Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In 1926, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry embarked on a career as an airline pilot for the aviation company that eventually became Air France. His memories of adventurous and fulfilling years as a pilot and, to a lesser degree, his experiences as a newspaper reporter at the front during the Spanish Civil War constitute the raw material for the varied and isolated episodes of this work. It is a memoir in the form of a novel, although it lacks continuity of action and does not disguise its autobiographical orientation. However, the brilliance of the imagery, the epic proportions of the narration, and above all, the unity of meaning that fuses together the episodes, transform the work beyond pure autobiography or memoir.
Despite the legendary aspect of the pilot’s exploits, the tone of the work is one of sobriety and modesty. For Saint-Exupéry, courage in its highest conception comes from a sense of responsibility. When courage becomes temerity, tempting death for the sake of vanity and excitement, it serves no moral purpose and therefore should be condemned. For this reason, toreadors do not elicit the admiration of the narrator of Wind, Sand, and Stars, a memoir in novel form. Toreadors seek primarily the glory of one Sunday afternoon, whereas the sacrifices of the pilots who carry the mail are performed out of a feeling of chosen and accepted duty. Those who carry out a dangerous mission conscientiously, quietly, and to its final conclusion discover...
(The entire section is 1309 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Wind, Sand and Stars Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!