Life Lessons from The Little Prince

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The Little Prince is a book that follows the exploits of an airplane pilot whose plane crashes in the desert. When the pilot crashes, the Sahara Desert is depopulated and uninhabitable. As a result, the narrator is concerned for his future, considering the scarcity of food and water left over from the accident. Nonetheless, the pilot is soon saved from his train of thought by a little boy that he refers to as the little prince. In profiling the life of the little prince, from the information that is extended to the narrator by the little prince himself, the narrator establishes that the little prince came from another planet and is a child of immense intellect and wisdom. It tells accounts of the little prince’s journey to other planets and the interactions that he had with adults in the previous encounters. On these encounters he meets a conceited man, a lamplighter, a king and even a geographer. In the end, the aviator successfully repairs his plane and heads back home while the little prince allows himself to be poisoned by a snake with the intent of returning to his home land. In the end, the narrator indicates his longing to see the little prince and his desire for the readers to inform him should they ever stumble upon the little prince on their journeys. The story allows the reader insights into the ways of life and the efficiency of the responses that human beings extend towards their problems. Intrinsically, The Little Prince contains several lessons on life and living.

To begin with, the novel reinforces the need for happiness in life. Essentially, one should always do the things that make them happy lest they fall into depression which would significantly diminish the quality of their life Happiness and satisfaction can only be found in passion. One should thrive to find that which their hearts yearn for and pursue the given interests to the end of the world. When the little prince meets the fox, in the middle of his discomfort with regards to his rose, the fox tells the prince that “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (De Saint-Exupery 64). The heart provides the best metric that one can engage in making decisions about their life. Most of the people often make decisions based on necessities and indoctrination. Nonetheless, Sills determines that “In becoming our own person, we must follow our heart. We need to listen to ourselves and focus on the “I” part of life.” (n.p.). Consequently, life is not a rehearsal. In the end, despite there being several other roses, the little prince acknowledges that his rose provided the most important of them all since his heart loved her. He further accedes that it his responsibility to his rose to follow his heart. Life is not about making decisions based on external influences. One ought to listen to their hearts since the heart contains insights which may not be easily seen by the eye. If one overlooks the desires of their hearts for the counsel of other individuals, it is likely that they may end up being as frustrated as the prince was given the loss of his rose.

Similarly, the little prince encourages one to be a risk taker and adventurous in life. Many individuals love to live within the comforts of their workaday lives. This is a reflection of the sense of false security that is projected by such a setting. Nonetheless, life becomes interesting if and when an individual is willing to try new things in their lives without the fear of failure. The challenges that come with exploring new things provides for the most interesting elements in life since they shape the character of the individual in the long run. Ultimately, the character will enable them to attain their dreams. When the little prince encounters the geographer, the geographer defines the limitations of his position hunched over a set of books. The geographer erroneously reinforces the significance of his position vis-à-vis that of the explorer. He determines that “he geographer is much too important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk. But he receives the explorers in his study. He asks them questions, and he notes down what they recall of their travels. And if the recollections of any one among them seem interesting to him, the geographer orders an inquiry into that explorer's moral character” (De Saint-Exupery 48). However, in reality, it is the explorer who truly enjoys life. This is because he is the subject of limitless opportunities. Indeed, when one takes risks they are liable to be challenged by several misshapen. Nonetheless, they may also transcend their limitation and it is this process that allows one to understand who they truly are and appreciate their situation in the society (Lim n.p.). It is essentially through exploration that one determines who they truly are beyond the premises which have been set for them by the societies around them.

Thirdly, the little prince decries the celebration of materialism among men. Essentially, many people value numbers than the quality of life. Most of the people serve money and do not aim for the true betterment of other individuals in the society. The little prince establishes that the adults never seek to truly understand human beings. Instead, when the prince informs them of the new friend that they have mad, they do not ask, "what does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" (De Saint-Exupery 14). From such questions they believe that they will have fully determined the character of the new friend. In life, it is imperative that one overlooks materialism in order to be happy. Thus the prince dictates that children are happier than adults because “figures are a matter of indifference” (14). Similarly, the little prince determines that many people assume that they can buy all the things they want with money. Therefore, many men spend the better part of their lives looking for money. Nonetheless, money cannot buy everything. It cannot buy happiness and it cannot buy friendships, love and loyalty. The little prince predicates that “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things already made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship” (De Saint-Exupery 62). Materialism in the 21st century provides one of the major frameworks that people engage in trying to define who they are. Celebrities buy expensive cars and houses while others strive to buy clothes that will endear them to the public. This is a reflection of the prevalence of materialism in the society. Overall, materialism leads to conflict and stratification in the society. In the pursuit of wealth, many an individual take it upon themselves to commit crimes just to suffice their desires.

