The Little Prince narrates the tale of a pilot who is stranded in what is presumably the Sahara desert. Fantasy enters the novella as the narrator encounters the little prince, a boy from another planet who recounts his adventures in the universe and at the end of the book, must return to where he came from.
Antoine de-Saint Exupery poured some of his own personal experiences into the narrative, for he himself was a pilot and was once stranded in the Sahara with his co-pilot because their plane broke down. The narrator of the novella suffers from a similar fate.
The novella is written in a simple language, sometimes venturing into child-speak. At the same time, it conveys a deeper meaning and makes philosophical inquiries. Exupery's use of humor is subtle but it strikes the right chords.
The Little Prince reveals new meanings with every reading, giving the novella a timeless quality. The use of simple language to portray such deep thoughts is striking. The dedication of the book sets the tone for what is to come and the end result exceeds expectations. The character of the little prince is one that lingers in the heart long after the final chapter has been read. This character embodies the child in all of us and for those who have forgotten this, he is a reminder. The lines he speaks are what the book is all about-life, love and friendship. The little prince is a character that is rare in literature. The author successfully captures the mind and heart of a child. He does not undermine children, or depict his own childhood as one that was necessarily full of laughter and happiness. He acknowledges and gives importance to the sorrow and loneliness of childhood. One is glad to note, that here is an adult who has not forgotten what it is like to be a child. His respect for children makes this book even more special. The narrative also evokes beautifully the image of the desert, capturing with words its immensity, its vastness. It depicts the desert's harshness. But it also portrays the treasures that the desert hides. Wonderful also are the sketches that accompany the story. The first picture, which is actually a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant is a personal favorite. The paintings of the different people that the little prince encounters in his journey manage to capture the essence of these characters. The illustration of the little prince himself, a child with an innocent face, perfectly fits the description of the author. The illustrations of the desert also deserve applause. The last picture in the book, perhaps the simplest, is the one that strikes a chord deep within the heart. It captures beautifully the pain of separation and the sorrow that lies in loneliness. It is the perfect ending to a beautiful book. The dedication is unique, quirky and the perfect entry for a book like this one. Exupery dedicates the book to his friend Leon Worth, and because Leon Worth is an adult, he apologizes to all the 'children' who will read the book for dedicating it to an adult, but explains that this man is different- a grown up who understands everything. Exupery further explains that this man is in France where he is hungry and cold. Exupery writes that these reasons may not be good enough, so he will, in fact change his dedication and dedicate the book instead- "To Leon Worth when he was a little boy." This is, perhaps, one of the best dedications that I have read.
Book Reviewed By Sarbajaya Bhattacharya
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