THE LITTLE PRINCE, A NOVELLA BY ANTOINE DE SAINT- EXUPERY (BOOK REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION)

 In this post, I shall review The Little Prince ( Le Petit Prince), a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  Published in 1943, The Little Prince became Antoine's most successful and best known work. In many ways, The Little Prince is a labour of love. 

This world renown novella is what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a  French aristocrat, writer, and military pilot is best known for. Antoine had quite an interesting and eventful life! The Little Prince contains some autobiographical elements. It might be what adds that special something to it. The writer included both his personal experience and meditations in it. Moreover, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry laboured hard over this little novella, aiming for and reaching literary perfection.

 Supposedly, the author would cross out whole pages of The Little Prince to leave just one sentence, resulting in a poignant and poetic prose this novella is known for. Moreover, The Little Prince was not only written but also illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The illustrations and the text come together to tell a beautiful and touching story of a stranded pilot who meets a magical young boy and learns important lessons from him. The contrast between the realist pilot and a fantastical being highlights some of the important lessons this novella teaches: What is truly important can be only seen with the heart. This novella teaches us how important our inner world is.


The novella opens with narrator that is based on the author. The narrator is a pilot stranded in desert. This was based on the writer's actual experience. In the desert, the narrator meets the little prince. Once he is introduced, the novella focuses on this young prince who came 'from the stars' to tell of his visits to various planets, ending with him visiting our own planet Earth and meeting the narrator.  As the narration progresses, we learn that the prince's home planet was quite small but that he had a special rose there.  The Little Prince  is much more serious than it seems at first. In fact, there are many lessons one can learn from this novella.

- What should be done ? Said the little prince. “You must be very patient,” replied the fox. You will sit first a little far from me, like that, in the grass. I will look at you from the corner of your eye and you will not say anything. Language is a source of misunderstanding. But every day you can sit a little closer … “ The next day the little prince returned.

This books speaks about examines important topics of love, loss, responsibility and freedom.  

TO WHOM WAS THE LITTLE PRINCE, A NOVELLA  BY ANTOINE DE SAINT- EXUPERY DEDICATED?

This novella was dedicated to Leon Werth. The author first apologizes for devoting a novella to a grown up but then stresses that it was dedicated to Leon Werth as a boy. 

To Leon Werth I apologize to the children for dedicating this book to a grown-up. I have a good excuse: this grown-up is the best friend I have in the world. I have another good excuse: this grown-up can understand everything, even children’s books. I have a third good excuse: this grown-up lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs to be comforted. If all these excuses are not enough, I will then dedicate this book to the child who became that grown-up. All grown-ups were first children. (But few of them remember it.) So I correct my dedication: To Leon Werth when he was a little boy.


Antoine writes from the perspective of a young boy. This is relevant because this is a book aimed at both children and adults. The foreshadowing is very successful. Antoine makes the reader feel a part of his story. The other uses humour and simple truths to capture the reader's attention. The first chapter opens with the author as a six year old boy. 



When I was six years old, I once saw a magnificent picture in a book on the virgin forest called Stories of Life. It was a boa constrictor that had swallowed a wild beast. Here is a copy of the drawing.

Here the author inserts his illustration. The illustrations play a role in this novella, they are a part of the story really. They make the book more playful and visually interested.

 It was written in the book, Boa constrictors swallow their whole prey without chewing. Then they can not move and they sleep during the six months of their digestion. I then thought a lot about the adventures of the jungle and, in turn, succeeded, with a colored pencil, in drawing my very first drawing. It was like this:


The illustration is not understood by adults. I loved how the writer stressed the difference between child and adult views. The way Antoine explains that adults always need more explanation was funny as well. The writer is able to see the world from a perspective of a child. 


 I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups and asked them if my drawing frightened them. They said, Why would a hat be scary? My drawing was not of a hat. It was a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. I then drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could understand. They always required more explanation. 

The contrast between the rationalism of adults and the imagination of a child doesn't stop there. It is implied that it was this youthful criticism that made the narrator opt for a less artistic career. Instead of an artist, he became a pilot.




The grown-ups advised me to leave aside the drawings of boa constrictors from the outside or the inside, and to interest myself instead in geography, history, calculation, and grammar. Thus, at the age of six, I abandoned a magnificent career as a painter. I had been discouraged by the failure of my first drawing and my second drawing. Grown-ups never understand anything on their own, and it is tiring for children to always have to give them explanations. So I had to choose another profession. I learned to fly planes. I flew all over the world. And geography, that’s right, served me well. I knew how to recognize, at first glance, China, or Arizona. It is useful if you have gone astray during the night. 

