The Little Prince
Analysis Of Chapters 21-27 Of The Little Prince By Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
The episode with the fox requires a note on Saint-Exupéry’s use of the verb “tame.” In English, this word connotes domestication and subservience. But the French have two verbs that mean “to tame.” One “domestiquer” does, in fact, mean to make a wild animal subservient and submissive. The Little Prince, however, uses the verb “apprivoiser,”which implies a more reciprocal and loving connection. The distinction between these two words is important, since the original French word does not have the connotations of mastery and domination that unfortunately accompany the English translation. The fox’s disclosure of his secret neatly sums up a moral that runs through the novel: that which is secret is also what is most important.
Beginning with the narrator’s insistence that the hidden image in Drawing Number One is the most important one, the significance of secrecy is hinted at throughout The Little Prince, but the fox’s words make it explicit. In 1939, Saint-Exupéry wrote, “Don’t you understand that somewhere along the way we have gone astray? we lack something essential, which we find it difficult to describe. We feel less human; somewhere we have lost our mysterious prerogatives.” This “something essential,” and these “mysterious prerogatives” are the invisible secrets that the fox urges the prince to value. The fox’s lessons must be learned rather than taught, and when the fox reveals his secret, he really only confirms what the prince has already learned for himself in his explorations. The little prince’s journey allows him to explore himself as well as the world around him, but the fox shows that even the hardiest of explorers need validation.
The fox is a mentor figure who points out the important things the prince has learned and helps him clear his thoughts. When the fox explains what it means to be tamed, the prince realizes that he has already been tamed by his rose, even though he didn’t know that the process had a name. The fox urges the prince to revisit the rose garden, but the prince learns the second part of the fox’s secret — that the time he has devoted to his rose is what makes her unique — on his own.
After stressing in Chapter XXI that devoting time to one another is what creates the special bonds between different beings, The Little Prince offers two examples of time poorly spent, where technology speeds people along at the expense of things that have genuine value. The trains race by at lightning speed, but only the children are able to appreciate what is worthwhile about the trip. The switchman points out that all their moving does not make the grown-ups any happier. The sales clerk with his water pills also emphasizes time-saving, telling the prince that his pills can save people up to fifty-three minutes a day. The little prince’s retort that these extra minutes would best be put to use walking slowly toward a cool fountain undermines the purpose of the salesman’s thirst-quenching product.
In Chapters XXIV and XXV, the narrator learns through experience the lessons that the prince learned while with the fox. The search for the well in the desert makes it clear to the narrator that people must discover the true meaning of things for themselves in order for those things to have value. The narrator finds the well while he is on his own, holding the sleeping little prince in his arms. Once the narrator has learned this lesson about how the process of discovery makes the results worthwhile, he takes it to heart and is able to apply it to the emotions and intuitions of his past, as he does when he reminisces over the mysterious house of his childhood. Even though the story shows us all of the prince’s discoveries and encounters, Saint-Exupéry is trying to inform us that we will not truly understand unless we search for meaning ourselves. Even the narrator, who is a firsthand witness to the prince’s story, needs to learn the fox’s lessons for himself through experience instead of simply being told them. Before they search for the well, the prince tells the narrator about meeting a salesclerk who sold thirst-quenching pills. One might think that such pills are exactly what the narrator and prince need to survive in the desert, but they never once find themselves wishing for them. When the narrator drinks from the well, he receives more than simple physical nourishment. The water also revives his heart, and he finds it more like a Christmas present than anything else. He says that what makes the water taste so delightful is all the hard work that went into finding it, emphasizing that relationships, objects, and experiences are rewarding only when you invest time and effort in them.
Besides demonstrating important moral lessons, the relationship between the pilot and the little prince is also very human. The prince gently mocks the narrator’s drawings, and the narrator is struck by a deep concern for the prince’s safety. Their relationship grounds the story, and though their conversation introduces weighty topics like spirituality and morality, the friendship between the narrator and the little prince keeps the conversation casual.
For us, as for the narrator, the story of the little prince ends in mystery. We are left to figure out whether the prince has managed to save his rose. At times, the narrator is sure that the prince’s life on his planet is a happy one. Other times, the narrator hears only the sound of tears. The only thing that is certain is that one of the prince’s first questions, about whether the sheep will eat his rose, has emerged in the end as the most important question of all. The narrator does not downplay the deep pain he felt because of his friendship with the little prince. Although the narrator mentions that he has other friends, the departure of this one has taken as much from him as it has given him. The story has no qualms about the fact that losing a loved one is painful, and its ending offers no consolation that the narrator’s wounds will heal. On one level, these final chapters are an allegory about dealing with the death of a loved one.
In spite of all this sadness, however, the story staunchly insists that relationships are worth the trouble. The fox and the narrator may both lose the little prince, but their world is enhanced nevertheless — wheat fields and night skies come alive.
To emphasize this positive aspect of lost relationships, the narrator describes his desolate final drawing of the barren landscape where the prince fell as both the saddest and the loveliest place in the world. The Little Prince, though it deals with serious and even upsetting issues, emphasizes the idea that good can be derived from sad events. The little prince learns that his rose must die, but this knowledge fires his love for her. The relationship between the narrator and the prince reaches new levels of intensity only after the prince makes it clear that he will depart.
Analysis: “The Little Prince”
A fascinating philosophical tale which is composed by a French pilot, “Antoine de Saint-Exupery.” By going through this novel one can reveal many aspects of life that doesn’t really appear to be a matter of consequence; eventually this may upheaval the reality. This novel is a compilation of fellowship, love, loss, mystery and understanding of hearts and minds. In 1943 he composed it out of his experiences over the Sahara desert that became his most popular book. A captivating novel that reflects the actuality of life, when one engage to it that person would find the truth by going into its depth, not just by what shows up on the surface but what’s invisible.
