"The Little Prince" is still the most widely translated book in the French language. Vastly different from Saint-Exupery’s other writings, this story of wisdom and wonder is cleverly disguised as a children’s book. It’s not a book to be described, but experienced on many levels. Part of the appeal of the book is in its charming watercolors executed by the author. Among its many themes are the importance of love and friendship, the ignorance of "grownups" who do not understand the difference between "matters of importance" and trivialities, mission, duty, and the fragility of joy. Written in New York, the book is filled with ironic jibes at American culture and its hurried, materialistic society. German philosopher Martin Heidegger regarded "The Little Prince" as one of the great existentialist books of the century. "Life is a comedy for him who thinks, and a tragedy for him who feels," wrote Jonathan Swift. Saint- Exupery was both a thinker and a feeler, so he was full of both humor and sadness, as was "The Little Prince."
Perhaps one of the most valuable interpretations of "The Little Prince" is to apply it to your inner life. This is a book to savor. Read it over and over. It’s bound to incite you to write, so you may want to think about stopping for freewrites. You may find the tale sufficiently haunting to engage in some spiritual searching of your own. Can you see sheep through the walls of boxes? Have you ever been stranded in your own inner desert? Can you live with the uncertainty and tension of opposing forces? And despite sorrow and longing, can you find laughter in the stars? Ellen Moore