and us) is what’s important.


It is supposed to be a book for children, but it starts with the things grown-ups like so much: numbers and figures. So those odd people will understand it as well, and hopefully, they’ll take something away, too.


If you’re a child, the little prince teaches you how to remain clear-headed and avoid the affliction that infects grown-ups (they never understand the important things and instead chase figures). If you’re a grown-up, it might teach you what is really important in life.


If you read this book, maybe you’ll learn how to appreciate the essential things, like the fragrance of a flower and dewdrops on a leaf. But I beg you, do not read this book carelessly.


The hero experienced so much grief writing the little story; grief that seeps through the pages and into your heart. Feel it and everything else in the book, and maybe you’ll come away with something valuable.


I read this a ridiculously long time ago, way back in April, with Monika (@nomadic_musings_ on Instagram). I enjoyed discussing it with her! Read her review here.


About the Author

A black and white photo of the author, Antoine de Saint-Exuprey
Antoine de Saint-Exuprey

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry, simply known as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator. Best remembered for ‘The Little Prince’ and for his lyrical aviation writings including ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’, and ‘Night Flight’, he was a laureate of several of France’’s highest literary awards.


He was a successful commercial pilot before World War II, working airmail routes in Africa, Europe, and South America. He joined the French Air Force when the war began and flew reconnaissance missions until France’s armistice with Germany in 1940. Later, he travelled to the US to help persuade its government to enter the war.


During the 28 months he spent in the US, he wrote three of his most important works including The Little Prince. He then joined the Free French Air Force in North Africa and later disappeared (believed to have died in 1944).


He was already famous as an aviator before the war, and his literary works posthumously boosted him to national hero status in France. The Little Prince, arguably his most famous work, has been translated into 300 languages! Lots of things were named after him and his works, including an international humanitarian group (named after his philosophical memoir Terre des hommes) and the main airport of his birthplace of Lyon (named after him).

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