The author of the novel is unlike all adults. He was an imaginative and creative child; he gave up on his drawing since he drew a boa constrictor that he saw in a book when he was six.
Tragically, adults recognized it as a hat they see that’s self apparent exterior and couldn’t see what’s on the inward surface. The grown-ups like to bounce to the primary conclusion they see and most likely don’t go for a next thought. But when he encountered the small man on the desert who was questioning to draw him a sheep instead the maker drew him an elephant in a boa constrictor. He immediately recognized it and said,
“No, No, No! I don’t want an elephant inside a boa constrictor. What I need is a sheep. Draw me a sheep.” (Exupery, p.7)
The storyteller is a pilot who got stuck in the Sahara due to some technical default in his plane’s engine; there he met this little fellow who came to planet Earth after exploring many other planets and met different kinds of people from the king to a drunkard. This little fellow that owns a heart of a child, he was innocent, clever and never hesitate to ask a question but never like to reply any. His character represents a naive child who is free from inhumanity, a reflection of love and understanding, the one who appreciate whatsoever little they own and loves to see sunsets. While exploring other planets he met many individuals those who were busy in doing senseless things, as he was sharing his experience with the pilot. At the same time the pilot thought that he wanted to be a painter, which might have been turn out good for him but he gave up on this thought as the adults couldn’t understand his drawings.
“Grownups never understand anything by themselves and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”. (Exupery, p.4-5)
This reflects on many around us that most of us give up on the things they are good at just because that doesn’t please others. Even though there’s always someone who understands as for the narrator it was the little prince. Not because he came from another planet but he wasn’t unlike other grownups. Adults are busy in just running from one platform to another while they don’t know their destination.
Over the time they became good companions to each other, little prince told him about his planet that consist of his beloved and unique flower and 3 volcanoes that happen to be till his knees from which one was extinct. He left his home planet because of the inconvenience created between him and the rose. And because of the fact that he wanted a sheep which can eat baobabs plant before that turns into a tree and destroy his home planet which he cared about too much.
The pilot drew him a box and told him the sheep that he’s asking for is inside. The ability of the little man to accept that the sheep is inside concludes the inability of the adults to not recognize a boa constrictor. As there’s always a point in life where you meet someone and surprised by the fact that how someone could actually understand you. Otherwise you bring your level down to his level and talk about things you are not interested in but just because they are not the one with true understanding so you won’t initiate the talk anyway. According to the pilot,
“Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.”(Exupery, p.5)
On the 8th day, they ran out of water so they both were in a search of a well in a desert while walking they realized how they both were enchanted by each other’s company. But the constant thought of rose was troubling the little prince as the geographer told him that flowers are ephemeral and they won’t last forever and he left her all alone there and was worried that she got only three thorns to protect her. Finally they reached to a well, the little prince taught the same lesson as fox taught the little prince about the one you adore.
The pilot was disappointed that the little prince is leaving, as he salutes the pilot on settling his plane. Creating more uneasiness, the little fellow clarifies that his rose needs him, and he must protect her at that point he falls calm. The snake bit at the prince’s lower leg and he falls so smoothly that he does not make a sound. The next morning, the story teller couldn’t find his body and believed that he had reached to his planet. His heart was sobbing but at the same time he was so pleasant to meet the little prince.
After the pilot returned, to console his sorrow he wrote about the little mysterious man he met on the desert and still he looks up at the sky wondering what he’s doing and miss his enchanted laugh. He suggested his readers,
“Look up at the sky. Ask yourself, “Has the sheep eaten the flower or not?” And you’ll see how everything changes. And no grown-up will ever understand how such a thing could be so important!” (Exupery, p.62)
The little prince is a story from which adults and children both could learn basic life lessons. Not every time it’s important to always talk in figures if asteroid b-612 exists then little prince too. This novel was suggested to us because every character in this play showcases a character that one is playing in his/her life. Humans, likely to jump over conclusion but the ability of the little prince to understand things, makes me see thing from a different perspective.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the storyteller of the novel “The little prince.” At the age of six, he gave up on his sketching skills because the grownups weren’t able to understand his drawing of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant. His character reflects a normal creative human being who is more likely to observe things in a different way and just not jumps to the conclusion right away. A little child is always there alive that is curious to know about things as the narrator used to show that drawing to those who seemed all clear sighed to him but when they too consider it as a hat. He never talked to them about it as they won’t discover the truth. He said
“I would bring myself down to his level and the grownups would be pleased to have met such a sensible man.” (Exupery, p.5)
Like all our life we met different types of people and all don’t really seem to understand us. We’re in a continuous process of learning and developing. The little prince who was naive and innocent taught him many things including what fox taught him. The relation of the pilot and the prince is a bond of companionship as prince love for his rose made him bit by the snake. To console his sorrows the narrator serves us with this beautiful story full of lessons and explorations.
THE LITTLE PRINCE
The Little prince home planet was asteroid b-612. A little innocent prince, who had been too many other planets and met different kinds of people, when he visited the earth, landed on the desert where he met Antoine, who was stuck there since his plane crashed in the Sahara desert. He was a small curious creature who likes to inquire many numerous questions and never really appear to reply any. He was a little bundle of joy with a bright lucid heart; he left his beloved rose on his planet and came down. He used to tell many stories to the narrator, his lovely laugh was enchanting. A character that we can find in an innocent child that doesn’t really seem to answer your question as this indicates that one’s answer is always important than answering. To him only children were sensible,
“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry . . .”
