how an adult can interpret this book
It’s very difficult for me to answer the questions “what my favorite thing is”, actually I hate questions like that. Why? Well, I don’t like choosing a favorite. I have many things that I favor that make me happy. Each experience is different and can be equally good, there is no one “best”. If it will be necessary to specify one thing, it will be forced. I used to respond under pressure and choose something from the list that I like more. I thought that since everyone has something favorite, I must have also. Then I realized that I should answer in harmony with myself. So I don’t have a favorite song, movie, dish, place I’ve visited, color. I like it a lot on an equal level and that’s it. My tastes and choices depend on the day, mood, and other circumstances.
However, there is one thing that I have never hesitated to answer. For many years, when I was asked about my favorite book, without any doubts I was answering “The Little Prince”.
The Little Prince is a book that I read many times as a child. When I was a kid I treated it as a fairy tale. It saw on its beauty, emotions, mysticism. I wanted to come back and read it again and again. I treated the story exactly as it was. I also returned to it several times in adulthood. Then I discovered its metaphorical and hidden content, dedicated to adults. I also got the feeling that it could be interpreted in many ways.
It has been a long time since I read the book “The Little Prince”. I decided to come back to it and see what hidden content I can find.
Chapter 1 – How adults destroy creativity in kids and cause trauma
On the first page appears the story about drawing a snake. The world of adults versus the world of children. The child draws a snake that has been eaten by an elephant. The imagination is at work and it recreates the event. The people to whom the boy shows the picture see the hat. They also ignore his question about “are you scared? “. The first unconscious, hidden criticism and the first attack on the ability to express yourself exactly as you want. Feeling of misunderstanding. An adult does not think to ask, for example, “please explain to me why it is scary for you, why did you have this feeling.” The adult did not think about what actually caused the fear in the child. The kid wouldn’t have asked for the sensation of being scary for no reason.
The child looks for approval, he wants to impress adults and he decided to draw again. Perhaps he wants praise for his abilities. He would like to hear that he paints great, in order to continue to develop himself in drawing. Or maybe he is drawing again, because the information that he found about such a terrible situation as snakes eating all elephants, causes in him an inexpressible fear, that he wants to make others see. It is therefore expressed through art. He draws a snake and an elephant literally, thereby losing something of the first creativity. Adults do not understand that they have killed some prime call of a natural need to express themselves exactly as it goes from us.
Now, the child also faces another unpleasant situation – another misunderstanding of his art and adults again do not notice his feeling of fear. In addition he received criticism, orders and totalitarianism. Hidden, of course, expressed in words of concern. Adults make it clear that they want the child to give up drawing and become unfit for it. Going deeper, adults conveys that you shouldn’t feel emotion.
Such a small situation, that no one notices, and the child is traumatized, although he does not know and may never discover it. Adults are authority, they want everybody to be equal to them. The kid rejects the need to draw, feels not good enough on it. Perhaps if this inconspicuous situation doesn’t happen, the child could grow up to be an artist and a very creative person. Maybe in the future, he wouldn’t have internal conflict with his emotions as well. Maybe he would avoid trying to try to be like others and he would be more individualist.
Adults rationalize the child. It has to be equal to them, try to become the same as them. The boy chooses a profession of a pilot, in which geography is useful -a subject suggested by others. Now he impresses adults.
However, an accident from childhood and being misunderstood is never forgotten. Internally, he believes that he is right. His childhood drawings are important. As an adult man examines his interlocutors. He notices that others see him as smart when he focuses only on usual things. He feels incomprehensible in the interpretation of his art, no one sees deeper meanings and metaphorical sense. He gives up. He hides his nature. He becomes like the others.
How many of us have lost ourselves as a result of not being fully understood in childhood and not finding people who will understand us in the adult world? How many of us have given up true hobbies, which could be really good and above the level, because the world around us has destroyed our self-confidence? How many of us have the undefined conviction that we were right after all and that we are hiding our true needs?
Chapter 2 – The power of imagination
The pilot passion does not expire. He doesn’t forget about the misunderstanding. He feels lonely in the adult world. Some real parts of him continue to exist, even hidden, even when nobody notices it.
The pilot draws The Little Prince, that he met in the desert. The pilot is critical for his drawing. It may be evidence of how deeply his childhood trauma is. He also says that it’s not his fault that he didn’t learn to draw, because his desires were killed in his earliest years. The incident when he was a little boy made him feel unjustly guilty. As a child, he felt guilty that drawing was unwise, that expressing emotions in his own creative way should not be happening. This guilt exists in him and returns in a situation that reminds him of his childhood – when he has to draw something.