What makes the first chapter so approachable to both children and adults is its gentle humor. The author is criticizing adults but in a playful way. It is as if he wants to remind them they were once children too. The narrator himself is obviously an adult, but in the first chapter he assures the young reader that he is on his side, that he remembers what it is like to be an child. At the same time, he reintroduces the wonder of childhood to the adult reader, he reminds the adults of the importance of imagination. 

I have had, in the course of my life, a lot of contact with many serious people. I have lived among the grown-ups. I saw them up close. It did not really improve my opinion of them. When I met one that seemed to me a little lucid, I had them experience my drawing number 1, which I had preserved. I wanted to know if they could come to a real understanding. But they always replied: It’s a hat. After that I spoke to them neither of boa constrictors, nor of virgin forests, nor of stars. I put myself within their reach. I talked about bridge, golf, politics, and ties. And the grown-ups were glad to know such a reasonable man.

What can be conclude about the narrator at the end of the first chapter? That he is a sensible man, an educated and rational pilot but also at heart- he's still a child.  He testes adults by showing them his old drawing. His inner child still lives!


The second chapter opens up with a somber tone. The narrator informed us of his loneliness. This adult who is lonely even if he is among people, lonely because nobody understands his child's drawing, find himself isolated in literal and not only metaphorical sense. Our narrator has crashed in Sahara desert and it's a matter of life and death: 

So I lived alone, with no one to talk to, until a breakdown in the Sahara desert six years ago. Something had broken in my engine. And since I had neither a mechanic nor a passenger with me, I prepared to try, by myself, to make a difficult reprieve. It was a matter of life and death. I had hardly any water to drink for a week.



Once our narrator meets the little prince, the serious tone is met with a poetical one: 

The first night I fell asleep on the sand a thousand miles from any inhabited land. I was much more isolated than a castaway on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Then you imagine my surprise, at dawn, when a funny little voice woke me up. He said: ” Please draw me a sheep ! - Hein! - Draw me a sheep… “ I jumped on my feet as if I had been struck by lightning. I rubbed my eyes well. I watched. And I saw a very extraordinary little man who looked at me gravely. This is the best portrait I later managed to make of him.

The narrator draws the little prince for the reader to see. The illustrations shows a young boy in a lavish costume. A friendship is immediately established, it seems. The narrator doesn't really question the reality of the little prince. He is there, so obviously he exists. Life is a reality to be experienced and lived, not a riddle to be solved, one could say. Still, the narrator is curious about the little prince.


When the author (narrator of the story) complains that he is unable to do the little prince justice, you have this feeling that he genuinely feels it. Why isn't he able to draw a prince the way he should be drawn? Is it because he lacks artistic skill? Is is about him being discouraged from making art. The following passage made me think of Picasso when he said that all children are artists, but the challenge is being an artist as an adult. 

"But my drawing, of course, is much less ravishing than the model. It is not my fault. I had been discouraged in my career as a painter by the grown-ups at the age of six, and I had learned nothing to draw, except closed boas and open boas. "

The narrator is almost mesmerized by the little prince. 

I looked at this apparition with eyes full of astonishment. Do not forget that I was a thousand miles from any inhabited region. Now my little fellow seemed to me neither astray, nor dead of fatigue, nor dead of hunger, nor death of thirst, nor dead of fear. He had not the appearance of a child lost in the middle of the desert, a thousand miles from any inhabited region. When I finally succeeded in speaking, I said to him: ” What are you doing here ? “ And he repeated to me, very gently, as a very serious thing: ” Please draw me a sheep… “ When the mystery is too impressive, we do not dare to disobey. As absurd as it seemed to me a thousand miles from all inhabited places and in danger of death, I took out of my pocket a sheet of paper and a pen. But I remembered that I had studied geography, history, calculation and grammar, and I told the little fellow (with a little bad humor) that I did not know how to draw. He replied, ” It does not matter. Draw me a sheep. “ As I had never drawn a sheep, I thought of him as one of the only two drawings of which I was capable. That of the boa closed. And I was astounded to hear the little fellow reply: ” No ! No ! I do not want an elephant in a boa. A boa is very dangerous, and an elephant is very cumbersome. My place is tight. I need a sheep. Draw me a sheep.”