The small ruler tamed the fox became his friend. Fox made him learn the most beautiful lesson that “what is essential is visible to the eye” and the one you tame become the one you adore and always may stay the same indeed in spite of the fact that there are numerous like them but that one would continuously be unique to you. The prince taught the story teller the same lesson when he left for his planet.
The prince experienced the king at the beginning when he took off to explore other planets; he called himself the lord as he ruled over the whole universe and orders them to do what they are as of now doing and would do even without his command. When the prince asked the king to show him the sunset he refused by saying
“He must wait until conditions are favorable.” (Exupery, p.25)
King offered him to be the minister of Justice but the prince acquired that there’s no one to judge, so the king suggested him to judge himself as it’s the hardest thing to do. As being vulnerable, he answered I can do it anywhere and left.
The crowned man sitting on a chair with no one to rule to but he commands to those who would already do what they do. As this reflects that there are people who like to tell others what to do even if they don’t have to. Same as another important lesson that hardest thing of all is to judge oneself.
THE CONCEITED MAN:
On his visit to the other planet he met a unsuccessful conceited man who put his cap half way up out of regard. He needed the prince to respect and admire him but why he needed to be appreciated the small creature inquired as he’s the only one on his planet. Besides conceited men are frequently those who pine for reverence for the small they do or for nothing. Indeed in spite of the fact that he was the only one on his planet but still he was inquisitive about getting appreciate by whoever pass by.
In our circle I’ve come around to those who like to get adored by others even though everyone is unique and beautiful in their ownself.
Third one that he gone to was occupied by inebriated man. He’s a pitiful and silly man who utilized to drink persistently so that he might disregard that he is embarrassed of drinking. Seeing this the prince said,
“The grownups are certainly very odd.” (Exupery, p.29)
Drunkard reflects to those who persistently do wrong things until they feel right doing the wrong thing.
THE BUSINESS MAN:
Fourth planet was occupied by a business man; he was too busy in his calculations that he didn’t even greet his visitor. He counted stars and have record of them since he claims the stars. Because he thought of them first even though he can’t contribute to them or have them.
This was the most foolish thing to do as humans sometimes do the same they hold onto something they can never have. They kept themselves so busy all their lives chasing something that won’t have.
The only planet which didn’t seemed crazy to the prince. Hence, the planet was tinniest of all. Though switching lights on and off was aimless but what made prince to admire him was his devotion to his orders. The lamplighter may be a character that instructs us to do our work with earnestness and devotion.
The planet he gone to next was occupied by a geographer. Who take records from the pioneers with respect to sea, mountains and oceans but didn’t know much around his possess planet because it was the assignment of pioneers. From him small prince knows about the ephemeral nature of blossom that his flower won’t final until the end of time.
The geographer prompted the prince to visit next the planet earth. The character of geographers is reflects the one who knows particular things and may direct you but small do they know about their possess stuff.
The snake was the one he met after arriving on the planet Earth. The wind told him that it’s the Sahara that’s why there are no men. Small creature showed him his planet within the sky and to the wind this creature appeared decent. He utilized to conversation in enigmas Snake is continuously to be considered as a creature which controls and can slaughter an individual but in this he’s decent to the small person. But at the same time you could never trust a snake as its one bite can make a person die.
Fox was the one who instructed him a little more about love and fellowship. Fox told the little mate to tame him, as fox told him that,
“The one you tame will be one of a kind for you within the entirety world.”
He made him learn what is imperative in life and before the takeoff of the small mate; fox told him a mystery, “what is essential is visible to the eyes.” He made him realize that he is dependable for his rose and three volcanoes since he’s their guardian.
He told little prince a secret,
“Here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (Exupery, p.48)
Fox showed us the reality of life as individuals don’t appreciate what they have. And nothing in the world can make their beloved seem less unique or important.
1THE RAILWAY SWITCHMAN:
The next halt was at the railroad, switch man told him that he sent thousands of travelers every day on and off and all are miserable adults going in and coming out. The prince acquired that weren’t they happy where they were? On this he answered,
”No one is ever satisfied where he is.” (Exupery, p.49)
As all adults are asleep they don’t appear to utilize their hearts and minds fair pitifully running and seeking after nothing. They both concurred that children at slightest know what they are seeking out for.
Humans are continuously running in a race, they are so occupied with themselves that they forget what they are actually here for.
THE MERCHANT WHO SELL PILLS:
Now he met a merchant who was selling pills to extinguish thirst so that would save their time and that time could be utilized in something else. Little prince was disgust with this thought and if he would get the time he would still utilize it in drinking water.
This symbolizes that how we are creating shortcuts in our world and cutting off things that are important for us.
THREE PETALED FLOWER:
The lonely flower that little prince found in desert. She informs the prince about the passing hunters that men only kill and do no good.
By this we get that we only tell what we seek based on our experience.
GARDEN FULL OF ROSES:
On his way he experienced a garden full of roses that made him think of his cherished bloom that he thought was one of a kind. He cried on his hardship but afterward with the assistance of fox he learned that all these roses can’t halt his rose to be unique.
This is excellently symbolizes that the one you adored since the one you love is continuously one of a kind and distinctive for you.
A playful bloom that has inconvenience conveying her cherishes for the prince and thus drives him away. Simultaneously, unsuccessful and naïve, she illuminates the prince of her love for him as well late to induce him to remain home and not to travel. All through the story, she possesses the prince’s thoughts and heart. She wasn’t able to express her love and care for the prince that made him leave or maybe she was too young to know how to love. But one should always let their beloved know about their tenderness and warmth.
