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What differentiates adults from children in The Little Prince?

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datkc | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 31, 2013 at 6:01 PM via web

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What differentiates adults from children in The Little Prince?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 31, 2013 at 8:22 PM (Answer #1)

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What is interesting about the presentation of adults and children in this excellent story is the way that being an adult is described as a state of mind, and some adults are able to retain their childish perspective and are still open to the forces of imagination and creativity that the majority of adults are not aware of. This is indicated most clearly at the beginning of the tale in Chapter 1, when the narrator draws a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. Note what the adult he shows it to says about it:

But he would always answer, “That’s a hat.” Then I wouldn’t talk about boa constrictors or jungles or stars. I would put myself on his level and talk about bridge and golf and politics and neckties. And my grown-up was glad to know such a reasonable person.

The narrator here describes how he uses the picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant as a kind of indicator as to whether the adult is really an adult and dull and unimaginative, or whether he has retained some of his childlike ability to look with the eyes of imagination. The difference between being an adult and a child is not therefore based on age, but it is based on whether somebody possesses the faculty of imagination or not.

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