The Little Prince

The Little Prince, published in 1943, was written by author and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It is a poetic, self-illustrated fantasy tale in which a pilot stranded in the Sahara desert meets a small boy – the little prince – who lives on a tiny asteroid. The Little Prince is a philosophical story, which includes observations and criticisms on society and the strangeness of the adult world.

Biography

The simplicity of life and his surroundings enable the little prince to regularly attend to chores that help maintain his planet. He tends and cares for his one and only flower, sweeps out his two small volcanoes, and pulls out unwanted shrubs that threaten to overrun the planet if left unattended. One of the greatest pleasures the little prince has is watching the sunset over his planet. By simply moving his chair a few feet each time, he can see the sunset as many times a day as he wishes!

This simple lifestyle contrasts sharply and in a myriad of ways when the little prince first meets a pilot stranded in the Sahara desert. Throughout the time spent in each other's company, they have a series of thought-provoking and often amusing conversations, with the little prince asking the pilot many questions. This in turn, enables the pilot to reassess his own thoughts, behaviours and how he sees things from the perspective of an adult, in contrast to those of the little prince.

The pilot discovers something about himself: he realises that he wanted to be an artist when he was a little boy. He was discouraged by adults who failed to appreciate his unique artistic sensibilities. And he knows, instinctively, by growing up, he has lost sight of something important.

The little prince also travels to other planets on a quest for knowledge. He meets various characters on his journey ranging from an over-controlling king who tries to force the little prince to yawn at his command; a man so conceited he only hears praise; a drunkard who drinks to forget his drinking; a businessman who is obsessed with counting stars; a lamplighter who tirelessly lights lamps on his planet; and finally, the little prince meets a geographer who has a mind of technical information, but isn't able to tell the little prince how many lakes or mountains are on his planet because he can't be bothered with the mundane task of exploring!

The little prince even visits planet Earth where he encounters a snake, a fox, a train signalman and a merchant. With each encounter the little prince gleans another piece of wisdom.

When the time comes for the little prince to say goodbye, the pilot has learnt to appreciate his own individual qualities and the importance of being true to one's self and not to lose sight of what really matters.

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