Half a year ago I read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I enjoyed the book greatly and was surprised at its symbolism. As I opened it up the first time I expected a children’s story. Some children might enjoy it, but I think its best audience is that of adults who have forgotten about love and how to have a child-like heart. After I finished the story I journaled about it, so I thought this would be a great time to share with you my favorite quotes from the book, followed by my thoughts about each.
September 8, 2011
I read The Little Prince this afternoon in the cool breeze of autumn on our sunny porch. I was undisturbed the whole time except for a cranky squirrel who I whispered at through the trees. He left me alone after a while.
The story has several depths, many insights and symbols. A theme running through the whole book is the beauty of keeping an open mind, as a child does. But even the Little Prince, who’s careful to keep an open mind makes some assumptions and prejudiced decisions without realizing it. The point is, we should all try to keep our minds open, in wonderment and faith as a child typically does.
“It took me a long time to learn where he came from. The little prince, who asked me so many questions, never seemed to hear the ones I asked him. It was from words dropped by chance that, little by little, everything was revealed to me.” (This reminds me of myself, I ask many questions, but don’t say much about myself when I meet new people.)
“’I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset now . . . you know—one loves the sunset, when one is very sad.’
‘Were you so sad, then? On the day of the forty-four sunsets?’
But the little prince made no reply.”
“Perhaps I am a little like the grown-ups. I have had to grow old.”
“It is truly useful since it is beautiful.”
On Friendship and Love . . .
“The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deed and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her . . . I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her . . .” (I like the picture of women this shows and how a young man can lose her love if he doesn’t take the time to understand her.)
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things already made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends anymore. If you want a friend, tame me . . .”(This reminds me very much of what I told someone about friendships last month.)
“There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . .” (When I read about the flower I was reminded of girl/women and thought that it probably referred to a girlfriend or wife. Once I finished the book I read what some of the symbolism was in case I missed it. I learned that the author really was symbolizing his wife with the flower.)
“To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures . . .”
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”(This quote and the previous one: I was thinking a couple weeks ago that I didn’t want to waste my time on new friends if they weren’t going to care about me, but then I did come back and say to myself that I knew kindness, and relationships are never a waste of time, it’s just my sense of security I’m afraid to let go of. This quote sums up nicely what I was thinking then and in the poem I wrote this morning. It’s the time spent, the security lost, and the faith given which makes the friendship what it is.)
“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed” (But so often people neglect this responsibility and end up hurting the tamed heart.)
“Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”(Yes, because the heart is invisible and that which is linked to the heart is of utmost importance.)
“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.”(This is so true when you’re in love with someone whether it be God, your child, or fiancée—relationships make any random sight, sound or taste more beautiful, melodious and delicious. Beauty is especially powerful when surrounded with good memories . . . in this way it’s like a book: The more times you read a good book, the better it gets because you have the memories of your past readings to go along with it.)
“It has done me good, because of the color of the wheat fields.” (Friendship is sweet even when you must say goodbye, for a good friend makes your life more beautiful for ever and ever.)