grown-ups were once children...
only few of them remember it.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
I have always been confused, if
reality sprang from imagination or imagination makes reality happen. My first
brush with imagination happened when I was four and my sister narrated me the
story of the princess who wanted the moon. She had a way of telling me stories,
a way that made them seem real. Listening to her stories, I wished for the moon
Grew up amidst Roald Dahl’s twisted
ways and graduated to Tolkien’s world of fantasy and realism. But, that one
book which I always keep going back to is “Le Petit Prince” (The Little
Prince). As a kid, it was just a story that mocked the grown-ups and pleased
the children. A book that showed the real flaws of being grown-ups.
Now, when I have officially joined the
“grown-up” clan, I realize how Antoine de
holds true. I have started seeing the hats in boa constrictor
that swallowed an elephant. The point that Saint-Exupéry
tries to put forth is that—only a rare person is able to hold on to the sense
of wonderment, exuberance, of presence, of sheer enjoyment of life and its
possibilities that is so apparent in our younger selves.
This is what we call imagination. The
Little Prince is a garden of imagination, the symbol of garden in itself recurs
throughout the book. The sheep, the hat, the flower, the planet, baobabs and
the fox and the little prince himself has many layers. The simplicity of which
makes it so emphatic.
It juxtaposes a sane, experienced
grown up against a little boy who has a different vision of the world. He
raises a very disturbing yet worthy issue that the very experience that helps
us to achieve success threatens to limit our imagination.
We see each of the characters from
Prince’s point of view -- The business man represents the perfect adult because
his mind is only occupied by numbers. The self indulgent clown, the coquettish
flower, the king who represents a ridiculous man who possesses a petty need for
power and domination. He thinks he can put the stars in a bank, and the prince
is amused at his illusion.
“The Little Prince” as a character, by
far remains one of the most imaginatively inspiring composition. It flows like
a song from one planet to another. As J. M. Barrie says, “What is genius? It is
the power to be a boy again at will.” He shows us that power of youth which
forces us to think like him. The way he realizes the value of beauty, relationships,
the sheer power of “love” and longing, the joy of having someone, the pangs of
losing a friend and an inspiring journey of unraveling the long-forgotten innocence
of an adult.
By beginning his story with a
discussion of his childhood drawings, the narrator introduces the idea that
perception of an item varies from person to person. The childhood drawings then
become very important part of the narrator’s world. They are his window to
The way the little prince can
immediately see beyond first appearances and perceive the boa constrictor in
the narrator’s first drawing and a sheep hidden in a box shows how different
children are from adults. The adult perspective in Chapter I is unimaginative,
overly pragmatic, and dull, while the childish perspective is creative, full of
wonder, and open to the mysterious beauty of the universe. The novel suggests
that both adulthood and childhood are nothing but states of mind.
It is up to us, therefore, to make the
book come to life, to see through it. The Little Prince lives on his planet all
by himself, has three volcanoes, a flower and says he can watch the sunset
forty-four times in a day. A very different
life than what the narrator is accustomed to.
It is up to us if we think of his world as a dystopian space or a
is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
He challenges are sensibility and places it
against sensitivity of the Little Prince. How he feels for a rose, the plants
and the planet.
The little prince consoles him by
telling him to look up at the stars at night: “you’ll have stars like nobody
else.” The little prince puts his laugh
into the stars to make the pilot feel his presence whenever he looks at them.
The pilot can hear the stars after that like “five-hundred million little
The stars represent what is eternal
and lasts beyond death. He questions our sense of the possible and impossible. The
frontiers of imagination get a new meaning and direction when you look at Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little
To put it in his words “It is
only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to