Today marks 79 years since the first publishing of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 classic, The Little Prince. The novella, originally Le Petit Prince, follows a pilot who becomes stranded on a planet where he meets a young prince. A traveler’s journey unfolds when the little prince sets out to discover different planets and their inhabitants. From generation to generation, this tale has been passed down. The Little Prince has been translated into several languages and has sold about 200 million copies worldwide. It has become one of the best-selling books in publishing history.
The Little Prince
There’s no doubt that The Little Prince is a book enjoyed by readers of all ages. Many life lessons are on display in this short yet thoughtful story. Originally published on April 6th, 1943, it is the most translated book after the Bible. Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry also created the illustrious illustrations that move you through space in this beloved tale. The little prince gains great wisdom while venturing to new planets and asteroids. As readers, we can appreciate a story that moves through time and space while teaching us a great lesson.
A Brief Synopsis
The novella follows an airplane pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert where he meets a little prince who embarks on a journey to different planets to cure his loneliness. The pilot, the narrator, suffers great damage to his airplane and has no water or food. However, he meets a little blond prince who asks him to draw him a sheep in exchange for friendship. The two become friends, and the narrator learns that the little prince comes from a small planet he calls Asteroid 325. The little prince took good care of his planet by preventing bad plants or seeds from growing there. One day, a mysterious rose started to grow on his planet. Despite his distaste for certain plants, he falls in love with this rose. However, the rose became deceitful, and the prince believed he could no longer trust her. The loneliness soon crept up on the little prince, so he decided to begin his journey to new planets.
While traveling to different asteroids and planets, the little prince meets many different kinds of people that change the way he perceives real love. He encounters narrow-minded grown-ups that make him question the world at large. He meets a king, a vain man, a drunkard, a businessman, a lamplighter, and a geographer. Each character is alone and devoted to their “life’s calling,” which amuses the prince. While looking for companionship in others, he realizes how consumed these adults are with themselves. They want to be admired, want to own every crop or store, or want to order others around. However, unlike the little prince, their life calling has nothing to do with passion. After learning from the geographer that flowers don’t live long, the little prince starts to miss the rose he left behind. In the end, we are left to believe that the little prince returns to his planet in search of the rose or love he had all along.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
French writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry made a name for himself in the literary world. He was born to an aristocratic family in Lyon, France, on July 29th, 1900. Before he became known for his literary classics, he had developed a passion for aviation at the early age of 12 after his first plane ride. Despite rejection from the naval academy, Saint-Exupéry began his work in aviation from an obligatory stance in the military. He served shortly as a pilot for the air force until he left in 1922. Soon after, he discovered his newfound passion for writing. Many of his stories take inspiration from his experiences as a pilot. Hence, there is a great passion for exploration in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry used his love for aviation to drive his writings.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has been awarded several of France’s highest literary awards and won the United States National Book Award. Saint-Exupéry wrote several novels like Southern Mail, Night Flight, and Wind, Sand and Stars. Additionally, he wrote a memoir, Flight to Arras, and the classic fable, The Little Prince. Almost all of his works can be traced back to his life experiences in some ways. There are many parallels between his characters and events in his real life, for example, in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry suffered a plane crash in the desert of Libya in real life like his narrator. He also embarked on a new journey of his own after fleeing France during World War II. Saint-Exupéry then settled in New York City, where he wrote the now 79-year-old tale. Our passions can drive us to reach new limits, and Saint-Exupéry has proved that many times over with the celebration and influence of his stories worldwide.
The Little Prince is a book that will live on in readers’ hearts for many years to come. By re-visiting this book, we realize that sometimes our failures are blessings in disguise. Our relationships with each other are also valuable to our well-being. Each of us has a great responsibility to make this world inhabitable, not just for us but for the future generations that will come after us. Here’s to 79 years of The Little Prince and the many more generations it will inspire!
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