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Life according to The Little Prince

Life according to The Little Prince

Life according to The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry published The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) in 1943 but its impact remains today. Through the help of various adaptations and translations, Saint-Exupéry’s words preserved their grasp from generation to generation. Personally, this novella has got me through some tough times so here are life lessons according to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.

The Little Prince taught me that relationships make our lives meaningful.

In the novella, the Little Prince met a fox he wanted to play with. The fox, however, told him to be wary because he wasn’t tamed. This scene quickly led to a sort-of crash course of how relationships and boundaries work. The prince asked for the definition of “tamed” and the fox kindly replied,

‘Well, it’s something too often forgotten,’ said the fox. ‘I suppose it means: to make some kind of relationship.’

The fox explained that before he plays with the prince, they needed to form a relationship first, a bond. Moreover, the fox elaborated that they need to bond first because, at the moment, they do not need each other. He also added:

To you, I am a fox like any other, like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, you and I, we will have created a relationship, and so we will need one another. You will be unique in the world for me. . . If you were to tame me, my whole life would be so much more fun

I encountered this novella eight years ago and it definitely shaped my view on forming relationships. It helped by clarifying the importance of boundaries in every kind of relationship – even with immediate families. This novella cultivated my attitude toward every person I encounter. While the prince and the fox’s bond showed how time and effort play into relationships, it also taught me that not everything and everyone deserve my time and effort.

Life according to The Little Prince 2
Official Illustration by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Some essential things in life cannot be seen with the eyes, but only through the heart.

In the novella, the narrator, which was the pilot, had to confront and swallow a hard truth. By the end of the book, the prince became so desperate to return to his planet that he made a deal with a conniving snake. The snake told the prince that he could return home if he would let the snake bite him.

The pilot arrived a little too late, only to find the prince slowly losing consciousness. On the other hand, the prince expressed no distress. He seemed at peace with his decision as he was about to embark on a journey home. In an attempt to comfort the pilot, the prince said:

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.

Despite sounding like a goodbye, this quote resonated with me as someone cynical; as someone who only believes in what she sees. This quote woke me up. It made me realize that not everything that I see is important. Apart from that, the novella also urged me to be more appreciative and more vocal about it.

Sometimes, loving means letting go.

In the novella, the prince died in the arms of the pilot. That is how I see it but the pilot thought the opposite. Instead of mourning the prince’s death, the pilot commented on how the prince looked at peace. The prince seemed to be relieved and happy to go home to his beloved rose. Antoine wrote,

In the light of the moon I looked down at this pale forehead, those closed eyes, those locks of his that trembled in the wind: ‘What I am seeing,’ I thought, ‘is no more than the shell. What is truly important I cannot see.’

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The pilot didn’t say outright that he loved the little prince. Instead, he showed it through his actions. The little prince, on the other hand, was very vocal about his love for the rose he left alone at home. Because the pilot knew of the prince’s yearning for his rose, he let the prince go. The pilot supported the prince’s decision to be with his love, the rose.

Life according to The Little Prince 1
Official Illustration by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Consistently feed your inner child.

The novella begins with the pilot’s drawing when he was younger. According to him, grown-ups who saw his drawing mumbled about what was so special about it. Following this, the novella continued with the pilot narrating about his encounter with a prince in the desert. He showed the prince his drawing. To his surprise, the prince immediately understood that his drawing was not just a hat. It was a boa constrictor eating an elephant. This introduction stuck with me over the years because of how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote it with such delicateness, almost feeling like he wanted the readers to feel honored after reading such a display of vulnerability.

To be honest, the first chapter of the novella sparked a lot of feelings in me. I began feeling afraid – afraid of ending up like the grown-ups in the story who couldn’t see the boa constrictor. Apart from that, the scene also convinced me to feed my inner child and let it enjoy the simplest and littlest things in life.

Life is to be enjoyed. Breathe it in.

Before meeting the prince, the pilot in the novella was a skeptic. He worried a lot. He stressed over things. But when the prince arrived, the pilot began seeing things in a different light. And despite being stuck in the desert, he probably wouldn’t trade the lessons he learned for anything. The importance of enjoying life could be seen through the prince’s character. He and the pilot got stranded in the desert but never did he stop laughing. Instead of sulking over his misfortunes, the prince turned his misery into an opportunity. The prince took it as an opportunity to reflect on his actions and the reasons why he left his home, Asteroid B612.

As someone who tends to see the negative in things, I admire the prince’s attitude toward life. However, I still believe that we could enjoy life carefully. I still think that we shouldn’t just breathe in life as we know it. We shouldn’t just sit around and celebrate when things are okay. We have our own lives. Apart from approaching everything with a positive attitude according to the little prince, we need to remind ourselves that we have the power to change the course of our lives. We need to exercise that power.

Overall, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince filled a hole in my soul that even I didn’t know I had. It affects me differently every time I read it. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” isn’t just a must-read. It’s also a must-re-read as it seems to unlock a different insight with every read. Want to read more articles like this? Click here.

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