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TitleAn Analysis of the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
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Alyssa Grace A. Layug
Professor Rosales
ENGL 3173
January 23, 2013

An Analysis of the Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince or Le Petit Prince was inspired by the author Antoine de
Saint Exupery’s real life experience and just added fictionalized images to make
it real and understandable. It became the marvelous book written for children.
Sold over 140,000,000 copies worldwide into more than 250 languages and has
been one of the best-selling books published ever. According to Paris-based
Saint-Exupery Foundation, "The Little Prince" is the most translated book in
history after The Bible. It also known as “children’s fable for adult” as it conveys
profound and idealistic views in human nature and its settings. Until now, The
Little Prince is still the most advisable book not only for the children but also to
the adults to read.



Antoine de Saint Exupery was a French aviator and writer who became
more popular with this novella, which was written in year 1943. After failing in a
university preparatory school and was not able to pursue his real dream to
become a naval officer. He entered into a different field which is architecture but
still resulted in failures and he did not even graduated. In 1921, he started his
military service and was sent to Strasbourg for training as a pilot. In 1926 he
became one of the pioneers of international postal flight. Until an accident
happened in 1935 wherein a sudden machine failure strike and crashed it in the
Libyah Sahara desert. In four days of experiencing dehydration, there was a
Bedouin on a camel discovered them and saved their lives.

The book begins with the narrator, which is the Pilot reminiscing the days
when he was a six year old boy. He was trying to draw a boa constrictor and
shows it to the grown-ups, but they always advise that he should stop dreaming
to become an artist instead he should focus in geography, grammar, arithmetic
and history. So he gave up his dream to become an artist and choose another
profession which is to pilot airplanes. And whenever he met someone, he always
showed his drawings of boa constrictor and asked them if they know it. But he
always gets an answer of “That’s a hat”. Then he would never talk to that person
about boa constrictor again. Until a plane crash accident happened in Sahara
Desert and he met the little prince that asking him to draw a sheep. After three
attempts and failed to draw a sheep, he decided to draw a box instead and
explained that the sheep were inside of it. That was the start of their friendship.

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http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbolic

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attitudes of grown-ups are in. Thirdly, the rose symbolizes as the comfort zone. If
you won’t get out of it, you won’t discover or know a lot of important things.
Fourthly, the trains which can be found in Chapter 22, it symbolizes the things
how people rushed things and wasn’t able to see the importance of its existence.
Lastly, the water symbolizes a spiritual fulfillment or as a completion for what
supposed to be done.

The point of view in the poem is a first person, which is the pilot. But
mostly focuses in narrating the story up to the end.

Still the question is, who is this book really written for? Yes, it has been
said that this is good for both children and adults. But there are some ideologies
might not be understandable for the children, just like the bizarre story of a little
prince that fell in love with his flower. And for the adults wherein their negative
perspective has been criticize. Is that what really the book for? A blogger named
Erin (2008) of Goodreads said that “We are all children in adults bodies. Yes we
are, don't think we aren't for one moment. The fact that we WERE, indeed,
children, is a huge part of each of us. It is possible to shed a few appreciative
tears on every page of this book if you entertain the thought that the pilot IS The
Little Prince. Maybe you won't think that--maybe you'll have your own take on the
book---that's the magic about it…Consider honoring the Little You that still
remains, and resides within you, and read this 'salute' to childhood, to innocence,
and to you. It just takes a 'Little' imagination and bravery.”

This book is made to tickle the imagination of the children as well as to
show sort of the reality about grown-ups. Every story has its own moral lesson. In
this story, children can have their own realization on reading it. Adults can also
have their own insights about themselves.

It’s good for the children to read because of its illustration, based on an
open source site Wikipedia, The Little Prince was illustrated through watercolors
painted personally by Exupery. Another unknown reviewer noted that the author
"Exupery chose the best illustrations... to maintain the ethereal tone he wanted
his story to exude. Choosing between ambiguity and literal text and illustrations,
Saint-Exupéry chose in every case to obfuscate." Also, good for the young adults
because of its humorous attack in portraying values.