The reader of “The little prince” would definitely be influenced by the lessons and the character of the story that portrays our real life characters. The people that little prince encountered on different planets can be recognized if we see through social perspective. The main ideas of little prince are
- Adults always probably won’t understand you so it’s okay to be different.
- Your beloved will always be unique and lovely to you and you would see them as one in a million even if they are not but they would always have that special place because you tamed it.
- Another lesson that narrator teaches us that one can always live in ones memory.
- Be happy and satisfied with what so little you got.
Though there are many characters that we see and each of them got their own story and lesson with them.
The Little Prince: One Of The Most Significant Books in The World Literature
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The novel The Little Prince was originally published in 1943. Antoine De Saint was a pioneering aviator, a prominent aristocrat, poet and writer, and thus the book; The Little Prince was inspired by his real-life experiences (Sís). He only added a few fictionalized imageries to enhance the merit and understandability of the book to his audience (Cengage Learning Gale). The Little Prince has demonstrated massive success as it has sold over 140 million copies worldwide and translated into more than 300 languages and dialects consequently becoming the best-selling book ever published (Howard and Mortensen). More significantly, this novel is one of the most key books because of its thoughtful and introspective nature, and hence bringing hope to human beings.
The Little Prince was written immediately after the outbreak of the 2nd World War which forced Saint-Exupery to seek refuge in North America. Notwithstanding his disturbances and poor health condition, he managed to produce virtually half of the book’s writings for which he would be remembered for. For instance, an affectionate tale regarding his loneliness, loss, love, and friendship in the form of the Little Prince visiting Earth. Additionally, the author’s early account shades lights to his aeronautics involvements in the desert regions of Sahara. Presumably, its believed that those experiences are drawn in The Little Prince (Cengage Learning Gale).
The Little Prince is one of the children’s must-read handbooks with philosophy for grown-ups. This is as a result of its significant poetic and optimistic reflections primarily on the existence of human beings (Cengage Learning Gale). The novel demonstrates the author’s practical artistic skills through his lyrical, charming and well-illustrations made throughout the book, sweeping the audience into a whirl hood of childhood fancy (Saint-Exupéry). Also, it’s a simple book with a combination of satire, philosophy, science, imagination and childish vivacity that can command the attention of grown-ups and children’s hearts and minds.
Through his book, Antoine De Saint-Exupery communicates important values that “grown-ups” overlooks more often in everyday life. The Little Prince is written as a children’s novel. However, it be can analyzed at various different levels. Therefore, it’s important to note that a “child” or an “adult” is not defined by the age, but rather by the state of mind (Weber and Probert). Although The Little Prince is designed as a childhood novel, it makes several explanations and clarifications regarding human life and nature, and hence it’s optimistic.
For instance, The Little Prince is depicted as one of the two protagonists of the story. Hence, after leaving his home planet and his rose which he adored so much, he traveled around the world, ending up on Earth. He was puzzled by the behavior of grown-ups (Howard and Mortensen). The Prince symbolizes love, hope and innocence of childhood that dominates the better part of our life in all of us. Additionally, the Prince is demonstrated as a friendly individual who enjoys meeting diverse characters of people as he travels. He is optimistic and never stopped being affectionate to his beloved rose on his home planet (Cengage Learning Gale).
The novel’s optimism is also demonstrated by the roses in the garden. The glimpse of the rose garden made the Prince loss confidence to his flower as he believed that it was not unique (Howard and Mortensen). However, after an in-depth guidance and knowledge from Fox, the Prince realized and understood that irrespective of the many similar flowers available, they were not meant to stop his flower from being unique and exclusive. He is determined and hopeful to achieve the uniqueness of his rose regardless of the availability of several similar flowers (Saint-Exupéry).
This was the moment when the Fox appeared, and the Prince asked to cheer him up by playing with him because he looked upset and unhappy. However, the Fox declined to play with him because he was not “tamed” (Howard and Mortensen). Fox described “tame” as establishing strong ties between him and The Little Prince so as they can be unique in each other’s eyes, notwithstanding all the other boys and foxes in the universe. Nonetheless, he believed that his flower was tamed (Saint-Exupéry).
Furthermore, Antoine De Saint-Exupery depicts the narrator as an optimistic individual and consequently the optimism of the novel as he shades lights to his childhood attempts at making an illustration of a boa constrictor eating an elephant. When the narrator created the image from the outside for the first time, all the “grown-ups” misinterpreted the illustration as they all believed it was a hat (Saint-Exupéry). Nevertheless, the narrator did not lose hope; he still made attempts to draw the boa constrictor from the inside.
In spite of being advised by the “grown-ups” to quit drawing a boa constrictor and instead devote his time to other subjects such as grammar, geography, and arithmetic, his determination and optimism are not deterred (Cengage Learning Gale). He believes that most of the “grown-ups” have lost their imagination and the ability to see and correctly interpret his pictorial drawing for the truth it contained. However, they can only jump to the most obvious conclusion that the hat-shaped creature was a hat (Howard and Mortensen).
Additionally, the novel’s optimism is portrayed by The Little Prince’s unrelenting effort in his attempts to learn more about the meaning and different forms of relationships with various characters of people (Sís). He is determined and pays more considerable attention to the fox as he teaches and makes clarity on the crucial procedural forms that bond between the tamer and the tamed. According to the fox, the connection between somebody or something with another person or thing is what makes the relationship unique. Uniqueness grows and develops out of a relationship (Cengage Learning Gale).
