Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Le Petit Prince

For the second time in my life I am reading Le Petit Prince. The first time I read it I was in grade 12 and sadly missed all but one or two of the life lessons entrenched in the novel. Now, as an older (and ideally wiser) adult I am re-reading it. My French is not that great and so I stumble and fall over certain words and phrases but what strikes me about this novel from the very beginning is that it cannot be classified. It is not just for kids, adolescents or adults. The best way to describe it, I think, is to say that it is a life novel for anyone who has lost their path and forgotten what’s important in life.

Le Petit Prince travels through the universe visiting various planets and meeting the inhabitants on these planets. Each one of these individuals provides the prince with insight into human nature. The prince is a child on the cusp of adulthood but he is not ready to lose his childish curiosity, the vastness of his dreams, his friends and the essential characteristics that make him who he is. In essence, Le Petit Prince is a boy who doesn’t want to grow up and is looking for redeemable qualities in adults to convince himself that becoming “une grande personne” is not a bad thing. In his quest to remain a child he teaches the reader a variety of significant lessons about life. Here are a few memorable quotes from the book including my rough translations:

Je lui parlais de bridge, de golf, de politique et de cravates. Et la grande personne était bien contente de connaître un homme aussi raisonnables.

I spoke to him of golf, politics and bow ties and the big person was happy to know another who was also reasonable.

Le petit prince rencontre l’homme vaniteux:

Qu’est-ce que signifie admirer?

Admirer signifie reconnâitre que je suis l’homme le plus beau, le mieux habillé, le plus riche et le plus intelligent de la planète.

Mais tu es seul sur la planète!

Fais-moi ce plaisir. Admire-moi quand-même.

Je’t’admire, dit le petit prince, en haussant un peu les épaules, mais en quoi cela peut-il bien t’interesser?

– What does it mean to be admired?

– Being admired means that I am the most beautiful, the best dressed, the richest and the most intelligent on the planet.

– But you are alone on the planet!

– Give me this pleasure and admire me anyways.

– I admire you said the small prince shrugging his shoulders but how can that interest you?

Le petit prince rencontre le buveur:

Pourquoi bois-tu? Lui demande le petit prince.

Pour oublier, répondit le buveur.

Pour oublier quoi…

Pour oublier que j’ai honte…

Honte de quoi?…

Honte de boire…

– Why do you drink? Asked the small prince.

– To forget responded the alcoholic.

– To forget what?

– To forget that I am embarrassed.

– Embarrassed of what?

– Embarrassed of drinking.

Je ne connais pas beaucoup de français mots mais merci pour lisais mon poste! Le Petit Prince c’est un livre extraordinaire si vous avez le temps, lire le roman! Prochaine, je vais lire le Alchemist by Paulo Coelho en français.

I don’t know very many french words but thank you for reading my post! Le Petit Prince is an extraordinary novel and if you have the time please do read it. Next, I will be reading the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in french (and in English!).

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