Why The Little Prince Is Overrated, Underrated, and Will Forever Be Loved
This weekend I read The Little Prince, and I closed the book (however this happens on kindle) and felt this eerie feeling that I missed something . . .
- What was the point?
- Why did he go away?
- What was the rose about?
- Why is his rose so important, yet so fickle and scared?
- Is this some childhood idolatry madness?
Its simplicity seemed stupefying and easily dismissed.
Yet, some points were powerful in both astute yet obvious ways:
- adults care way too much about numbers (guilty)
- the power of anticipation built through relationship
- the humor of thinking you’re truly in charge of just about anything
- drunk people getting drunk because of self-hatred over last time they got drunk (did that make sense?)
The little boy seemed to question all the logic I had ever been taught — the necessary ideas of adulthood.
Moreover, his temper tantrums made me ask myself, “How could a question about the thorns of a rose be more important than fixing a plane?”
Am I missing something here?
Am I deluded or is it the other way around?
Moments like these make the little prince underrated. The Little Prince reminded me of how much more fascinating the world is through the lens of discovery, mystery, and witnessing presence.
Yet, The Little Prince was also overrated in mind.
Could such naivety really be possible in conjunction with survival? Wasn’t the training to become a pilot, which I imagine is logical and quite rigorous, the path that led to the author’s mystical appreciation for flight?
Furthermore, isn’t it the vehicle through which he met the little prince?
Coming from a military, I like to say, “You don’t make soldiers by babying them.” The path to maturity is important.
The Little Prince doesn’t seem to discount this truth entirely. He seems to recognize this through the baobab trees, a wonderful little lesson about disciplined mornings.
There are good plants and bad plants. The bad ones must be “nipped in the bud” early (I couldn’t resist). The good ones must be tended to kindly.
Overall, we each must care for the little planet that is ourselves.
But why the ending? Why must the Little Prince go?
Maybe the lesson is good things — the moments of childish splendor — should make me more grateful and bring me laughter? Maybe it’s okay to marvel at the universe from time to time?
But I think the core of The Little Prince is this: children often don’t care what you think and they just might be right, or worse, better for it.
At the core of The Little Prince is the unsettling truth that children often don’t care what you think and they just might be right, or worse, better for it.
The Little Prince unsettled me. It made me think of all the ways I’ve de-humanized and rationalized my experience.
It made me think when I asked my girlfriend about her grandmother, “What did her voice sound like? What was she like? How would she greet you?”
Admittedly, I struggled to listen at moments, but it was a start. Why? Because of the hard-to-believe idea that maybe life is different when you look with different eyes.
I don’t know why I didn’t like the Little Prince, but I know part of me loved it. It was enchanting. It was indifferent to my opinion. It both strangely and compellingly flipped my reality for good.
For that reason, I think it will continue to remain a much-loved book for both myself and many others.