As father of a 4-year old, while looking for some new books for her, I stumbled across “The Little Prince”, the most famous book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
I remember reading it when I was 7 or 8. At the time, I found it pleasant, but very cryptic in some way. So, I thought that it would be very interesting to go through it again, now that I am a grownup and a pilot, using the sweet excuse of reading it to my little one.
In facts, reading it now, around 20 years after my first time, that little book transmits a completely different feeling. I could possibly say that it conveys some of the most private feeling of the pilot “Saint-Ex”, but clearing the story from every technical details that would possibly bore the young audience.
One thing of the book that I struggled to understand was why and how the Little Prince was travelling from a little planet to the other. It is difficult to understand what the different small planets that the Little Prince visits are if one doesn’t know that when Antoine de Saint-Exupery started to fly, one of his tasks was to open new air routes for the Aéropostale connecting towns and countries. At the time, a remote town close to the Andes could easily be seen as a different planet. And people could more easily close themselves, thinking to be kings, but without knowing of what insignificant realm.
However, a theme – if not the theme – that is central to the book is that of death. It is somehow never explicitly mentioned. When the Little Prince agrees to be bitten by the snake, he simply wants to go back to his planet. When I was small and read this lines, part of me was convinced he did actually make it back. I still think it now somehow.
If you have the chance to read some of the articles Saint-Exupery wrote during the years of the Aéropostale and especially about what happened when a pilot assigned to a long and dangerous did not arrive, you will immediately understand why death is something that remains unspoken. In facts, when that happened, there was only the silence left by their absence but often no confirmation of what had happened. A part of each of the friends and colleagues waiting on ground hoped for some different epilogue.
The book has certainly many other meanings, but you can read about them in any anthology. Here I just sit with my imagination in the room were Saint-Ex wrote his masterpiece and listened to the pilot.
I am happy to hear what does the book represent for you. Feel free to use the contact form you find under the respective page!
I wish you all a nice reading.