The optimistic nature of the novel is further depicted by water which symbolizes hope, spiritual nourishment and the joy we encounter in our healthy daily life. Usually, water is one of the typical resources that most people take for granted in life not being incognizant of the fact that, it becomes a rarity especial in desert regions. The pilot and The Little Prince becomes very thirsty particularly as the book nears the end, and thus abandoning their narration to search for water (Weber and Probert). After walking beneath the desert stars, they eventually came across a well that was in the middle of the desert and drunk water as if it was a “present.” The most valuable and exclusive gift after walking for the such a long distance and enduring the hotness of the scorching sun (Weber and Probert).
Moreover, when The Little Prince met the merchant who was saving at least fifty-three minutes every single day by selling a pill that quenches thirst, he said that, he would instead use those minutes to trek towards a well to quench his thirst with fresh water. This suggested that there was nothing that can replace the happiness, hope, and determination of journeying towards a spring of water to quench thirst. Therefore, the sweetness of the water and the joy and happiness he feels after quenching his thirst at a spring of fresh water brings the sense of optimism and determination (Cengage Learning Gale).
Stars also help to demonstrate the optimistic nature of the novel, although they portray various and different meanings throughout the book. For instance, before his final departure, the little prince said that all the men have stars. However, they do not represent the same things for different people (Weber and Probert). For the travelers, the stars symbolize the guiding lights, and the number to count and own for the businesspersons. However, for the pilot, the stars represent the presence of the little prince on another planet giving him hope and laughter by watching them (Sís).
This is because the stars contained the laughter of the little prince as they represented hope and the character of his most dear, which was his rose flower (Weber and Probert). Thus, a singles blossom of the flower growing in all the millions and millions of stars was enough to give hope and bring him happiness, joy, and laughter by just looking at the stars (Cengage Learning Gale).
Finally, the author uses the baobab trees to help express the hopefulness of the novel. The baobab trees resemble the rose bushes, but if not monitored and taken care of appropriately, their roots are destructive and may damage a small planet like The Little Prince’s (Howard and Mortensen). Thus, the baobab trees symbolize any immoral behavior that is not taken care of at the early stages such as the obsession of the businessman with sums. Therefore, the author gives the audience optimism in rectifying some bad behaviors before they become immense. For instance, The Little Prince took advantage of the migration of the wild birds to leave his home planet. However, he made sure to clean the volcanoes on his planet, water his rose and pull the last shoots of the baobab trees (Cengage Learning Gale).
In conclusion, The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery is one of the most significant books in the world literature. This is because the its thoughtful and introspective, and thus brings optimism to human beings. The storyline is philosophical as it contains some social criticism, particularly to the adult world. Although meant for the children’s must-read handbooks, the book is essential because it demonstrates significant poetry and optimistic reflections on the existence of human beings. Therefore, the novel is suitable for both the adults and children because it makes several observations regarding life and human nature. Thus, the novel is optimistic.
Similar Ideas in Things They Carried And The Little Prince
Fiction, while its very definition is that it is not real there is some truth to be found in it. All stories are written by humans and there is no way to write a story without incorporating some level of what the author has experienced. Every story has a layer of truth behind it whether or not the author knows it; they put the truth in their fiction. All the characters are based on their own interactions of how people communicate and react. Three books in particular link their fiction to reality and those are Siddhartha, The Things They Carried, and The Little Prince.
Siddhartha is the story of a rich boy who tires of his wealthy lifestyle and leaves home to seek enlightenment. The rest of the story is his journey of discovery. His journey is very different than most journeys that one may go on in their lives but it relates all the same. It teaches the struggles of attaining a goal and reveals the truth in not giving up and to keep one’s head straight while seeking a goal “When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking.”. It also reveals a lot about wisdom and how it differs from knowledge. Knowledge is just information and can be taught and communicated while wisdom can only be learned through experience “Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else… knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.”
The Things They Carried reveals many truths throughout its story of war and loss. It speaks about the true horrors of war and reveals the truth about propaganda at the time. For example a chapter by the name “Spin” covers some violence but mentions no blood while the chapter titled “How to tell a true war story” has much blood and violence in it. Spin refers to the spin that is placed on wars by the press and “How to tell a true war story” is all about the truths of war and mentions that “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing things men have always done.” Another truth that it reveals is similar to a main theme of that seen in The Little Prince which is that “What’s important is invisible to the eyes” as at one point in the story “She gave him the picture and told him not to burn this one up. Jimmy shook his head. “It doesn’t matter,” he finally said. “I love her.” This means that he doesn’t need pictures to remember that he loves Martha because what’s important is invisible to the eyes.
The Little Prince might seem like an odd story that would reveal truth in the world but it reveals possibly the most truth of the three. It reveals the truth of how daily interactions between people work. How friends are tamed and form ties “What does that mean-‘tame’? It is an act too often neglected, said the fox. It means to establish ties”. The Little Prince himself says that he has been tamed by his flower. Another truth it reveals is that people live in cycles. The drunken man reveals that he drinks to forget that he is ashamed of his drinking problem. Yet he drinking to forget only worsens the problem. It also reveals the most important truth of all, “What’s important is invisible to the eye”. This means that all that is important is within. Things like love that cannot be seen are what matter the most. This is a main theme throughout the book and reveals the truth about how the soul is the most important part of life.
Siddhartha, the Things They Carried, and The Little Prince all share a similar ability to share the truth through way of fiction. They all have important messages to share and all reveal different truths through their narratives. A main theme throughout all of them is that what’s important is invisible to the eyes. All of these books have vastly different storylines but all connect in similar ways. The reason is because the authors all put the truth in their works of fiction. These stories reveal many truths of life.
