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The Little Prince's Hidden Meanings
The Little Prince is a famous allegory about the adventures of the little prince, written by the French pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The main plot of the story follows the encounter of the narrator or pilot with the little prince as he crashed in the dessert. The story is further developed by the conversations of the little prince with the pilot about his adventures.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye..."
Though a short book, the hidden meaning in this book is what makes it spectacular. An important principle may dwell under what appears as a normal story. The main concept of the book “anything essential is invisible to the eyes” is repeated again and again during various occasions. Many other principles as deep as the one listed above may be hiding right under your noses. The first chapter that we encounters in this book talks about how grown-ups, or most people in general, only see the outward appearance of certain things and miss what is important, or look but don’t observe. This idea is illustrated via the drawings of the boa constrictor. The narrator drew a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant but the drawing was mistaken for the hat because they miss what is essential to the drawing. They simply didn’t observe. This principle is further illustrated in the following chapters with the narrator discussing the founder of asteroid B-612.
If you have read The Little Prince, I’m sure you are familiar with the baobabs and how they can terrorize an asteroid. In my personal perspective, the baobabs illustrate the forming of a bad habit, thought, or character. Though seemingly harmless at first, if you allow it to grow, it will soon be impossible to get rid of, and will lead to your destruction, as what happened to the lazy man’s planet.
Who can forget about the little prince and his rose? The rose is the culprit for driving the little prince away from his planet and making him return to it as well. Although vain and demanding, the little prince loved the rose because the time he spent on her, as said by the fox, “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.” As time processes, the little prince realized how immature he had been behaving and that it had been possible to ignore the flaws of the rose, because he loved her. This fact is further demonstrated by the conversion of the little prince with the other roses in the garden, “You’re not at all like my rose. You’re nothing at all yet. No one has tamed you and you haven’t tamed anyone. You’re the way my fox was. He was just a fox like a hundred thousand others. But I’ve made him my friend, and now he’s the only fox in all the world….”
The proceeding chapters describe the sad lives of the grown-ups in the planets the little prince traveled to, and the masses on earth which they symbolize. The first person the little prince met was the king who demonstrated a sad sense of absolute monarch over everything. Though he rules over nothing at all (except for a rat), and has no real power, he deems himself to be important and more supreme over every else. Though he had thought himself to be respected, he is very lonely and in the end, begged the little prince to stay. The king also symbolizes rulers who hold dear the power they have, but fails at enforcing it.
The Vain Man
As the little prince continued his travel, he came upon the vain man’s planet. The vain man demonstrated a sense of pure arrogance. He doesn’t see any faults in himself and he envisions himself as the best in the whole universe. Living in a lie because he only sees the world as he wish to see it, his only purpose is to gain the recognition of others. He is unable to see or experience the beauties of the world, being so self-consumed.
The Vain Man
The next planet belonged to the drunkard. The drunkard uses circular reasoning to justify his drinking. He was drinking to forget that he was ashamed and ashamed that he was drinking. The same circular or twisted reasoning are used by many of us, especially drunkards, to justify our actions.
The Business Man
Following the drunkard, came the planet of the businessman. He represents an adult in ways that his hobbies and interests are changed into making money, thinking that that is important while ignoring what really matters. It also gives us a new perspective on things. What are we to the things we own, do we contribute to them? The little prince said to the business man, “….so it’s of some use to my volcanoes and it’s useful to my flower, that I own them. But you’re not useful to the stars.”
The Business Man
The little prince finally arrived at the planet of the lamplighter. Though he may seem obsessed with him job, and so rigorous with his work that it may seem absurd, the little prince pointed out that he is the only person he have met so far who contributes and thinks for others.
The final planet the little prince visited before coming to earth was that of the geographer’s. Though knowing a lot about geography, the geographer doesn’t travel anywhere, he doesn’t explore, he simply writes down the reports of other people. The geographer is unaware of the things going on in his own planet because he is simply a geographer. He lives a boring life simply playing his part, and would rather know facts than see it first-hand.
The little prince arrived on earth-his final destination. The little prince landed in the dessert, where he and a snake had a short conversation, “It’s a little lonely in the dessert” said the little prince, “It’s also lonely with people,” replied the snake. As I grew-up, this statement became more understandable. Even when a person is living in a metropolis, if he has no one to call his friend, he is alone.
After the little prince came out of the dessert, he walked into a garden full of roses. He felt sad and disappointed because he thought that his rose was unique. While he was crying, a fox came up to him, and taught the little prince how to tame him. The fox told the little prince that taming means to make ties, and that the time you spent on the other person is what makes him or her truly important. In this section the key sentence to the whole book is introduced, “…One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” It is not the flesh that matters, but the spirit. After this encounter, the little prince returns to the garden of roses, realizing that her rose is indeed unique, because she tamed him, and because he loves her.
The Railway Switchman
The next encounter the little prince had was with a railway switchman. Their conversion drifted to the topic of whether people know where they are going. He tells the prince that people are always rushing around, and looking for things. He says that the people don’t even know what they are looking for, much less where they should be looking. They are always in a hurry, thus incapable of enjoying life.
The little prince then talked with the merchant. The merchant offered a pill to the little prince that would save his time by quenching his thirst, pondering on this, the little prince thought that instead of saving time, he would use it in a more meaningful way. The little prince takes pleasure in life’s smallest things, including drinking water. He thought that rather than saving the time to drink water to do something we enjoy, he should enjoy drinking water.
The "Death" of the Little Prince
This book is now coming to an end with the little prince returning to his planet. Hence we‘re reminded again to enjoy life’s every little moment. At the last moment before the little prince got bitten by the snake, he told the pilot that though he may look like he was dying, he was actually not. This brings us back to the core thought of the book- what is invisible to the eye is what truly matters. The flesh is dead, but the spirit of the little prince lives on even until this day, thanks to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This book is truly marvelous, describing the dull life of a grown-up, the common problems of society, and helping us understand the true meaning of life, friendship, and love. It reminds us the innocence of a child and tells about the nature of life. The Little Prince is certainly a book worth pondering on.