The Little Prince is a novella that was written by Antoine de Saint- Expert in 1943. It has since been translated into several languages & has made its mark as a classic. Although meant for children, TLP carries poignant themes of love, loss, loneliness, and human nature. I don’t know what I was expecting while reading this book but it had a profound impact on me.
A narrator, who is a pilot, crash lands on Sahara & only has 8 days of water supply left. Here’s when he meets a little boy, Nicknamed ‘little prince’ who belongs to a tiny planet called B-612. While the narrator is busy repairing his plane, the little boy recounts his life on his pint-sized planet, where he spends all his time cleaning minuscule volcanoes and removing unwanted seeds.
The tone and narrative technique written from the perspective of the pilot add a sombre, measured pace which works for the fantastical and unrealistic elements the author was going for. The author derived inspiration from his own life when in 1939 his plane crash-landed at the Sahara desert. Due to severe dehydration, both Antoine and his co-navigator, began hallucinating and started seeing mirages. They were finally rescued by a group of nomadic Arab people.
I’m not going lie, I was really emotional after reading TLP. Maybe it was the subtle theme of childhood nostalgia, of growing up, learning life’s nuances & unlearning them after a point. It’s a little book but there’s so much to unpack here. The beauty of reading is that you’re allowed your own interpretation. You’re allowed to acknowledge the book for what it makes you feel.
Read it because you’ll understand life so much better.
She heard a faint voice calling out to her somewhere from the backyard. She stood up, wiping away the tears that had now formed in her colossal eyes. She had always been an obedient child and listening to her mother was a chore she would never deny even if that meant killing her own desires. She looked back at the place where she had spent her entire childhood. A place which gave her memories that would stay with her throughout her life. She would miss this place. More than that she would miss what she used to be. Going away meant leaving a huge part of herself behind. She was 20 and was no longer the little girl with two pony tails holding her father’s hand whenever they went out for a morning walk. She missed her father. She missed how he used to wake her up in the morning. The world automatically felt like a safer place back then. Her fathers’ warm embrace, his reassuring smile. It made her cry. She cried. Voices being heard outside again. This time she looked back at the photo frames decorated on her study table.. Staring at her father’s picture she realized how much she was like him. How much of her father’s traits were woven into her. She remembered the last time she saw him on his death-bed. He asked her to hold his hands, to not cry, to be strong. She didn’t listen to him. It wasn’t easy. How could she just watch him die? Of all things that happened to her watching her father go through excruciating pain had killed her. Mentally, she couldn’t revert to being herself ever again. She had no friends to rely on. Being the introvert kind, girls found her weird, some even went on to say she was retarded. Well, maybe she was different.
She looked at the picture of herself and her father of a breathtaking trip. She was 15 at that time and considering her love for adventure her father had taken her for bungee jumping. How she had screamed her lungs out at the sight of it. She smiled a half-smile, reminiscing the beautiful day. Tears falling down. She kept the photo back, turned towards her cupboard. She took out a cardboard box which had her father’s possessions hidden. Her mother was heartbroken and depressed after her father died and rarely kept a track of their only daughter. She was there physically but in reality she had lost her mother that very same day her father had left them. She had silently taken all his belongings and never mentioned anything about this to anyone. In it were photographs of their vacations to various places, his unusually weird hat which used to be the center of all her jokes. His watch, given to him by her on his last birthday, a locket which had both of their picture and his gun. A gun used by him as protection. She held it up in her hands, staring at it with hope and a way to escape. She took a deep breath, bought the gun closer to her forehead, her breath increasing by every second, she thought about her father once again. How happy she would be sitting right next to him, teasing him about his hat.. This made her smile. She waited for a few minutes to pass by. She waited for someone or something to tell her that what she was doing was right. That there was nothing wrong in it. An image of her father calling out to her revolved around her head. She laughed. The gun still firm on her grips. She made up her mind. She had to pull the trigger. A little pain and then it would end once and for all. Her mother would get infuriated but that didn’t bother her much. She had gotten used to her cold wrath. She wondered what she’d tell her father when they meet, would he be happy? He would be, obviously. She knew he missed her too. Sweat forming in her hands, she once again bought the gun to her head. A loud bang on the door shook her up completely. She kept the gun down, got rid off the cardboard box, wore her sweater and dashed out of the room.
‘I’m sorry for being late, mum. I’m ready, let’s get out of here’ . This time she didn’t look back.