Childhood, Immortality And The Little Prince Essay
A treasure I inherited from my grandmother “Nanný” when she passed, was a soft copy of The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) by Antone de Saint-Exupéry. It is a beautiful 1946 edition in French with original illustrations. This book has been read, that I know, by at least five generations in my family (my daughters included) in its original language.
This tiny book of less than 100 pages is the fourth most translated book in history; it has been translated to over 250 languages and it grosses annual sales of over two million copies. In France it was named the most noteworthy book of the 20th century.
And here we may wonder: ¿What is so extraordinary about a story for children?
After pondering about this question for some time, I concluded that The Little Prince touches the heart of the reader because it deals marvelously with two deeply held human longings:
The first theme is the deep desire we have to preserve the imagination and innocence of a child. There is something supremely special in childhood that we lose with time. We tend to stop dreaming about becoming a fireman or an astronaut; we stop playing with marbles and cars; our bike ceases to be a rapid stallion, and the tree in the middle of the park is no longer a rocket to distant worlds. We leave behind the time when a girlfriend was a soft whisper and never a kiss. That age when our “whys” would not let people rest. To grow up eventually becomes the slow murder of the…