Symbols And Their Meaning in The Little Prince
A symbol is something that at first seems to have no special meaning, but if one knows what to look for, has a hidden message or purpose. The Little Prince is a book composed almost entirely of symbols. In this novel, a rather simple plot is rife with many diverse symbols relating to life and human nature. It can be read by a child or an adult with equal appreciation for its simple storyline and developed characters, though many symbolic elements will not appear immediately. It may be necessary for a younger reader to become more developed in age, understanding, and knowledge for them to recognize these symbols. As one matures, more parallels between this book and world issues, both past and present, can be drawn.
The Little Prince himself symbolizes childlike innocence. While he makes decisions an adult might make in the course of the story, they are made with the same objectivity and common sense that a young child possesses. Innocence is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact it helps other people to see the world from a unique and beneficial point of view. Perhaps it has received a negative stereotype because so often it is taken advantage of, or those possessing it are not taken seriously because “they do not know what they are talking about for they have not experienced it.” Innocence is someone’s reflections on their observations of the world which are untouched by the bias of acceptance into the society of grownups. The need or desire for acceptance erodes a good deal of imagination and instills stereotypes that can be damaging to previously important personal beliefs that are now considered childish or ignorant. This concept is vitally important to the storyline; for it is the Little Prince, the epitome of innocence, who brings the pilot back to his reality after it was nearly polluted by frustration over his damaged engine. This occurred when the Prince became upset over the pilot’s lack of concern for his sheep, and the resulting conflicting interest of “matters of consequence.”
The Little Prince’s planet symbolizes a child’s world. It is used quite literally as well; the Little Prince is a child and lives on this small world. Abstractly, though, it is a child’s mind and view of the world. It is very small and simple, but good and pure. Certain ideas (or baobab trees, if you will), if not grown or weeded correctly, can lead to its shattering and destruction. This is seen when all too soon the Prince’s wisdom and knowledge are put to the test as he tames his rose. Complicated questions generated by this relationship require answers outside that of his small world. He decides to take a trip around the universe in order to develop his wisdom.When he leaves it to search for knowledge, he is shocked by the very size of the entire universe, as well as the plethora of undesirable qualities that grownups possess. He wonders if he really should have left his planet, because he hasn’t really learned anything at all. He notices that his views are not taken into very much consideration, and he is put down when he asks legitimate questions. All of us, whether we have just put down our dolls and toy trucks or if we are feeble grandparents, need to empathize with children and attempt to look at their views the same way that they do, for they are looking at only a very small area of the entire picture.
The pilot’s plane is also a symbol, and perhaps it is the most often overlooked. When one thinks about it, the plane is the cause of the story. Without the plane, the pilot would not have crashed, and so he would not have met the Little Prince, which is the basis of the plot. The plane can symbolize an attempted escape from the world. When the pilot is discouraged in his artistic endeavors, he turns to flying as his occupation. As he grows older, he continues to feel disconnected from the thinking of his peers, and his flying lets him escape from contact with them. Humans need human to survive, though, and this lack of friendship was not good for the pilot. It is likely that he would have grown up in a different way than the other grown-ups have if he had not crashed and met the Prince. He may have become somewhat of a hermit, and miss out on the good facets of life if it were not for the plane crash that enabled him to meet the Prince.
Disguised Imperfections: Human Nature in “The Little Prince,” “The Mirror Maker,” and “The Nose”
Imperfection, like mortality itself, is an integrated aspect of being human. Most people, however, try to mask theirs through self-importance and ambition. Self-importance and ambition help to promote self-confidence and the illusion of perfection in an imperfect world. The three narratives–The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, The Mirror Maker by Primo Levi, and The Nose by Nikolai Gogol–provide evidence to prove how imperfections are hidden by ambition and self-importance.
In The Little Prince, the narrator describes his meeting with a little prince from another planet. The little prince is a peculiar child whose non-stop talking and unique perspective of life made the reader questions grown-ups everywhere. In this book, one of the imperfections that the author focused on was vanity. One of the first examples of vanity we were presented with was the case of the discovery of Asteroid 325. The astronomer who first discovered it was dismissed because of the way he was dressed. A few years later, “the astronomer repeated his demonstration…wearing a very elegant suit. And this time everyone believed him” (Saint-Exupéry 10). Saint-Exupéry showed us that people hide behind beautiful clothing and accessories to make themselves feel more important. The astronomer’s discoveries did not change between the years. Only his clothing changed and somehow that provided others with ample evidence to support his claims. The first garment seemed too ridiculous to them and therefore, if they had accepted his findings, they would also be labeled as ridiculous. People are vain but they prefer to refer to it as protocol to add a bit of confidence and power behind their choices. It is still vanity as the author presented it but most people would never see it as such. Instead, they would agree that they are making the world better by imposing dress codes and protocols. In reality, they simply want to feel more powerful and perfect.
Another imperfection we could find in the story was laziness. Both the lamplighter and the geographer that the little prince visited can be placed in that category. They both stayed in one place for their entire lives but attempted to hide it with ambition. They both believed that they were doing an important job and if they continued, they will eventually have a better life and make the world a better place. As the little prince remarked, neither had the will needed to actually move and do something else with their lives. They were stuck in that one spot and decided to embellish it by enlarging their self-worth.
