The Little Prince

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★
This is a fairly short book that I read in-flight to Cameroon. It was written by a French pilot, who was once grounded while flying over the Sahara Desert in the 1930s. He eventually died in WWII. The book has achieved near cult status, in part owing to many implications which could be drawn from the story. I’m not sure if the author was hinting at deep profoundness when he wrote the book, though his suggestion that it’s a story mostly for adults tends to hint at that. The story is of a pilot who crashes in the desert, meets a little man (prince) who asks him lots of questions. The little prince then goes into detail describing his own planet, and various other planets that he has visited in the universe before falling to earth. In then follows the little Princes’ impression of earth.
This book was an interesting read, encouraging a focus on appreciating the little things, like a rose. It was not so good of a book at inspiring an ideology. For example, the little prince was responsible for keeping his plant in good order and for preventing the overgrowth of baobabs, by uprooting them early, and if not uprooted, they will overgrow the planet. Yet, the baobabs are simply trees. Does he mean that we offer preference for one plant over another on our earth? He disdains planets that have egotistical kings and greedy business people, but is he suggesting a generality? I hope not. Always mentioned was his preoccupation for getting back to his small world to tend for a single flower, which was supposed to be the only one in the universe, except that there was an abundance of them on earth. So, what is he implying? Environmental implications? Societal implications? Economic, capitalistic implications? I suppose that a person who most loves this story would imply that I simply do not understand. Yet, that in itself is a form of wanton arrogance, as perhaps I understand all too well what the author’s intentions were. The back cover suggests that I am supposed to learn what is really important in life through this little story. But, it hasn’t happened. Perhaps my greatest dismay is that relations with others are important, yet the little prince seemed to control the entire exchange between the pilot and himself. Even the little prince could not tell what was most important in life. Was it his flower, or was it the sheep he desired on his planet, though it might eat his flower? In fact, the little prince seems to imply that he himself was most important. So, we’ll let the little prince return to his own planet, and spend our time on earth using other means as to what is best in life. Just ask Conan the Barbarian!