The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

What is the Little Prince? A children’s story? A fantastic tale? A youth novel? A philosophical tale? A coded message? Poetic writing?

Not so easy as it seems to answer this seemingly simple question without first examining its structure.

The narration takes place in a simple mode, but absolutely not simplistic. A childish tone emerges from the use of a minimalist lexicon, which gives the illusion of a children's repertoire, but where the words, if they are all known, for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry take on a double or even a triple identity.
This gives different levels of reading to the story. Children remaining in the ordinary meaning of words and adults perceiving a lyricism of the best kind.

This narration is segmented into 27 chapters of unequal length, each of which has great internal coherence, but which does not necessarily have much to do with the chapter directly preceding or following.
This is because each chapter deals with its own theme. It almost presents itself as an independent fable with symbolic, allegorical or metaphorical value.

The double meaning of the words creates extraordinarily poetic writing keys as we find many examples in French literature. For example, the wind becomes the long sob of a violin for Paul Verlaine or lung cancer a water lily at Boris Vian. Here too, to understand the message, you have to jump the code.

Replace "sheep" with "friendship", "snake" with "dead", "flower" with "love" or "woman" as the case may be, "baobab" with "conflict", "fox" with "wisdom", etc. , and you will get a completely different reading, certainly less poetic, but much more carrying a philosophical message addressed to adults.

20 replies on “The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry”

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