Likewise, Primo Levi’s The Mirror Maker exposed people’s imperfections under their mask. Timoteo is a mirror maker who loved to create new types of mirrors. He invented one that could distort the human body. He gifted his fiancée with one but it did not make the impression he was aiming for on her. That was the story’s first approach into human’s perception on his own imperfection. After Timoteo gave the mirror to his fiancée, “Agatha saw herself transformed into a stork-woman, with shoulders, breast, and abdomen compressed into a bundle balanced on two extremely long, sticklike legs; … The story ended badly. Agatha broke mirror and engagement” (214). Even though Agatha knew the reflection she was staring at was not truly hers but a distorted version, she refused to accept it. She did not want to have something that would give the faintest hint that she may not be perfect.
Then, came Timoteo’s most controversial mirror. He invented a metaphysical one that could bend the rules of physics. It was supposed to show the viewer the way the other person viewed him. This mirror was not well received by the population. First, Timoteo tested it on his family and friends. When he tried it with Agatha, “the image of himself that he saw, as on a small video screen, was not very flattering” (215). He immediately left her afterwards because he suddenly realized he no longer had feelings for her. Yet, when he presented the mirror to Emma he “saw a marvelous Timoteo” (215). That was when he was aware of his profound love for her. Timoteo’s feelings changed from one instance to the next, not because the women did any great acts but because he was able to see their perception of him. In Agatha’s mind, he wasn’t flattering while he was the handsomest in Emma’s. It was his pride that decided who he loved at the end. He found someone who saw him as perfection rather than a flawed man. She boosted his ego.
Finally, Timoteo opened his invention to the rest of the world. It did not receive the attention he thought it was going to receive, however. The author wrote, “all the salesmen agreed in reporting that customers satisfied with their image as reflected on the brow of friends or relations were too few” (216). This statement provided with yet another example of people not being able to accept their imperfections. Most other people around a person such as their friends and family will without a doubt see the imperfections in the person. They will never see the person as perfect. The only person who can trick himself into thinking that he is perfect is the person himself. The others will see what he is lacking or what he possesses in too large amount. That was the fact that the people could not handle. They refused to accept the imperfections that their own friends and family saw so they blamed the mirror.
Lastly, there is The Nose by Nikolai Gogol. The main character in this short story was Kovalev who was the epitome of vain and self-absorbed. Gogol emphasized Kovalev’s traits by writing almost a page description of his rank and importance at the beginning of his story. As soon as Kovalev noticed the missing nose, his mind immediately went to his fellow collegiate and his ranking contacts. He was engrossed by the class ranks and where he stood in them. He wanted to elevate himself so “to give himself more nobility and weight, he never referred to himself as a collegiate assessor, but always as a major” (305). The title revitalized his self-esteem which was his primary reason for working hard and worrying so much about the missing nose.
Consequently, Kovalev’s most prominent imperfection was his inflated self-importance in society. As intended, Gogol’s character illustrated the disgusting part of society which it had hidden behind beautiful words and ambition. From a broad perspective, Kovalev gave the air of a hard-working young man who deserved to have his best wishes met. Yet, the amount of obsession he revealed throughout the story showed that the ambition was mainly a front to undermine his feeling of superiority. The social rank that society had established gave more room for battle of superiority versus inferiority between the people. When Kovalev met his nose, he was never nervous to approach him because of the status quo standing between them. He questioned himself, “How shall I approach him? … By all tokens, by his uniform, by his hat, one can see he’s a state councilor” (307). He didn’t want to go meet the nose for fear of coming of as impertinent to someone with a higher rank than him. Even the nose had inherited Kovalev’s self-importance. It was reluctant to talk to him because it believed itself to have a higher status than him.
Undoubtedly, the nose is the most prominent feature of a person’s face. It almost leads the face hence when it becomes detached, it left with that sense of predominance. Combined with its master’s ambition, it gained the authority that Kovalev had always craved. Nevertheless, Kovalev and the others around him never noticed his nor its nose’s manners as insubordinate or fallacious. On the contrary, they were well received because they are similar to the ones they also possessed. Everyone is obsessed with the rank they are currently in and how to level it. Societies with no ranking can see the narcissism that this type of system had spread within the people. That same ambition that it induced is what had created the distrust between the people. For example, when Kovalev realized that his nose was really gone and he could not get it back, he immediately settled for blaming others. According to the narrator, “it would hardly be unlikely if the blame were placed on none other than Podtochina, the staff officer’s wife, who wished him to marry her daughter” (316). The staff officer’s wife wanted to secure a bright future for her daughter by helping her to marry well with someone with reasonable rank but that motherly affection and ambition caused her to be the recipient of Kovalev’s anger. He believed that she was looking for a way to persuade him into marrying her daughter so she used witchcraft to remove his nose from his face. His belief was found to be false, nonetheless, there still withstand that element of distrust among the people of the same society because there is the possibility that it may have been true. Anyhow, the people circulate this distrust as ambition regardless of the outcome.
Human beings are never perfect, either in life or in literature that aspires to reflect human truths. We are not created to be perfect beings but none of us like to be reminded of that fact. As it was proven in the three literary works – The Little Prince, The Mirror Maker, and The Nose – we go through great length to try to disguise them.
Gogol, Nikolai. “The nose.” n.d. PDF File. 30 November 2016.
Levi, Primo. “The Mirror Maker.” n.d. PDF File. 30 November 2016.
Saint-Exupéry, Antoine De, and Richard Howard. The Little Prince. San Diego: Harcourt, 2000. Print.
