The Little Prince is one of those books that I have been aware of for a long time but had somehow not gotten around to yet. It’s status as an all time great is why I chose it for the ‘Classic’ square in Cannonball bingo. I’m using ‘Classic’ for my Reader’s Choice square to replace ‘Remix’.
I became aware of the power in The Little Prince, and how it affects readers, through tattoo art relating to the book. In most every tattoo gallery featuring art inspired by books, you will find Little Prince pieces. Clearly, it has a powerful impact if so many people are indelibly marking themselves with art and quotes from the book. Once started, I quickly realized why so many people are drawn to this book with its sage little bits of wisdom liberally sprinkled throughout, wrapped in a charming tale. I use little sticky tabs when reading to mark things that stand out, to be able to revisit when writing the review. As you can see, there were many a passage that caught my eye.
The narrator, reflects on childhood and adulthood, through his interactions with the little prince. In general the book is a bit harsh on grown ups, specifically grown ups that have lost their imagination and wonder, and points out their failings. Over the course of the book we see the little prince gain life experiences and new understandings, while maintaining his child like state. The narrator regains his childlike way of viewing the world. And it is bittersweet when they part at the end. The story touches upon facets of the human condition such as grief, love, regret, and death. Respect, authority, disobedience, responsibility, and judgement are all discussed through the tales the little prince shares with the narrator.
The book is highly quotable, with many a passage that stands out for being profound or relatable. I can see reading this book again, over time, and having different parts be more meaningful depending on what is happening in your own life at the time. While some details are dated, the nature of the story itself is timeless. All of these qualities have made it into the enduring classic it is today.
Here are a few lines that attracted my attention:
Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves and it is tiresome for children to always explain things to them.
To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures…
It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
But I was too young to know how to love her…
For what the king fundamentally insisted upon was that his authority should be respected. He tolerated no disobedience. He was an absolute monarch. But, because he was a very good man, he made his orders reasonable. – Dome’Loki: this sounds like parenting in a nutshell.
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.
If you have never read The Little Prince, I strongly encourage you too. And if you have but it’s been a while, perhaps take time to read it again.