Rhetorical Analysis of Le Petit Prince Research Proposal

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¶ … Le Petit Prince

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Reading children's literature is not necessarily an easy task. Although often simple as far as language, this type of writing is challenging when it comes to tone, themes, motifs and message. This is why determining the implied reader is very important (Nodelman; Reimer 16). The implied reader is not necessarily the person the story or poem is addressed to, but the one who has the means to receive and decipher the message of the writing in question. The story is a first-person narrative of the experience of a pilot who is forced to crash land in the Sahara desert due to engine problems. The narrator, who is also the author, tells a story which takes place six years prior to the actual writing of the book. Stranded in the desert, far away from any sign of civilization, the author-narrator offers the story of a fascinating encounter with a small boy dressed like a prince. The meeting between the child and the pilot gives the former the opportunity to tell the latter about life on his planet, but also about his unconditional and endless love for the only flower able to grow on the asteroid the prince calls home. Despite the innocence and beauty of the Prince's stories, the unuttered words are perhaps even more compelling. The child's stories about the world provide the reader with a striking opposition between the adult and the child way of perceiving life and each other as parts of the world. From this point-of-view, in order for readers to grasp these differences, and resonate with the message of the story, they must become the implied reader (Ibid., 17). In other words, the readers must possess a certain body of experience and knowledge - the so-called "repertoire" - in order for them to relate to what is happening in the narration.

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Rhetorical Analysis of Le Petit Prince Assignment

Le Petit Prince" teaches its readers about love, truth, responsibility, friendship and exploration. These are its main themes. The setting of the fable carries a great deal of significance; the barren land of the Sahara Desert represents uncharted territory in the mind of the narrator. He is feeling lost and alone, and the Little Prince has the ability to teach the narrator - who, as far as we know, is an adult - about love and other values. At the same time, the desert is a metaphor for the openness and endless possibilities that life has to offer. The barren land symbolized two opposing elements. On the one hand, the climate of the desert does not encourage life; in this sense, the snake represents the evil that exists everywhere in the world. From this point-of-view, the reader becomes aware of the fact that evil needs very little in order to survive, whereas good may not be as strong. On the other hand, if one is willing to explore the barrenness of the desert, and look for water, one can find wonderful things even in the least expected places and circumstances.

As far as the message of "Le Petit Prince," one particular quote sums it up perfectly: "But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart..." (Saint-Exupery Chapter 25). As with most children's books, "Le Petit Prince" appears to be a simple story about friendship and love. From this perspective, the story seems to be solely a "text of pleasure" (Nodelman; Reimer 24). However, the purpose of the fable is much more profound. The little prince teaches the pilot about the true essence of life which grown-ups fail to see. The purpose of the prince's stories is to illuminate both the innocence, and the ability of children to perceive things as they really are. On the contrary, adults do not focus on what is truly important in life. However, the reader is provided with an explanation as to why adults cannot see with their hearts. The pilot was hurt as a child, and refused to share his dreams with anyone else ever again. Again, the barren land of Sahara provided both the exterior and the interior settings for the meeting between the child and the pilot, a meeting which allows the latter to open up again after so many years. There is a very important metaphor here; when the little prince revives the pilot with some water from the spring, he does more than just… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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