Matters of Consequence in “The Little Prince”: Comparing Childhood and Adulthood
In Antoine de Saint Exupery’s short narrative “The Little Prince”, the division between adults and children is clearly defined through their use of imagination. The typical adult perspective is irrational and close minded. Adults fail to recognize the importance of relationships and imagination because they are obsessed with what they perceive to be “matters of consequence” (Exupery 135) and are incapable of change. As children grow into adults they mature along the way. With maturity typically comes responsibility. “The Little Prince” explores different aspects of responsibility. Exupery does this through the perspectives of the adults and children. Adults believe responsibility to be about overseeing and caring for possessions, whereas children believe responsibility to be about nurturing relationships.
Through the little prince and the narrator, readers learn that we have a responsibility to nurture, and value our relationships with others, and to not lose sight of what is truly important. The narrator of the story is an adult, but he is not categorized with the rest of the grown-ups because he still has an imagination and understands that money and “figures are a matter of indifference” (Exupery 142). To adults, numbers are essential. It is the only way in which they can understand things. As an example of this, the narrator explains that if you were to describe the beauty of a house to an adult, they would not understand you, but if you said to them “‘I saw a house that cost $20,000’” (Exupery 142), they would understand that it is a beautiful house. Numbers are a way of sharing information that is not open to interpretation. Numbers are factual and impersonal. Exupery therefore is suggesting to readers that the reason adults are only interested in figures is because they have no imagination or original thought.
Along with the adults’ interest in figures, Exupery uses the picaresque narrative of the little prince’s journey from his planet to Earth, to reveal to us the other negative traits which adults possess. The first adult that the little prince meets on his journey is the king. The negative personality trait which the king represents is a need for authority. They need to feel as if they are in control, even if this is a false sense of control. The king has no subjects to rule over, yet he claims that he reigns over everything. Adults wish to feel, like the king does, that their “rule [is] not only absolute: it [is] universal” (Exupery 154). Exupery explains to readers that the king is trapped by his own need for control and he does not realize that he has no meaningful relationships with other people.
Following his meeting with the king the little prince visits a second adult, the conceited man. Readers learn from this encounter that “to conceited men, all other men are admirers” (Exupery 157). Exupery explains to us that the irony in being conceited is that it makes a person lonely however, they need other people to confirm that they are “the best dressed, the richest, and most intelligent” (Exupery 158). The only way for a vain person to be sure that they are the best, is for them to have nobody around for them to compare themselves to, yet to confirm that they are the best, they require praise from another person. After this second encounter with an adult, readers begin to notice the contradictions adults live with along with their repulsive character traits.
Readers gain more awareness of the flawed character traits of adults when the little prince meets the tippler. The little prince and readers are confused by this character because of his flawed logic. The prince discovers that the man drinks in order to forget he is “ashamed of drinking” (Exupery 159). This character teaches us that adults are likely to ignore important underlying problems, and instead search for quick solutions. They want a quick fix so that they do not need to think about troublesome things. Due to his lack of imagination, the tippler is not able to realize that there is a deeper underlying problem to his drinking habit. The tippler uses drinking as a way to fill a void in his life, similar to the way in which some adults use work to fill a void.
The adult which the prince encounters on the fourth planet is the businessman. This man represents many adults and has a trait which they all possess; preoccupation with work and matters of consequence. He barely has time for interaction with another human being. The businessman represents a phenomenon of modern society where it is common for an adult’s only concern to be money and work. The businessman explains to the prince that he has only been distracted from his work three times “during the fifty-four years that [he has] inhabited this planet” (Exupery 160). Fifty-four years is over half a lifetime, and during this time the businessman has done nothing useful. He has formed no important human relationships or accomplished anything other than accurately counting all his possessions and writing down that number on to a piece of paper. Although this man believes that his work is important, it truly has no significance and by looking at this situation through the eyes of the little prince, the reader can understand how empty life is without human interaction. On the fifth planet the prince visits, he has a brief interaction with the lamplighter. This is the only adult he meets who thinks “of something else besides himself” (Exupery 164). The lamplighter has a devotion to keeping the planet lit, even though his planet now turns so quickly that he must light the lamp every minute. He blindly follows obsolete orders, which in a way is admirable because of his faithfulness, yet this faithfulness also represents adults’ inability to change.
Another man who exemplifies an inability to change is the geographer, who is the last man the prince meets before traveling to Earth. The prince finally believes he has met a man with a “real profession”, however the geographer appears to follow rules which are equally as obsolete as the rules the other adults adhere to. According to this man, “‘the geographer is much too important to go loafing about’” (Exupery 166). The geographer’s rigid belief that he is too important to explore his planet for himself has led to his lack of knowledge about his planet. The geographer does teach the prince one important lesson however, and that is that the flower which the prince left behind on his home planet is ephemeral. To the geographer this means that the flower is unimportant because it will not be around forever, but to the prince this means that his flower is important, and he needs to nurture and appreciate it while he can. From this encounter readers can understand that the flower is symbolic of human relationships, and it is important to spend time caring for other people. The geographer frustrates readers because he follows insignificant rules and is not willing to change.
The reader’s take-away from the prince’s encounters with these adults is that their beliefs are all absurd, irrational, and contradictory. Their lack of imaginations causes them to become obsessed with arbitrary tasks and they have no time to form meaningful relationships. They believe they only have time for things which are important, yet they do not understand that there is more to life than how many things they own, control, or oversee. Some of the adults such as the lamplighter, or the drunk are somewhat capable of seeing the absurdity in their actions however, they are incapable of change. The adults’ main problem is that they are only capable of attaching value to objects which they deem to be commodifiable. Human relationships, knowledge, and imagination are not important to them because they have no obvious extrinsic value.
Exupery, Antoine de Saint. “The Little Prince”. Rpt. in Eng 191. Comp. Maria Mikolchak. St. Cloud, MN: St. Cloud State University, 2015. P. 132-192.