Review: "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in Lyon in 1900. He was a writer and aviator who died while flying over the Mediterranean Sea during the Second World War. The wreckage of his plane was recovered only in 2008.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) is the best-known work of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Published on April 6, 1943 by Reynald & Hitchcock, The Little Prince is a very poetic story under the form of literary work for younger people, which covers issues such as the meaning of life, love and friendship. It is among the most famous literary works of the twentieth century and the most sold in history. The book has been translated iand dialects, and printed in more than 134 million copies around the world.
In a sense, the book constitutes a kind of sentimental education. The work is depicted by a dozen of illustrations made by the same Saint-Exupery himself, quite simple drawings after all, but as famous as the novel.
It all starts with a crash landing made by a pilot in the Sahara desert. The next morning when he wakes up he meets a child, the little prince, who is from another planet, and asks him to draw a sheep. The child’s request is granted, but the image is never satisfying, until the pilot draws a box with holes and says that inside it contains the sheep. Only then, the little prince is happy, because the essential is normally invisible to the eyes.
The story tells the journey of the little prince who wanders from an asteroid to another in order to learn about the universe. During his journey he meets strange people, each with particular characteristics: a king upset because there are no men to serve him, a drunk who drinks to not feel shame to drink, a man who turns street lamps on and off continuously, and so forth.
Behind the stories of these characters are hiding bad qualities and virtues of each man. What emerges from this story, which has marked generations with its tangible meaning, is how people, upon growing up, tend to lose contact with the candor and important things in life, without understanding anymore the meaning of what they already have: their life and their feelings.
The charm of this tale lies in its utter simplicity. It teaches us many things we have forgotten upon growing up, therefore it can not be seen just as a children's book, as it has much to say also to the adults. The author, in an original and magical manner, describes the adult world through the innocent eyes of a child pointing out the unreasonable, and sometimes useless, behaviors.
"The Little Prince" is a fantasy novel that without being pretentious, tries to highlight the important aspects of life, such as values, purity, harmony and love for all living beings.