What is the dominant element of The Little Prince by Saint-Exupery ?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The author of Le Petit Prince, French aviator Antoine Saint-Exupery, once declared, "Etre homme, c'est etre responsable."  That is, "To be man means to be responsible."  Even this statement is minimalist, demonstrating the prevalent element of his famous work.  And, though it is ostensibly a children's book, St. Exupery makes several deeply profound comments about life and human nature.  In fact, the narrative's theme is stated by the fox who tells the little prince,

On ne voit pas bien que avec le coeur. L'essential est invisible pour les yeux. [One can only really perceive with the heart.  What is essential is invisible to the eyes.]

This simple, but poetic language that teaches morals as it exposes the weaknesses of human nature is what makes Saint-Exupery's Le Petit Prince a favorite of child and adult alike.  In addition, the tone of sincerity of this novella emanates from the reality of St.-Exupery's experiences of when he flew treacherous mail routes across the Sahara and the Andes, experiences that he also recorded in his memoirs, Terre des hommes.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As far as "elements" in terms of the author's literary style the dominant one would be simplicity or minimalist language.

The language is simple enough as it is spoken from the point of view of a child. The words, metaphors, and comparisons are easily understood and quite simple, so everyone can feel what the Little Prince feels.

But underneath this simplistic language there is a very deep tale of existentialist analysis and metaphysical, internal, near-spiritual, and psychological self-awareness.

All this, however, is easily infused with simplicity and innocence, and that is the element that actually drives most readers to enjoy Le Petit Prince so much.

Read the study guide:
The Little Prince

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question