Coming of Age in The Little Prince

All grown-ups were children first (But few remember it).

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Little Prince The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is not only one of the best-selling books ever – it is also one of the best coming of age novels ever written.

The book reveals the author’s superb story that revolves around ‘The Little Prince’, a small boy who is affectionately concerned about his little home planet, which features a rose plant, two active volcanoes, and an inactive volcano. Due to his caring nature, he waters the rose daily. However, as a twist, the rose hurts him one day, which leads to the boy abandoning his own planet and the beginning of his discovering other planets. Although the author narrates the life of the little prince whimsically, it is no fanciful tale.  Rather, it is a caustic reflection of the ‘grown-ups’ who have failed to comprehend the truly important things of life.  Even before the boy leaves his planet, the author discloses his message.  But he also says that though adults may be misguided, children need to be considerate of their elders.

On his journey, the little prince moves from one planet to another and greets several different types of men. A majority of them are busily involved in so-called ‘serious activities’.  In the eyes of the prince, however, these activities are actually absurd as he gives no importance to doing things such as counting things the whole day, making maps (even though the world is yet to be seen), and ruling or owning something without any chance of attaining a joy filled life.

The Little PrinceThe explanation of today’s society that motivates this story features a combination of ‘wiggle and wisdom’, which leads the kids of today to perceive our presidents, geographers, and accountants with a new insight. The book’s message is that such men are foolish if they seek to boost their power and wisdom without spending some joyful moments within their own small kingdoms. The story takes a positive twist when the little prince finds two admirable friends while traveling from one planet to another. These two friends are a fox (who makes him understand the meaning of love) and a pilot (the author himself who is trapped in the hot sand dunes of the desert). The small boy shares everything with the pilot including that he loved the rose despite of the hurt it caused him.

The book clearly has a coming of age theme, as the author narrates how the “the grown-ups” neglect to perceive the real meaning of things because of over analysis, which keeps them from loving the things that count in life.


I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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