Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Little Prince: A trip to childhood

By Tiffany Young
Do you ever feel like you've lost something from your childhood? Perhaps it was innocence or great ideas or your creativity, but there's something that was there now just beyond your grasp in adulthood.

Enter "The Little Prince" by Antione de Saint-Exupéry. This book, presumably for youth, speaks it's greatest truths toward adults.

The story begins by telling how a man who is trapped in the dessert with his wrecked airplane had enjoyed drawing as a child, but was told by adults to stick with something that would make him money. Decades later he is trying to fix his plane when he gets a visitor—a prince—who has been traveling from his own small planet to other planets, finally landing on earth.

Each planet describes a different sort of adult.
The first is the king, who represents those who want to rule over people.
The second man is a conceited man, who represents those who need continuous praise and validation.
The third is a drunk, representing those who have bad habits and wallow in them.
The fourth counted the stars and represents those who do nothing of consequence and thinks it's very important.
The fifth stands for rule-followers who can't think for themselves, but do the same thing every day because that is what they are supposed to do.
The sixth is a geographer, who represents those who want to live an adventurous life, but live vicariously through others.
And the seventh is Earth, where the pilot is so busy trying to survive, he almost misses the relationship with the prince.

While I'm not sure if the author is religious at all, there's a lot of symbolism that makes me think he at least has a knowledge of religion.

It's interesting there are seven different men represented, just as there are seven deadly sins.
There are good seeds and bad seeds and the bad seeds must be destroyed early on so the planet is not overtaken, which correlates with the idea of cultivating good seeds in Jesus' parables.

At the end, the prince dies, so he can go back to his rose, whom he is in charge of. It seems that his death could symbolize the death and resurrection of Christ and his returning to God. His death is by a snake, which makes me think of the Garden of Eden.

And these are just a few of the religious symbols I noticed while I was reading.

Whether you're religious or not, there is plenty to learn in this whimsical and heartfelt book about relationships, cultivating creativity and remembering life from a child's perspective.

The drawings by the author illustrate the story nicely and made me think the story paralleled the author's, who was in fact, a pilot.