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It is always interesting to analyze books, but this occupation becomes especially important when a ray of light under the guise of a paper medium appears in the hands. If every line pierces your heart, if you want to cry for some reason and suddenly you remember that you have a heart that can hurt, feel, experience and live, then you, probably, have exactly this book in your hands.
About the Author
The Frenchman Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a pilot, a remarkable, brave pilot. They are special people, respectful, cheerful and strong by nature. There is the phrase "sea dogs", it takes its origin from those times when the ships were wooden and oil lamps burned in the houses instead of electric ones. We can say about today's pilots: heavenly lions. A person rising above the world flies with the clouds and realizes that most of the earthly troubles are nothing, and it is the great mistake to spend as much energy on them as people usually do. There are more important things.
"The Little Prince" is only one of the works of this author. He addresses all those who want to think about life and try to understand what is really valuable in it. The innocent and naive questions of the Little Prince make the seriousness of the world even more absurd and stupid, revealing blindness, vanity and selfishness, greed and indifference of serious people. Saint-Exupéry calls serious those people who have forgotten that they were once children. But adults are children with experience.
The writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a striking example of the unity of creativity and his own life. In his works, he wrote about flights, about his work, about his friends, about the places where he flew and worked, and most importantly – about the sky. Many of his images are his friends or just acquaintances. All his years he wrote one single work – his own life.
Saint-Exupéry is one of the few novelists and philosophers whose actions were engendered by the earth. He did not only admire the people of the action, he participated in the deeds that he wrote.
The unique and mysterious author bequeathed to us: "Look for me in what I write ..." and in this reflection, an attempt was made to find a writer through his works. The writer’s voice, moral concepts, understanding of duty, sublime attitude to the cause of his life – everything in his personality was invariable.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery always felt responsible for people. And the more often he saw death face to face, the more he loved life. The more he was in the sky, the closer his land became to him, the more he wanted to see it as a peaceful, clean, happy land for people. And the richer he was with the thoughts and feelings that he could not help sharing with people. Therefore, he became a writer.
The History of One Book
For the first time, the tale was published on April 6, 1943, in New York City, a few months before the last combat flight of the writer, and over the past 68 years has been translated into more than 180 languages and dialects, including major European, Asian, African and American languages. The writer fled to America from Nazi-occupied France. The unusual fairy tale, equally well perceived by both children and adults, was relevant not only during the Second World War. Today, people, who are trying to find in "The Little Prince" answers to eternal questions about the meaning of life, the essence of love, the price of friendship, the need for death, still admire it.
"The prototype" of the literary fairy tale "The Little Prince" is a folklore fairy tale with a stray plot: the beautiful prince leaves his father's house because of unhappy love and wanders along endless roads in search of happiness and adventure. He tries to win fame and conquer the unapproachable heart of the princess.
Saint-Exupéry takes this story as a basis, but reinterprets it in his own way, even ironically.
Key Philosophical Themes
Despite the fact that the Little Prince is a child, he has a true vision of the world, inaccessible even to an adult. And people with dead souls, whom the protagonist meets on his way, are much more terrible than fairy tale monsters. The relationship between the Little Prince and Rose is much more complicated than the relationship of princes and princesses from folklore tales. It is for the sake of Rosa that the Little Prince sacrifices a material shell – he chooses a bodily death.
Romantic traditions are strong in this work. Firstly, it is the choice of a folklore genre – fairy tale. Romantics not accidentaly turn to the genres of oral folk art. Folklore is the childhood of humanity, and the theme of childhood is one of the key themes in romanticism.
German idealist philosophers advanced the thesis that people are equal to God in that they can produce an idea and realize it in reality, like God. And the evil in the world is due to the fact that people forget that they are like God. They begin to live only for the sake of the material shell, forgetting about spiritual aspirations. Only the child's soul and soul of the Artist are not subject to mercantile interests and, accordingly, evil. Therefore, the cult of childhood is traced in the work of romantics.
One of the key philosophical themes of the book is the theme of being. It is divided into real being – existence and ideal being – essence. Real being is temporary, transient, and the ideal is eternal, unchanging. The meaning of human life is to comprehend, to get as close to the essence as possible.
The Little Prince is the symbol of a person-stranger in the universe, looking for the hidden meaning of things and the own life.
This is not just a tale-parable in the traditional form, but a modernized variant adapted to the problems of our time, containing many details, hints, images taken from the realities of the 20th century.
This "children's" book for adults is full of symbols, and its symbols are beautiful, because they seem both transparent and hazy. The main advantage of a work of art is that it expresses itself, regardless of abstract concepts. The cathedral needs no comments, as the starry sky does not need annotations. We admit that "The Little Prince" is a certain embodiment of the author-child. But just as "Alice in Wonderland" was both a fairy tale for girls, and a satire on the Victorian society, the poetic melancholy of "The Little Prince" embodies a whole philosophy.
Look Not with Your Eyes, but with Your Heart
How often adults notice that their perception of the world around them is different from the child's one. It seems that with age it becomes duller, gray, ordinary, leaving no room for miracles. Fortunately, not all adults are such: our author has managed not only to keep faith in a fairy tale, but also to share his faith with many people.
The writer chose a child as the hero of his book. And this is not accidental. The writer has always been convinced that the child's vision of the world is more correct, more humane and natural. Presenting the surrounding world through the eyes of a child, the author makes us think about the fact that the world should not be exactly the same as adults do it. Something is wrong in it, and, realizing what it is, adults should try to correct it.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry did not write specifically for children. And he was not a writer by profession. However, his beautiful works, no doubt, belong to the best that was written in France in the XX century.
