Originally published in 1943, “The Little Prince” is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The short novel follows the adventures of a young boy, known as the Little Prince, who left his home planet and eventually found himself on Earth. Along the way, the Little Prince meets people from all walks of life, including the fair king who rules over no one and everyone, and the drunkard who drinks to forget he’s an alcoholic. The Little Prince is the embodiment of youthful innocence and curiosity being forced to bend to the world of adults, and he doesn’t understand how adulthood works in the slightest. This classic is an essential for any teenager to read, as it is our job as adolescents to gracefully transfer from childhood to adulthood.
Though the story is about our little prince, it is told through the eyes of an unnamed narrator who crash-landed in the Sahara Desert. He soon meets the Little Prince and immediately becomes captivated by the boy’s simple yet wise view of the world. The story is revolved around the two of these characters, with the narrator representing adulthood and the Little Prince the epitome of childhood. The author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, clearly favored the simplicity that children, like the Little Prince, are inherently born with. To Exupery, it seems as if, as humans grow older, they lose that natural comprehension of the world. Instead, adults fill up their lives with meaningless complexities that children like the Little Prince cannot understand.
The true message of the story is spoken by the Fox, a fox capable of communicating with the Little Prince.
“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes,” Fox says to the Little Prince as they were forced to part ways and move on after befriending one another.
Exupery believes the fall of humanity comes from forgetting that simple idea. Love, joy, and even sorrow are all part of the human experience. Humanity cannot forget to feel and follow their heart.
For teenagers specifically, as they transition into the world of adults, they might forget their old life as they embark on the never-ending, sometimes terrifying, journey of growing up. We become entangled in the complex web humans have made for themselves, and even will start to contribute to the chaos.
It can be difficult and messy to grow up, but if one wishes to exist in the world of adults, a teenager must first acknowledge that we as people do experience emotion, and life can be more simple than they think. The book recognizes that one should never forget who they were as a child.
“The Little Prince” is a timeless classic that still holds a message that applies to society even 75 years later and its fairytale delivery of an adult story makes it the perfect coming of age story.
Aliya Leary // Staff Writer