The little prince upon some protests gets a satisfying drawing from the narrator. As readers, this reveals little prince as a being with imagination. The little prince has the innocence of a child. 

In the third chapter, we learn more about the little prince but we are left hungry for more.The way this novella is written, it really draws the reader into the story.

It took me a long time to understand where he came from. The little prince, who asked me many questions, never seemed to hear mine. These are words spoken by chance that, little by little, have revealed all to me. 

So when he saw my plane for the first time (I will not draw my plane, it is a drawing too complicated for me) he asked me: “What is that thing?” 
- It’s not a thing. It flies. It’s a plane. This is my plane. “ And I was proud to tell him I was flying.
Then he exclaimed: “How! You have fallen from heaven! 
- Yes, I said modestly. 
“Ah! Now that’s funny… “ And the little prince had a very pretty burst of laughter, which irritated me very much. I wish to take my misfortunes seriously. 

The little prince doesn't take the narrator's misfortunes seriously. Maybe because to the little princes what is visible and rational is less important than what is non visible and felt rather than seen. The little prince is, in many ways, quite innocent. He doesn't know a lot about our world. In other ways, the little prince is quite wise. 


Then he added: “Then you too come from heaven!”
 What planet are you from? I caught a glimpse in the mystery of his presence, and I suddenly questioned: “So you’re from another planet?” But he did not answer me. 
He nodded softly as he looked at my plane: “It’s true that you can not come very far from it.” And he sank into a reverie that lasted for a long time. Then, taking my sheep out of his pocket, he plunged into the contemplation of his treasure. You can imagine how intrigued I was by this half-confidence about “the other planets.” I therefore endeavored to learn more: “Where do you come from, my little fellow?” Where is “at home”? Where do you want to take my sheep? 
He replied after a meditative silence: “What is good, with the box you gave me, is that, at night, it will serve him as a house."
...








“If someone loves a flower that only exists in one million and millions of stars, that’s enough for him to be happy when he looks at them. He said to himself: “My flower is there somewhere …” But if the sheep eats the flower, it is for him as if, suddenly, all the stars were extinguished! And that’s not important! “




THE STORY OF THE FLOWER AND THE LITTLE PRINCE

One of the most touching parts was the relationship between the prince and his flower. The narrator hears about it from the little prince himself. The little prince cares about the flower but he doesn't know how to show it. 

I soon learned more about this flower. There had always been very simple flowers on the planet of the little prince, adorned with a single row of petals, and which held no room, and which did not disturb any one. They appeared one morning in the grass, and then they were extinguished in the evening. But that one had germinated one day, of a seed brought from somewhere, and the little prince had watched very closely that twig that did not resemble the other twigs. It could be a new kind of baobab. But the shrub soon ceased to grow, and began to prepare a flower. The little prince, who was watching the installation of an enormous button, felt that a miraculous apparition would emerge, but the flower did not finish preparing to be beautiful, sheltered from his green room . She carefully chose her colors. She dressed slowly, she adjusted her petals one by one. She did not want to get out of it all like the poppies. She wanted to appear only in the full radiance of her beauty. Hey! Yes. She was very coquette! His mysterious dress had lasted days and days. And then one morning, just at sunrise, she had shown herself.

And she, who had worked so precisely, said in yawning: “Ah! I’m just waking up … I beg your pardon … I’m still disheveled … “ 
The little prince, then, could not contain his admiration: ” How beautiful you are ! 
“Is not that right,” the flower replied softly. And I was born at the same time as the sun … “ 
The little prince guessed that she was not too modest, but she was so moving! 
“It’s time, I think, for breakfast,” she would soon add, “would you have the kindness to think of me?” And the little prince, quite confused, having sought a watering-can of fresh water, had served the flower. So had she quickly tormented him by his somewhat shady vanity.
 One day, for example, speaking of her four thorns, she had said to the little prince: “They can come, the tigers, with their claws! “
There are no tigers on my planet,” objected the little prince, “and then the tigers do not eat grass.” 
- I am not a grass, had gently replied the flower. - Excuse me… “I have no fear of tigers, but I hate currents of air.” You would not have a screen? “
 “Horror of drafts … it is not luck, for a plant, had noticed the little prince. This flower is very complicated … » “In the evening you will put me under a globe. It’s very cold at home. It’s badly installed. Where I come from… “ But she had interrupted herself. It had come in the form of a seed. She had not known anything about other worlds. Humiliated at having allowed herself to be surprised at preparing such a naive lie, she coughed two or three times to put the little prince into his wrong: “This screen?” … - I was going to get him but you were talking to me! “ Then she had forced her cough to inflict remorse. 
Thus the little prince, notwithstanding the goodwill of his love, soon doubted her. He had taken unimportant words seriously, and had become very unhappy. “
I should not have listened to him,” he confided to me one day, “you must never listen to flowers. You have to look at them and breathe them. Mine embalmed my planet, but I could not rejoice. This story of claws, which had so annoyed me, should have tempted me … “ He again confided to me: “I did not understand anything! I should have judged her on the acts and not the words. She embarrassed me and enlightened me. I should never have fled! I should have guessed his tenderness behind his poor tricks. The flowers are so contradictory! But I was too young to know how to love him. “