The novel further emphasizes on the need for responsibility among human beings. Each and every individual should be willing to perform their duties without excuses. In The Little Prince, both the prince and the pilot have duties to attend to. They make it their priority to see that they have completed the given duties. The pilot’s responsibility involves the repair of his airplane. When he is bombarded with questions from the prince, he reiterates that he needs to complete the repair and it is this duty that provides his priority. The pilot, in response to prince’s question on what the use of thorns in the flower were, exasperatedly informs the little prince that he is “very busy with matters of consequence” (De Saint-Exupery 23). The little prince also projects a sense of responsibility given the delicate care that he extended his flowers. He waters them thrice a day and further takes care of his volcanoes back in his planet. This provides a trademark of adulthood (Keen Bethany n.p.). It is very important that each individual oversees their responsibility as it positively augments human interactions and the sustenance of orderliness in the society. One should never renege on their responsibilities and instead engage any metric possible to overcome laziness. Responsibility not only serves to further man’s sustainability but is also a mark of the concern that an individual has for those that are around them.

Lastly, one needs to be flexible and open minded in life. It is not appropriate for one to be too judgmental based on their own preferences. One should strive to develop a mindset that is not limited to the indoctrination that they were subject to in the growth process. An open-minded individual is more likely to be willing to consider the viewpoints of the other individual. Open-mindedness is important since individuals are born and nurtured differently. Therefore, people are not the same. Consequently, the little prince establishes that “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining thing” (De Saint-Exupery 5). Essentially, they are not willing to view things from the perspective of individuals who are different from them. In a world that is made up of people from different social, economic and political backgrounds, it is of utmost importance that one practices tolerance towards the other individuals. Flexibility and open-mindedness further negates the conflicts that often result when individuals refrain from attempting to understand each other. This response is often known as radicalism – the refusal to view things from another individual’s perspective. It often breeds contempt and disgust which culminates in violence and war. For instance, when the little prince draws the second hat, the parents fail to see what he intends to communicate and instead tell him to “lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic and grammar” (De Saint-Exupery 5). This statement is a reflection of the stance that most people assume when they cannot see things from a different viewpoint. Often times, such individuals resort to reinforce conventionality as a solution for the predicament that beleaguers the individual that requires the advice. Such advice is not always right given that it is based on the scope of the adviser and not the nature of the given situation.

Conclusively, little prince provides one of the most iconic books of the 19th century. It is a reflection of the social organization in the community as well as the interaction process. The little prince contains several lessons which may positively impact on one’s life. Firstly, it teaches people to be committed and responsible. One should honestly and efficiently execute their duties. Similarly, it reinforces the need for open-mindedness in the society. Open-mindedness enhances the efficiency of interactions between different individuals in the society. Alternatively, money has assumed a central role in life today. Many people would rather pursue money than engage in humanitarian activities. The little prince decries materialism. The love of money provides the root of all evil. One’s actions should not solely be inspired by the material benefits that they stand to gain from the initiative. Instead, one should be concerned with how the given action will benefit the community at large. Lastly, the beauty of life is not to be found in the comfort zone. One should always strive to test the limits of their potentials by continuously exploring the various opportunities that are available to them. It is only through risk taking that one can establish the true limits of their talents and skills.

Works Cited

De Saint-Exupery, Antoine. The Little Prince. Mariner Books, 2000.

Keene, Bethany, MS. "Adulthood." Salem Press Encyclopedia, January. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=87322376&site=eds-live

Lim, Amber. “10 Crucial Life Lessons about Growing Up from The Little Prince.” LetterPile, 18 June 2016. Web. 1 May 2017. https://letterpile.com/books/10-Life-Lessons-from-The-Little-Prince.

Sills, Laurel. “Follow Your Heart to Happiness.” Dr. Sills, 30 August 2013. Web. 1 May 2017. http://www.drlsills.com/follow-your-heart-to-happiness/

July 20, 2022
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Literature

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2013

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