Review of The Little Prince (1943)
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (writer).
Read in 2018.
An aviator crashes in the desert, meeting an alien on a quest for sheep.
Saint-Exupéry’s technique was careful, paring the story down to the minimum required to support a dubious symbolism. Although the technique itself is excellent, the book is almost blindly flattering of childish naïveté and its lessons aren’t good. All adults except the narrator are thin caricatures.
The little prince learns that his rose, symbolic of a wife, is special because he has spent a lot of time on it. This is the sunk cost fallacy, a poor life lesson. The narrative is also peppered with existentialism: The narrator exclaims it is absurd to look for a well in a desert and then finds one. This seems to mean nothing. It might be an allusion to Genesis 21:19, but that wouldn’t help it.
References here: Schrödinger’s 君.