The author mentions the mystery, despite the absurdity of the current threatening situation. We can apply this sentence to many aspects of life. Many times we are drawn to mysteries, situations that we do not understand, opposing messages, and being lost from the perspective of logic. Despite the lurking danger, we succumb.
The pilot finds in the Little Prince a person who understood him, read his drawing, drawings which were important to him, and ignored by others. In addition, he draws a lamb for him. The boy accepts only the metaphorical presentation of the lamb. It’s a box with a hidden animal. Drawing gives him a lot to think about, stimulates his imagination. The situation shows that a lack of realistic imagery can do much more. It can stimulate the innermost areas of our imagination.
There is also the issue of communication – not listening to the other person and not answering questions by the Little Prince.
Chapter 3 – Control is it necesarry to use it?
Panic about drawing returns again when the pilot is thinking about drawing the plane. It’s too difficult, there is a fear that he will not do it well, it may be better not to try at all.
The prince comes from a metaphorical another planet, he has fallen from heaven. Seeing a related soul in the pilot, he thinks the same thing happened to him. This may testify to their loneliness in the world of rationalism, where it lacks a higher, heavenly meaning. They exist in their own world of beauty and imagination. Walking and learning about the earth is a fall from heaven. Both the pilot and the Little Prince have fallen from heaven, their own heaven.
Again, there is the problem of the Little Prince not listening, not answering questions. He focuses more on what he wants to say. The pilot guesses from the context where the boy is from. It’s a constant problem of talking about two different things. There is a problem in communication, listening to each other.
The Little Prince do not admire the plane, He is not like adults. Racional things are no so much important for him.
The pilot suggests to the Little Prince that he can draw a rope and a stake so that the lamb does not run away. This is where the adult mentality emerges. The rope and the stake are a symbol of control, the belief that if you do not look after the lamb, it will be disobedient or in danger. It is caring through bondage. The boy is surprised by this suggestion and asks where the lamb could escape, he does not like this idea. You can see a typical reaction to attempts to enslave someone seen through the prism of an innocent person – a child.
There is also the well-known phrase “Straight ahead you can’t go very far..” Perhaps this means that running away is not working. By running away, going straight without a specific destination, you go nowhere. There will always be something in our way. You have to think about where to go instead of going blind.
It may also be a sign that others should be allowed to act freely. They won’t get too far by running away. Or maybe they even do not escape, when you do not control them. Moreover, they should learn from their mistakes.
Chapter 4 – Outside appearance or inner world -what is more important?
There are many more planets than those named and defined in the world of science. We can apply this to other spaces – the inner worlds of the people. Scientists call them stars. Science is also wrong, it does not notice everything. The planets are named by number. There is a mathematization of the surrounding world and an attempt to look into numerical systems. However, not everything can be determined by numbers.
The book says about the story of a scientist who was strangely dressed, and his discovery was not believed. This shows another absurdity of the adult world – judging by appearance and clothing, without looking deeper into a person’s interior. Some people are disqualified just because they are different from others. We become unbelievable. The scientist’s discovery was considered correct when the dictator ordered the entire country from the scientist were come from to change the way of wearing clothes. It is the forced adaptation to the rest of the word, if not they will no listen to us, even what we have to say is something important. If you want to be accepted – you have to become the same as others and follow the same standards. There is nonsense of the same discovery – the person’s appearance. The truth is interpreted on illogical factors that affect it. What does not affect the real scientific discovery, in true changes its status and perception?
Another truth about the adult world is how they perceive others. To get to know someone, they ask about purely mathematical and rationalist issues, that do not reflect the true essence of a person as someone individual. He is judged through the prism of family, money, appearance; instead of focusing on his interests, the things he likes, how he expresses his opinion. This is how parents judge their child’s friends, thus teaching them certain patterns. They do not show him to look into the depths of others, but to judge by superficial points.
Similar is with describing things. For example, someone is talking about a lovely house with flowers and pigeons. The image of true beauty is not captured by adults. On the other hand, they perceive the home for its high monetary value. Since it costs a lot, it must be great. It is the shallowness and materialism of the world.
For adults it is also not important that the Little Prince was beautiful, he smiled, he wanted to have a friend, but the important is the mathematical definition of his planet number. To prove that something happened, emotions that accompany are ignored, adults concentrate on pure dry facts.
