Welcome to the first deep-dive on The Little Prince. I am not certain yet how far I can or will take this, but for today I think the best goal is to suss out the questions I think are important to take away and to consider from this wonderful story.
With broader themes to explore from this story on relationships and love, responsibility and loss, loneliness and growing up, it is difficult to know where to start. Eventually, we will get to themes and characters, of which there is already much written about and accessible online, but I think we will start with the questions this story confers. Here then, we will focus specifically on discerning the questions I think can be taken from the story and worked through to benefit each of our journeys.
The first question, the most obvious, is the question relating what is important in life. Most descriptions I have found about the story of The Little Prince relate to how it articulates the important things in life; and grown-up’s inability to perceive them.
The First Question
Do I (as an adult) understand what is important in life?
To extrapolate, this can encompasses several questions:
- What is the point of existence?
- Is it, perhaps, to love?
- Maybe it is to live your best story?
- Shared experiences?
- Possibly, simply, just to be? To sit with your ‘flower’ and watch the sunset. Is that it? Can it be that simple?
The fox in the story offers that;
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
This is the fox’s ‘secret,’ which might be considered the ‘answer’ to the question of what is important in life. This quote starts a final dialogue between the prince and the fox and ends this chapter of the story. It goes on to to further explain that;
“It is the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important … People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose … “
This requires further exploration, and is one of the elements of this story that influences so much of what I consider daily, and for which I come back again and again for. It suggests our connections and relationships, the time we’ve given to someone, and the responsibility that it invokes, is what is most important.
The Second Question
What do I do that makes my life meaningful and worthwhile?
Is it loving and caring for another? Is it altruism? Perhaps one might think it is pleasure and joy?
This, I believe requires a concentrated self-examination, and will change throughout one’s life. It does, also, remind us to act and work towards creating a meaningful and worthwhile existence. I would suggest it first requires us to consider our values and virtues, our priorities and moral and ethical bearings.
The Third Question
Can I discern and apply the prince’s priorities to my life?
This is a two-step process because I do not think, at first blush, that these are given; they need to be determined by each of us. Once you figure this out, then you must consider if they can they be applied and adhered to your life?
The Final Question
Do I meet the prince’s approval?
Do I understand the book, and the fox’s secret? If so, in such a way as to meet the prince’s approval? Or, am I just another grown-up that sees only the hat, and not the elephant in the snake?
So let’s stop there this week. Four questions to consider as you read the book and to guide this journey of The Little Prince.
“I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince