Wednesday, October 17, 2007
While the world over is bent on burning figuratively all existing literatures in order to cleanse humans of their emotions, I found a single book which should not be burned based on its universality of speech, literary value and relevance to our time. I’m speaking of the charming French novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
The many translations of The Little Prince attest to the universal speech it uses to communicate significant human experiences. No matter what tongue it appears in, the book speaks a language that’s basic to everyone: the humanity in humans. Whether one speaks English or Spanish, Mandarin or Swahili, French or Filipino, The Little Prince employs a common speech that says of love, friendship, and other such things that are far from grown-ups’ concept of matters of consequence. Also, the language the book uses is universal in that readers both young and old get to understand, enjoy and appreciate its contents. Whether one is eight or eighty-eight, he can respond well to the insights being communicated by the book.
The Little Prince’s literary value is so remarkable that to burn the book is committing injustice to the whole of humanity. Written in simple and fluid poetic grace, the book is able to reflect that which is reflected in all good literatures: life. Like the grown-ups that the little prince had met along the way before he reached the earth, most people tend to value things that have short-term or senseless effects on their lives, from prestige to money to social status. This book is distinguished for its capacity to offer insights into the human condition like the invisibility of life’s essentials, the wise necessity of correct self-judgment, and the value of love ones.
The Little Prince has relevance to our time when the whole world is obsessed about pretty follies like material things, fame, skepticism, among other things. It provides a dose for all humans for them to become more introspective and sincere about the matters that are important to them. Because of the world’s current obsessions, it is not free because what it takes for things of consequence is actually a series of monotonous work that takes the life out of human existence. With the book around, humans may have a time to philosophize whether what they pursue are indeed what should give them fullness and happiness. The present world is lacking understanding; The Little Prince possesses relevant truths that make human life all the more worthy of living.
The Little Prince should not be burned. It should be preserved so readers may learn to see a different way of looking at the world.