What are the advantages of the point of view Saint-Exupery uses in The Little Prince?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Little Prince is written in the first person point of view. This point of view is distinguished from the other types in that we distinctly see the word "I" appear in the narrative. In other words, we see all of the action of the story from the narrator's perspective, who is also an active participant in the story. In a sense, the reader becomes one with the narrator. In The Little Prince, it is the pilot who has crash landed in the desert who is the narrator.

One advantage to a first person point of view is that the reader is given the opportunity to doubt the truthfulness of the narrator's account. Since the whole story is told solely from the narrator's perspective, and everyone can be guilty of having a flawed perspective, the reader sees that what the narrator is saying may not quite be complete objective truth. For example, it is questionable as to whether or not the narrator actually encountered the little prince in the desert. After all, the pilot has just crash-landed in the Sahara Desert with barely enough drinking water to last a week. It is possible, and it has been widely speculated by literary critics, that the little prince the pilot conversed with is actually just a mirage.

The second advantage is that the first person point of view makes it very clear that this is a story of self-discovery for the pilot and not just for the little prince. As the pilot gets to know the prince and learn about all the things he has experienced and learned, the pilot has his own self-awakening. One of the story's central themes is spiritual enlightenment. The little prince gains spiritual enlightenment by realizing that it is the spiritual things that matter most, such as his love for his rose, rather than the physical things. Likewise, the pilot who was discouraged at a young age from developing his imagination, creativity, and pursuing his dreams also learns from the prince that he is right to reject the self-centered materialism of this world and to believe that there is a higher truth and the possibility of reaching "true understanding" (Ch. 1). The pilot was able to feel a kinship with the little prince that he was never able to feel before due to his own way of seeing the world. In fact, we learn in the second chapter that the pilot lived his life alone, "without anyone that [he] could really talk to," until the prince appeared in the Sahara (Ch. 2). Therefore, we see that the book is written in the first person in order to show us the narrator's revelations as well as the prince's.

mary2161 | Student

The point of view is first person point of view.  This means that the narrator is the main character.  The advantage of this is that we know all that the main character knows.  In the first chapter he describes how his character was influenced by "the grown ups" reactions to his drawing.  We see his alienation from adulthood.  He is able to interact with the Little Prince and understand him because of this.  The story of the Prince is told with more of an understanding than if this were written in third person point of view.  The narrator understands and is sympathetic to the Prince.  That makes the story more immediate to the reader.