THE LITTLE PRINCE MEETS A SERPENT

I also quite enjoyed reading about the little prince meeting with  serpent. 

“Good night,” said the little prince, at all hazards.
 “Good night,” said the serpent. 
- On what planet have I fallen? Asked the little prince.
 “On the Earth, in Africa,” replied the serpent. 
“Ah! … So there is nobody on Earth? 
“Here is the desert.” There is no one in the deserts. The Earth is great, “says the serpent. 
The little prince sat down on a stone and raised his eyes to the sky: “I wonder,” he said, “if the stars are illuminated so that everyone can one day find his own. Look at my planet. She’s just above us … But how far she is!
 “She is beautiful,” said the serpent. What are you doing here ? 
“I have difficulties with a flower,” said the little prince. 
“Ah! The serpent said. And they were silent. 



BUT THE SERPENT DOESN'T HARM THE LITTLE PRINCE


“But I am more powerful than the finger of a king,” said the serpent. 
The little prince smiled: “You’re not very powerful … you do not even have paws … you can not even travel … 
“I can carry you farther than a ship,” said the serpent. He wrapped himself around the ankle of the little prince, like a gold bracelet: “The one I touch, I return to the earth from which he came out,” he said again. But you are pure and you come from a star … “ 
The little prince answered nothing. “You pity me, you so weak, on this Granite Earth. I can help you someday if you regret too much your planet. I can… "
"- Oh ! I understood very well, “said the little prince,” but why do you always speak in riddles?
 “I will resolve them all,” said the serpent. 
And they fell silent.

The serpent offers him an easy way out (death), but the little prince is not interested. 



THE LITTLE PRINCE, A NOVELLA BY ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY 5/5

Beautifully written, The Little Prince is an allegorical story that reads like a dreamy fairy-tale. This legendary tale of a pilot who meets and befriends a wonderful boy named 'Little Prince' in the desert, deserves its iconic status. Poignant with meaning and life lessons, it is a short read but a memorable one. 

I would recommend it to both children and adults. I first read it as an adult myself. I started reading it as a kid, but didn't manage to finish it. I kind of wish I had read it as a child, but maybe it is better this way for I think we all need to be reminded of the child within and not only for sentimental seasons. 

When you reread books that moved you as a kid, there is always that element of remembering what being a kid feels like. What is precious about this book is that even if you haven't read this book as a child yourself, you feel like you have, because it really evokes that child like innocence. Moreover, there is truly something timeless about this story. I actually bought a copy recently (with the original illustrations that I simply adore!) and gifted it to two children (a brother and a sister). May it serve them well! I have also listened to an audio-version of The Little Prince in Italian and it was wonderful. You can easily find and read this novella online. It has been translated to many language. Highly recommended! The success this dreamy lyrical novella has enjoyed is much deserved!


“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”


How are you doing? These photographs were taken about two weeks ago. I'm shopping my closet again. You can see me wearing this yellow mustard turtleneck hereherehere.and here, this vintage cord blazer here and his gypsy skirt  herehere and here Balancing on a pole in doc martens boots wasn't easy but I managed it. 

Comments

  1. Lindo atuendo. Es un bello look. Te mando un beso.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the little Prince so much. Great Review Ivana. Beautiful Outfit, it suits you very well. Happy Weekend

    ReplyDelete
  3. Boa tarde de Sábado, obrigado pela visita e comentário. Ivana livro maravilhoso e que faz parte da nossa história de vida.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You did a really good article about this book. I readed It when I was a child, in the college, because we needed to do a work about It. I remember It was very curious.

