Afterthoughts: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Afterthoughts: A Single Man by Christopher Ishwerwood

Time passes slowly when learning new habits

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I had a heard a lot of good things about le petit prince so I my expectations were high … I am happy to report that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry delivered. It is a charming little story about a man who crashes his plane in the middle of the desert and finds le petit prince. They end up spending time together: as the pilot tries to fix his engine le petit prince slowly reveals the mysteries of his character and situation.


I must admit that it took me a few days of processing to unearth some of the hidden meanings Saint-Exupéry left. My experience reading it was not dissimilar to my experience of reading other pieces of fiction for children like Wonder. Even though it is a translation from French, there was a lot of lyricism and poignancy to the prose that remained. It made for a rewarding reading experience.

As an adult for some years now, the idea of concerning myself with “matters of consequence” made my heart fall a little. I like, many others, yearn to be a child once more – the precious treasure of all romantics. But it is difficult to completely surrender to the mindset of le petit prince when the burden of responsibility grows ever larger. I saw parts of myself in each of le petit prince’s encounters on his journey to earth. The lamp lighter, the businessman, the king. I can’t deny that I have shared their perspectives before.

It is all about perspective, and that is best highlight in the analogy of the rose. Le petit prince is saddened to find thousands of roses on earth, thinking that the one on his planet was unique. But that does not matter. He spent time tending to the rose on its planet, he invested time, energy, and effort. That is what makes it special, not that it may be unique, or glow a certain colour. It is a connection only felt by looking into the heart.

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Highly Recommended. This is a book, not for children, but for adults longing to become children once again. I can imagine myself re-reading this yearly.

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