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First of all, “The Little Prince” is a philosophical tale, therefore deep thoughts are hidden behind a simple plot at first glance. The author touches on such eternal topics as good and evil, love and hate, life and death: Antoine helps in expressing their own thoughts such artistic means as metaphor, allegory, symbols and so on.
The author, emphasizing that the prince is a child, nevertheless allows him to discover such truths that are inaccessible to many adults. The relationship between the prince and Rosa is much more confusing than the relationship between the prince and the princess in a folk tale, because the prince even sacrifices his life for Rosa, and not everyone is capable of this.
Analysing the works, we constantly come across various romantic features. Firstly, this is the genre of the work itself – folklore, because it is called the ‘childhood of mankind’, and the theme of childhood in romantic works is one of the main topics.
The author poses global problems in a generalized and abstract way and examines the topic of evil in two aspects:
In the work of Antoine, it was associated with baobabs. The writer tells us, “Watch out for baobabs!” Because the trees will grow and take over the entire planet, because a big baobab will grow from the seed, like all adults were children at first.
The essence of the foregoing comes down to the fact that adults must constantly improve themselves and not forget about spiritual needs, otherwise they will become what the inhabitants of the planets.
From this topic follows the basic principle of romanticism – the principle of double peace. The world of the layman, who does not understand the spiritual beginning and the world of the artist (“The Little Prince”, author, Fox, Rosa), which is inherent in moral qualities, will never touch. Only the Artist is able to see the essence – the inner beauty and harmony of the world around him. Recall, even on the planet of the lantern, “The Little Prince” notes: “When he lights the lantern, it is as if one star or flower is still being born. And when he extinguishes the lantern – as if a star or a flower are falling asleep. Great job. It’s really useful because it’s beautiful.” In this case, the prince is not talking about external beauty, but about internal; any business is useful only when it is internally beautiful.
Inner emptiness leads to loneliness, the author says. Most people judge people only by their outer shell, not thinking at all about their inner world, thereby creating an erroneous impression. People become lonely even when they are together, they just do not try to understand each other: “Where are the people? – “The Little Prince”finally spoke again. “It’s still lonely in the desert …” “It’s also lonely among people,” said the snake.”
One of the main storylines in the fairy tale is the accident that the narrator gets into, in fact, the fairy tale was born in the desert. Such an element is rather unusual for the reader – we are used to stories taking place in the forest, in the mountains, on the seashore; in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s work there is only a desert and stars, because this is a non-standard situation, and only at such a time a person experiences his whole life, rethinks, reassesses values
The narrator is left alone with the dead desert, sands. “The Little Prince” helps him to see what is true in life and what is false, therefore the value of this image is very important, it helps to see what is hidden from the surface gaze.
The story has two storylines: the narrator and the related theme of the world of adults and the line of “The Little Prince”, the story of his life. The first chapter of the story is an introductory one, key to one of the important problems of the work – the problem of “fathers” and “children”, to the eternal problem of generations. Recalling his childhood and the failure that he suffered with drawings No. 1 and No. 2, the pilot argues as follows: “Adults never understand anything themselves, and for children it’s very tiring to explain and interpret everything to them without end”. This phrase serves as an eyeliner for the subsequent development of the theme of “fathers” and “children,” to the author’s childhood memories. Adults could not understand the storyteller’s child’s drawing, and only “The Little Prince” was able to quickly recognize the elephant in the boa. The kid, in turn, asks him to draw a lamb, but each time the drawing is unsuccessful: either the lamb is too frail, then too old. “Here’s a box for you,” the storyteller says to the child, “and there is such a lamb that you want.” The boy liked this invention: he could fantasize as much as necessary, imagining a lamb in different ways. The child reminded the adult of his childhood, they gained the ability to understand each other. The ability to enter the world of a child, to understand and accept it is what brings the world of adults and the world of children togetherThe composition of the work is very peculiar. Parabola is the main component of the structure of the traditional parable. “The Little Prince” is no exception. It looks like this: the action takes place in a specific time and a specific situation.
The beginning and end of the story “The Little Prince” are related to the arrival of the hero on Earth or to the departure of the Earth by the pilot and the Fox. “The Little Prince” again flies away to his planet, to care for and raise a beautiful Rose.
People should take care of the purity and beauty of their planet, together protecting and decorating it, not letting all living things die, the prince claims. So, unobtrusively, another important topic arises in the tale – environmental, which is very relevant for the modern rapidly developing world.