This book is amazing.
Reading, you like re-discover the beauty of the world and nature, the sunrises and sunsets, every flower. Its thoughts reach us, like the light of a distant star. The writer-pilot contemplates the earth from a point outside the earth. From this position, it is no longer the country, but the land is the birthplace of people – a solid, reliable place in space. The earth is the house that you leave and where you return, our planet, the land of people.
It does not look like any other fairy tale. Listening to the reasoning of the Little Prince, following his travels, you come to the conclusion that all human wisdom is concentrated on the pages of this book.
Hope, foreboding, intuition – these feelings will never be accessible to a heartless person. A blind heart is the most terrible evil that you can imagine: only a miracle or someone's sincere love will be able to restore its sight.
The Little Prince was looking for people, but it turned out that it is both bad with people and without them. And what adults do is completely incomprehensible to him. The senseless have power, but the truthful and the beautiful seem weak. All the best that a person has – tenderness, responsiveness, truthfulness, sincerity, ability to make friends makes a person weak.
But in such an upside-down world, the Little Prince faced the real truth that the Fox had revealed to him. The fact that people can be not only indifferent and alienated, but also necessary to each other, and someone can be the only one for someone in the whole world, and a person's life will be like brightened by the sun if something reminds us of the friend, and this will also be happiness.
Consistently visiting six planets, the Little Prince encounters a certain life phenomenon on each of them embodied in the inhabitants of these planets: power, vanity, drunkenness, pseudo-erudition... According to Saint-Exupéry, they embodied the most common human vices brought to the point of absurdity. It is not by chance that the hero has his first doubts about the correctness of human judgments here.
The author speaks about the friendship still on the first page of the book – in the dedication. In the author's system of values, the theme of friendship occupies one of the main places. Only friendship can melt the ice of loneliness and alienation, because it is based on mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual assistance.
The phenomenon of the tale "The Little Prince" is that written for adults, it firmly entered the circle of children's reading.
The main idea is the affirmation of the true values of human existence. The main antithesis is sensual and reasonable perception of the world. The first is typical for children and those rare adults who have not lost their child's purity and naivety. The second is the prerogative of adults who are firmly entrenched in the world of the rules they have created by themselves, often ridiculous even from the point of view of reason.
The appearance of the Little Prince on Earth symbolizes the birth of a human who comes to our world with a pure soul and a loving heart open to friendship. Return of the fairy tale hero home takes place through a real death, coming from the poison of the desert snake. The physical death of the Little Prince embodies the Christian idea of the eternal life of the soul, which can go to Heaven only leaving its bodily shell on the ground. The annual stay of the fairy-tale hero on Earth is correlated with the idea of a person's spiritual growth, learning to make friends and love, take care of others and understand them.
A little boy with golden hair is the soul of an author who has not grown up. Meeting an adult pilot with his child's "I" happens in of the most tragic moments of his life – a plane crash in the Sahara Desert. Balancing on the verge of life and death, the author learns the story of the Little Prince while repairing an airplane and does not just talk to him, but walks along to the well, and even carries his subconscious in his hands, giving it the features of a real, different from him character.
The artistic image of the Fox is an allegorical image of friendship, born out of habit, love and the desire to be necessary to someone. In the understanding of an animal, a friend is one who fills the life with meaning: destroys boredom, lets you see the beauty of the world around (comparing the golden hair of the Little Prince with wheat ears) and cry at parting. The Little Prince learns well the lesson given to him. Saying goodbye to life, he does not think about death, but about the friend.
The animal shares with the boy knowledge of the most important life bases – love and friendship. As soon as the Little Prince comprehends this knowledge, he immediately acquires mortality: he appeared on Earth traveling from planet to planet, but he can leave with it only by abandoning the physical shell.
Exupéry exposes the life devoid of meaning as common vice to all people: the king from the first asteroid rules nothing and gives only those orders that his fictitious subjects can fulfill; the ambitious does not value anyone but himself; the drunkard cannot get out of the vicious circle of shame and booze; the business man endlessly puts together the stars and finds joy not in their light, but in their value, which can be written on paper and put in a bank; the old geographer is mired in theoretical conclusions that have nothing to do with the practical science of geography.
The only reasonable person in this row of adults, from the point of view of the Little Prince, is a lantern, whose craft is useful to others and beautiful in nature. Perhaps, that is why it loses its meaning on the planet, where a day lasts one minute, and the electric lighting is already in full swing on Earth.
The tale of the boy who appeared from the stars is sustained in touching and light style. It is all permeated with sunlight, which can be found not only in the hair and yellow scarf of the Little Prince, but also in the boundless sands of the Sahara, wheat ears, orange fox and yellow snake. The latter is immediately recognized by the reader as Death, because it has more power than the finger of the king has, the ability to carry further than any ship and to solve all riddles. The snake shares with the Little Prince its secret of knowing people: when a hero complains of loneliness in the desert, it says that one is sometimes lonely among people as well.
The sad end does not cancel the life-asserting beginning of the fairy tale: the author begins to hear the stars and to see the world in a new way because of the fact that somewhere in the unknown corner of the universe, a lamb, which we have never seen, maybe has eaten a Rosa unknown to us.