The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I remember the time when I used to run freely, jump carelessly, and be happy. Now, I still can run although it doesn’t make me happy, I still can jump although it makes me look like a fool. I remember the time when I used to run freely and jump carelessly without looking like a fool, and when I was always happy.

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As you start to age, the feeling or need to act youthful has diminished. You’re expected to act mature by society and do your part to help your community thrive. If you act foolish or let your inner kid out, you are looked upon as immature or grow up. In The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a book that was written in April 1943 and filmed in 2015.

You can see the main themes from Little Prince align with another book called Queer Phenomenology by Sara Ahmed. In her book, Ahmed asserts queer means odd, different, not the norm. Through the years it got to mean a colloquialism for homosexual in a derogatory fashion. It is meant as a mean word, however, gay people in a jocular fashion have been taking back the word in between themselves in an effort to take the derogatory out of the phobia. In the first chapter, Ahmed asserts:

In perceiving the object as an object, I perceive the object in a certain way, as being some kind of thing. Perceiving an object involves a way of apprehending that object. So, it is not just that consciousness directed toward objects, but also that I take different directions toward objects: I might like them, admire them, hate them, and so on. In perceiving them in this way or that, I also take a position upon them, which in turns gives me a position.

In The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry asserts the importance of seeing the whole truth in order to find beauty. He believes that visible things are only shells that hint at the real worth hidden inside. He points out that people have not learned to look beneath the surface, or have forgotten how to do so. Because adults never look inside, they will never know themselves or others. All his life, Saint-Exupéry thought that grown-ups cared mostly about inconsequential matters, such as golf and neck-ties. When they talked about important matters, they always became dull and boring. They seemed afraid to open up their hearts to the real issues of life; instead, they chose to function on a surface level.

In addition, Ahmed in her book makes us the reader notice that the most amazing thing in our entire life has always been the many and varied behaviors of people. What one might fear due to a sense of propriety another will jump into both feet first. Our personal norms are determined in a large degree by our upbringing and experience. We operate within these and usually feel comfortable there. Another might be going by a completely different set of accepted values and thus be totally oblivious to their intrusion beyond a boundary you have set. Depending upon the situation it is up to you to respond in an appropriate manner for our benefits. If not, we are running on assumptions & assumptions do no one any good in the long run. Ultimately those assumptions (when false) lead to bad feelings and bruised egos. In Chapter 3 in Queer Phenomenology, Ahmed expresses:

It is the fact that what I am oriented towards is “not me” that allows me to do this or to do that. The otherness of things is what allows me to do things “with” them. What is other than me is also what allows me to extend the reach of my body. Rather than othering being simply a form of negation, it can also be described as a form of extension. The body extends its reach by taking in that which is “not” it, where the “not” involves the acquisition of new capacities and directions-becoming, in other words, “not” simply what I am “not” but what I can “have” and “do.” The “not me” is incorporated into the body, extending its reach.

In the Little Prince, the fox teaches that one can see only what is important in life by looking with the heart. Because of this lesson, Saint-Exupéry leaves the desert as a different person. He has accepted the Little Prince’s thought that “‘the stars are beautiful because of a flower that cannot be seen.” In essence, the fox’s lesson is about how to love, a most important lesson for everybody to learn. The fox points out that it is the time that one “wastes” on someone or something that makes it important. The fox also tells the readers that love can overcome existentialism: “One only knows the things that one tames…. Men buy things already made in the stores. But as there are no stores where friends can be bought, men no longer have friends.” A human must earn a friendship, not buy it. Thus, by judging or labeling someone before even getting to know them makes you closed mind and does not allow to get the opportunity to love.

Finally, another important theme that correlates between both books is having faith in yourself. Ahmed revels to us is that believing in yourself is one of the first steps to success. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, it will be difficult to succeed in anything. By learning how to make decisions based on your experiences that you believe. If you don’t have your own thinking, you can never be successful. That believing in yourself, you will do your best, you can achieve things you never thought possible. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. Create your own life and then go out and live it. It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies. In her conclusion in Queer Phenomenology, she says:

The point is not whether we experience disorientation (for we will, and we do), but how such experiences can impact on the orientation of bodies and spaces, which is after all about how the things are “directed” and how they are shaped by the lines they follow. The point is what we do with such moments of disorientation, as well as what such moments can do- whether they can offer us the hope of new directions, and whether new directions are reason enough for hope.

The need to have faith is another theme in the movie that matches up with Ahmed’s stance. The Little Prince arrives on the Earth during a spiritually troubled phase and stays until he has resolved his confusions. During his stay, he teaches the narrator the importance of having faith and belief because without it one can be lost.

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