Consider the subsequent chapters of “The Little Prince”. The following is a story about the Little Prince and his planet, and here the story of Rosa occupies a special place. A rose is a symbol of love, beauty, a feminine principle, as we already mentioned about the symbolism of the work.
The first person to meet “The Little Prince” on Earth was the Snake. According to mythology, the Snake guards the sources of wisdom or immortality, personifies magical powers, appears in the rites of conversion as a symbol of restoration. In a fairy tale, it combines the miraculous power and the sorrowful knowledge of human destiny: “I bring back everyone whom I touch to the earth from which he came out.” She offers the hero to get acquainted with the life of the Earth and shows him the way to people, assuring at the same time that ‘among people it is also lonely.’ On Earth, the prince has to test himself and make the most important decision in his life.
“The Little Prince” comprehends this wisdom, and with it is revealed to both the storyteller and the reader. Together with the little hero, we rediscover for ourselves the most important thing in life that was hidden, buried in all kinds of husks, but which is the only value for a person. “The Little Prince” learns what a bond of friendship is.
Saint-Antoine de Saint-Exupery also speaks of friendship of the narrative – in dedication. In the author’s system of values, the topic of friendship is one of the main places. Friendship alone can melt the ice of loneliness and estrangement, as it is based on mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual assistance.
Amid the eternal bustle of “adult” life, he does not recall human happiness. Constantly guided by reason, he forgets to listen to the most important thing – the voice of his own heart. And the little girl, regardless of her desire, managed to show her father a whole new world of human relationships, childhood relationships; the world is also complex, but richer in feelings and some kind of internal understanding of the beauty of surrounding people and nature.
At the beginning of the tale, The Little Prince leaves his only Rose, then he leaves his new friend Fox on Earth. “There is no perfection in the world,” the Fox will say. But there is harmony, there is humanity, there is a person’s responsibility for the work entrusted to him, for a person close to him, there is still responsibility for his planet, for everything that happens on it.
Deep meaning lies in the image of the planet to which “The Little Prince” returns: it is a symbol of the human soul, a symbol of the home of the human heart. Antoine de Saint-Exupery wants to say that each person has his own planet, his own island and his guiding star, which a person should not forget.
Childhood is somewhere nearby and comes in moments of the most terrible despair and loneliness, when there is nowhere to go. Then everything will fall into place, and that already adult will return that clarity and transparency, fearless directness of judgments and evaluations, which happens only in children.
However, notes that dragons guarded the water in ancient chronicles, beliefs and traditions, but the Saint-Antoine de Saint-Exupery desert can guard it no worse than dragons, it can hide it in such a way that no one will ever find it. Each person is the master of his springs, the sources of his soul, but not everyone can find them. The author’s true faith in the existence of hidden springs gives the finale of a fairy tale-parable a life-affirming sound. The story contains a powerful creative moment, faith in improving and changing the unfair order of things. The life aspirations of the heroes are in harmony with the moral universal principle. In their merger, the meaning and general orientation of the work.
During the time that the pilot and the prince – an adult and a child – spent together, they discovered a lot of new things in each other and in life. After parting, they took with them particles of each other, they became wiser, learned the world of another and revealed their own on the other side.
We have already talked about the genre features of the story in the initial part of our study. In the end, it is worth noting and highlighting the following: “The Little Prince” is not a traditional and generally accepted, familiar to all of us kind of fairy tale parable. This is a modern option. In confirmation of this are numerous details, images and hints taken from the realities of public life of the 20th century.
The work has a very rich language, the writer uses many means of expressiveness, fresh metaphors are most striking. It is natural and expressive: “laughter, like a spring in the desert”, “five hundred million bells”, seemingly mundane, familiar concepts suddenly take on a new original meaning. The language of Antoine de Saint-Exupery is full of memories of life, of the world and of childhood.
Not everything accessible to adults will be immediately revealed to children, because many readers understand a fairy tale only when they become adults and reread it. Despite this, children read this book with pleasure, since it attracts them with its simplicity of presentation, the atmosphere of spirituality, the deficit of which is so acute in our days; children also have a close vision of the author’s ideal in a child’s soul. Only in children does Antoine de Saint-Exupery see the most valuable, unclouded foundation of human existence, because only they can see things in their true light, regardless of their practical significance!
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