The mood is first a mystery, wherein the little prince did not reveal where
he comes from. It captures the imagination of the readers. Until pieces by pieces

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it became adventure when the little prince started to tell the story of his journey in
seven planets including the Earth.

The tone of the story is much more with being regretful when the little
prince left his flower alone in his planet. Curiosity in the part of the narrator; about
his real identity and where did he came from. Happiness and sadness all
throughout the days were the narrator and the little prince were together in the
desert. But at the end, still being able to treasure the moments they have
together makes each characters happy.

Philosophical approach is used because it mostly focuses in dealing with
the undesirable values of grown-ups. Then a part of it is Biographical because
some scenes are almost similar with the experience of the author. Example of
this is the narrator’s boa constrictor drawing but grown-ups were always telling
him that it’s a hat. For the author, this scene may be similar when he failed to
enter in the preparatory university school and wasn’t able to pursue his dreams.
Instead he ended up for being an aviator. There is also a part of Introspective
approach as cited in by Wahlig (2010), it’s a reader-response approach, where
the reader takes an active role in garnering meaning or value from a text. The
reader is responsible for taking an inventory of her own biases, values or
assumptions prior to reading and pinpointing the ways that a text challenges or
reinforces those traits. Introspective approaches also value the subjectivity of the
reader's experience and assume that an objective reading is either impossible or
no more valuable than a subjective reading. It occurs when it simply engage the
readers if through their own experiences in dealing with the attitude of grown-ups
and will make a self realization if the book’s telling the truth towards their
attitudes.



As the mostly recommended book for children, the writer executed a
different type of writing or illustrating the story. Exupery stated on page 19,
chapter 4 of the Little Prince:

“Figures are a matter of indifference. I should
have liked to begin this story in the fashion of the
fairy-tales. I should have like to say “Once upon a
time there was a little prince who lived on a planet
that was scarcely any bigger than himself, and who
had need of a sheep…” “to those who understand life,
that would have given a much greater air of truth to
my story.”

The way he uniquely narrate the story is one factor why this became
remarkable not only to the children but also to the French literature.

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This book is full of symbols and meanings, but what are the moral
lessons?

Valuing life as well as the little things on it is the highlight of this story.
Everything we say or show to others will reflect to everyone’s who’s involved until
the end. Just like what happened to the narrator of the story, he wanted to be an
artist and also tried to show his drawings numbers one and two to the grown-ups
of a boa constrictor. But he always gets a wrong interpretation and insisting him
not to pursue his dream of being an artist instead focus on grammar, arithmetic,
geography and history. The negative side of it reflected when he became a pilot,
and someone asked him to draw a sheep. He did not know how to draw anything
aside from boa constrictor since he stopped to draw when he failed about his boa
constrictor. Also in reality, the way how people look more in to the physical
appearance than to the inner side. Like on Chapter 4, where there was a Turkish
astronomer in 1909 in a Turkish costume. Nobody believed on what he said
about asteroid B-612 because of his look. And when he tried to present it again in
European costume, everybody accepted his report.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to eye.”

Grown-ups are indeed so much like that, for them figures are more
important than its meaning. The interpretation or understanding of the story will
always depend on how it will touch one’s heart.

References:

 Adamson, Thomas Little Prince' discovery offers new insight into classic
book, The Times Tribune May 2012

 De Saint- Exupery, Antoine, The Little Prince, B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd. ©
 Goodreads, The Little Prince

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/157993.The_Little_Prince
 Wahlig, Hannah, Types of Approaches in Literary Analysis,

http://www.ehow.com/info_8368198_types-approaches-literary-
analysis.html

Wikipedia, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_De_Saint_Exupery

 Wikipedia, The Little Prince

http://www.ehow.com/info_8368198_types-approaches-literary-analysis.html
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