    Nice photographs illustrating the article. These woods and lands are remarcable.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello!
    That book is one of my all-time favourites, I read it as a child in French lessons! And recently I read it again to remember its beautiful message and I also made a blog post, not with the literary quality of your post, I emphasised more the visual topic accompanied with small snippets of text, the parts I like the most, a bit like you did! I think we should all read this book, maybe there would be less conflict in the world! The photos are very beautiful and your look goes very well with the autumn landscape in the photos!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for reminding me of this wonderful book that brought me back to my childhood! You described it fantastically :) By the way, your pictures are amazing, as always

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love both your hair and outfit in this post, Ivana, you look like a cool festival girl!
    I've never read The Little Prince but - by bizarre coincidence - there's a quote from it in the book I'm currently reading, Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris - Arthur J. Magida! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  8. this book in an epic story :) i adore your look!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, it is a great reminder and such a classic. It truly is a book that inspires many of us. Love your review and your Autumn look too. Really, it is a book that always makes a great gift...that is if you can part with it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Certainly, a great time to review this book. Excellent to read again and again! It does have so much enlightenment! Thanks so much! Awesome photos too! Thank you so much for your comments! Thanks for being here! Wishing you the best this December!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Es un hermoso libro 📖💗

    Un beso desde Plegarias en la Noche

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have read The Little Prince during as part of my French course at school, absolutely ages ago.
    It is definitely a true classic!
    As for your outfit, it is absolutely fabulous! I'm loving these Autumnal colours on you! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  13. I realise that I have never read the Little Prince and what I thought it was about is completely false!!! I now feel compelled to read it after your post. I thank you for enlightening me! Your autumnal outfit is also really pleasing as is your folkloric hairstyle- I really like both. I salute you for managing to balance on the pole!x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for writing such an excellent essay about this book.

    My most recent post may be found at https://www.melodyjacob.com/2023/11/sometimes-you-have-to-accept-that-you-are-the-problem.html. I would like to extend an invitation to you to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is one of the most beautiful. wise books that have ever been written - I love this book . I read them many times and I like to back to them cause it is unusual. Thank you for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anche se so che a molti piace moltissimo questo romanzo e che andrò un pò contro corrente, ma a me, in verità, non ha colpito particolarmente...
    Forse perchè l'ho letto che ero già teenager e quindi molte cose mi sono sembrate abbastanza scontate, o forse perchè non mi è particolarmente simpatico il protagonista, non so: l'ho anche riletto successivamente, ma niente la mia impressione rimane quelia!
    Interessantissima la tua recensione comunque, e bellissime foto!
    baci!
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is one of my favorite books ever and your insightful review really explains the beauty of it. Lovely outfit! I'm all about shopping my own closet lately as well.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh wow what an in depth commentary on The Little Prince. And love how you incorporated the illustration into your photos. Great look you have on here and loved the area/woods where you took the photos.

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. OMG I love The Little Prince! ♥
    I loved the photo montages and the place :)

    https://www.heyimwiththeband.com.br/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Who does not know this wonderful story? I´ve read it many years ago. And you get in contact with it every now and than. I like this story very much. And I like your beautiful fotos with your nice outfit. Thanks for visiting my blog.
    All the best
    Violetta

    ReplyDelete
  21. Un'adorabile novella e questi scatti tra la natura sono meravigliosi, come il tuo look!
    Kisses, Paola.

    Expressyourself


    My Instagram

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

Popular posts from this blog

STEPPENWOLF, A NOVEL BY HERMANN HESSE (BOOK REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION)

NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND, A NOVEL BY HERMANN HESSE (BOOK REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION)

DIY PROJECT: SEWING A LACE TABLECLOTH ONTO A SKIRT

SIDDHARTHA BY HERMANN HESSE (BOOK REVIEW) + HUTOVO BLATO (TRAVEL POST)

Warm Autumn/ Topla jesen

Nature park Hutovo blato (part 1) / Park prirode Hutovo blato (prvi dio)

Outfit of the day/ Današnje ruho

MIRKO KOVAČ, GRAD U ZRCALU: OBITELJSKI NOKTURNO (BOOK REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION)

Ljubuški ( part one/ prvi dio)