The Little Prince was a novella written in April of 1943 by the author Antoine de De Saint-Expuéry, a French aristocrat. He was known for his writing, poetry, journalism, and aviation. The book follows the narrator as he is stranded in the desert.
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This probably ties back to De Saint-Expuéry’s past of being a pilot, as he is stranded in the desert from a plane crash. While stranded in the desert, he encounters the Little Prince from Asteroid 325. The Little Prince is on the earth trying to discover new places after facing heartbreak. The two spend time together, discovering a new world. However, when the narrator finally fixes his plane to make his return home, the Little Prince says he cannot go with him and it is possible that he was poisoned to death by a snake.
Though, his body was never found so the narrator finds comfort in the fact that he may have made it home to his asteroid. Throughout the novel, one of the consistent themes is how dangerous it is to be narrow minded. While our views and ideas are definitely shaped and affected by those around us and those who are important to us, we must not only let that get to us. Being narrow minded makes us close our eyes to things that may be important. Life isn’t just about what we learn through school and lessons taught to us. Life is about what we learn through experience. One view of the world I have is that one’s life is normally dictated on what their parents think of them. What our parents have to say about us shapes who we are as people. After all, our parents are who raise us. Therefore, we do not want to disappoint them by what we decide to do with our lives. In the beginning two chapters, the narrator struggles with drawing. However, instead of focusing on his drawing, his parents tell him that they think it is a better idea to use his time more wisely. “The grown-ups’ response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic and grammar” (De Saint-Expuéry, 5). This becomes a problem in the second chapter when the Little Prince wants him to draw a sheep and he has trouble with it. The text agrees with me on this view.
It is very clear that the narrator’s life prior to meeting the Little Prince was so shaped around what his parents and what other grown ups wanted for him. For example, when describing where the Little Prince comes from, the narrator said “If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!” (De Saint-Expuéry 14). His thoughts and his mindset show us that he knows exactly what grownups want to here. He is a people pleaser, and he knows how the adults around him think. The narrator also said “But if you said to them: “The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612,” then they would be convinced, and leave you in peace from their questions” (De Saint-Expuéry 14). I think that we should be allowed to determine our own lives for ourselves. So many people I know, especially people I went to high school with, are going into fields that their parents want them to. While it is definitely important to give back to our parents and our families, I think someone’s career path and life path should be their own choices. I do not think my view changed on parents and adults shaping our lives. However, I thought the text strengthened my opinion.
At the beginning, we learn that the narrator was very keen on his drawing. “And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One” (De Saint-Expuéry 4). Throughout the novel, he continues to draw, even though that wasn’t what his parents wanted him to be doing. After all, it is presumed that it is the narrator who is illustrating the novel. “Here at last is a man who has a real profession!” And he cast a look around him at the planet of the geographer. It was the most magnificent and stately planet that he had ever seen” (De Saint-Expuéry 47). The narrator’s drawings are an important part to the story. And showing that he is continuing to draw proves my point that we should not just do what our parents tell us to do. We are allowed to have our own passions, and we are allowed to practice those passions. The last page of the novel even showcases one of his many drawings. “This is, to me, the loveliest and saddest landscape in the world. It is the same as that on the preceding page, but I have drawn it again to impress it on your memory” (De Saint-Expuéry 89). I believe that The Little Prince communicated with me. I felt that it was a story of growth, for both the narrator and the Little Prince. The narrator learned that he should not be narrow-minded. And, the Little Prince learned about moving on from what has happened in the past and that we cannot change the past. I believe that I still can improve on learning about people around me as well as my own world views. I need to learn that what other people believe does not always have to affect me directly, and that I am allowed to have my own opinions.
The text addresses one of my main interests, art. The narrator is pushed on a path that is chosen for him. He becomes a pilot because it requires more scientific and philosophical thought than just drawing does. However, to me — and I believe to the narrator as well — it is so much more than just drawing pictures. Drawing, and art in general, showcases our thought process visually instead of verbally. Unlike the grownups in the narrator’s life, my family was quite supportive in my decision and my journey so far of studying graphic design. In the case of ethnicity, class, and faith, I do not believe that the text is addressed to those matters. Rather it is just something for anyone to read and take in. It doesn’t pertain to one specific group of people. I believe that The Little Prince passes the “who cares” test. The novel really allows the reader to think and reflect on their own lives and their own opinions. While the characters are clearly laid out and showed to us, that does not mean we can not reflect on our own experiences. Therefore, the reader is not questioning the character’s motives. Rather, the reader can both enjoy the novel and reflect. I really enjoy the way the novel was formatted. I think the illustrations made it so much more interesting.
As an aspiring artist, illustrated novels really fascinate me. I also am fascinated with illustrated, or graphic, novels that are not just intended for children. I think the added illustrations really helped show what De Saint-Expuéry’s thought process. We saw exactly what he saw because he showed it to us. It was not like a book where we did not know what the author saw in their mind. While I really enjoyed the illustrations, I also disliked them at some parts. I understand why they were done. For example, underneath the quote, “And the little prince, completely abashed, went to look for a sprinkling-can of fresh water. So, he tended the flower” (De Saint-Expuéry 26), is a picture of the Little Prince watering the Rose. The imagery shows us how much the Prince cared for the Rose. However, giving us the imagery makes it difficult for the reader to use their imagination. As a graphic design major, we were required to take a course about storytelling. When we give the reader specific imagery, it is hard for them to insert themselves into the story. This is exactly what De Saint-Expuéry did for us. We know what everything looks like, except for the narrator. So we can still insert ourselves as the narrator, but everything else is laid out for us. The Prince is given, the Snake is given, the Rose is given, the whole story is laid out for us, both through words and through the images. That is the only fault I had with The Little Prince, however. I really enjoyed every other element of it, and am really glad that I had the opportunity to finally read it.
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