The book also mentions the value of friendship, which is precious, unforgettable. Unfortunately, many people forget about friendship and focus only on mundane matters.
The pilot returns to his passion for drawing. He still doesn’t forget that it was what he really wanted to do. The childhood complexes are echoing again – he is not sure if his drawings are good.
He says, “I am wandering in the darkness of my memories, and as a result, I am mistaken in very fundamental things.” Even though years have passed, he remembers a friend. However, time blurs memories, blurs the past. Blurs how everything was. It is impossible to recreate everything in the same form. Important points are often forgotten.
He mentions the Little Prince as a person who does not explain exactly what he means. The Little Prince is convinced that he and the pilot are the same. We often believe that others think the same as we do. However, the other person may perceive the world completely differently. In fact, many times our vision differs from the vision of another person.
Seeing the drawing of the box, the adult pilot has a problem finding the lamb. Seeing what is hidden and invisible for an eye becomes difficult. He has lost something of his imagination – what the Little Prince has.
Chapter 5 – Toxic babobabs that destroy the planet of our lives
The pilot slowly gets to know the Little Prince and his world. He learns more and more about him.
In the book appears a theme of destructive baobabs and lambs. If the lambs will eat the baobab shoots when they are small, baobabs will not grow and destroy the planet.
There are different seeds on the planet, just like in every human being – good and bad. The Little Prince allows only the good ones to thrive on his planets – such as a rose or a radish. We can apply this to ourselves. We should focus on developing our good sides.
The development of the beans is slow. First, they are hidden, dormant. At certain times they wake up. The same is our whole personality and our hidden interior. Every aspect, like a plant on a prince’s planet, develops slowly. Each shoot is vulnerable at the beginning and must be identified very early in order to eradicate it.
The entire ground of the planet is polluted with terrible grains. When it is recognized too late, the baobab can take the entire planet and destroy it with its roots. And if there are many baobabs, they can tear it apart completely. This can be a reference both to bad and destructive behavior that needs to be eradicated in ourselves right at the start when we notice it. It can be also to other people’s behavior that can also be destructive to us. If their evil seed is planted in us, it is inconspicuous at first, but with time it bursts and kills us inside and out. Many baobabs can even destroy us completely – and therefore a toxic person in our environment destroys us from all sides. Many baobabs can also become a symbol of the many toxic people around us.
The little prince knows the rules of preventing bad seeds from growing. This should be done every day on a regular basis, never ignored. The problem is when the shoots are small they are hard to recognize if they are good or bad. It’s just like destructive behavior – at first, it is often difficult to distinguish from the right one.
It can also be a metaphor for work – regular but boring, when done diligently brings results, has a deeper meaning for us, protects our lives. Skipping work and postponing it can also be a disaster.
The Little Prince wants to share his valuable advice with us. Even three shoots of baobabs destroyed one of the planets. We disregard and do not notice the risks in time. We ignore evil at first and it seems normal to us, and it is dangerous.
The pilot follows the advice and makes drawings that can warn you. He is worried about others and even to draw it sounds to be difficult for him, he is drawing; because he knows his work is essential and important to help others. He is driven by an inner necessity that he should share his valuable knowledge with others.
Chapter 6 – Sunshines, lonliness and reflection
The Little Prince, a very sensitive little man, is lonely on his own planet. He watches sunsets, which are his only entertainment. He loves beauty.
Here comes a very beautiful quote, “You know, when it’s very sad you love sunsets.”
The book also mentions the difference between what is on Earth and what exists on the prince’s planet. The Little Prince can watch the sunset at once on his planet, and we have to wait for it on the ground. At home, he can watch the sunsets all the time, he only moves the chair.
There are no patterns for him – if he wants beauty right now, he can have it immediately. It goes beyond the usual patterns.
Let’s take a deeper look into this situation – people search and follow something all over the world without realizing that the beautiful stuff is so close to us. You can have them repeatedly. You have to find a way to do that.
When you are alone and lonely it is to be always associated with feeling sadness? This can be deduced from the message of the book. A lonely Little Prince immerses himself in communing with nature that fills the void.
The Little Prince, when asked about his sadness on the day he watched the sunset 43 times, keeps silent and avoids talking about emotions. How often does this happen to us? When something is negative, we want to keep it to ourselves and not share details with others.
The Little Prince is artistic inspiration for many people. Below you can find a link for drawings inspired by the book.