The Little Prince
What would your list look like if you were asked to make a list of the five most important things to have in life? That was exactly what we had to do in class today. Our QW was to list in order the five most important things to have in life. Lots of people shared their lists after quick write time. It was pretty interesting to see what everyone thought was most important. Then Mrs. Scales explained that we will be reading a book and then viewing a performance called “The Little Prince,” in which a young boy meets some adults who value power and money. The boy does not understand the world of adults and their priorities just like we didn’t understand everyone’s list of the most important five things.
As further introduction to the book, we reviewed five literary terms that we have had earlier this year:
Fantasy – a fictional genre marked by the use of imaginary characters (vampires, fairies, unicorns) or elements of the setting (red rivers, floating mountains, a chocolate forest). Our example was Twilight. We talked about the difference between Fantasy and Science Fiction as genre. If a vampire book is based more on the DNA or scientific issue of the blood it could also be considered Science Fiction. The big difference is that Science Fiction starts from a scientific idea that is depicted in a way that possibly created a world that is not real to us today.
Fable – a fictional genre in which a moral lesson is being taught. Many fables have personified animals as characters. We reviewed the Fable of King Midas that we had studied during the mythology unit earlier in the year.
Allegory – a story that has both a literal and a figurative or symbolic meaning. Our example was the short story we read earlier this year, “Rip Van Winkle”. The literal meaning of the story had to do with a nagging wife, while the figurative meaning of the nagging wife represented the King of England during the time leading up to the American Revolutionary War.
Satire – a critical humor than makes fun of someone – quick witty mocking.
Parody – created to mock, comment on, or poke fun at an original work by means of humorous imitation. A parody may use satire or irony. We talked about Saturday Nigh Live and Scary Movie being good examples of parodies.
Mrs. Scales explained that this book is going to be a fun example and review of all of those lessons. She told us that The Little Prince was first published in French in 1943 and translated into English that same year. At first glance (on the literal side), The Little Prince appears to be a children’s story with its imaginative plot and drawings. The story is of a young boy, the Little Prince, from a far away asteroid who arrives on the planet Earth after an interplanetary journey that has the markings of a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey to a specific destination for a specific purpose. In this story the boy is trying to find the meaning of life and love.
Mrs. Scales then ask, “What was going on in the world at the time this book was published?”
We were correct in answering that it was during the time of World War II. Pleased that we seemed to know a little about world events Mrs. Scales went on to explain that on a different level (the figurative or symbolic level), The Little Prince is a tale told to the adult world. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote this book while he was in exile in America. So at this point we talked about how being exiled means that someone if forced to leave and not allowed to return. France had fallen to Nazi Germany and the author couldn’t stay in his home country for fear of death. Many see the story as a warning to adults who govern and live in this world. Saint-Exupéy condemned the appeasement policy that allowed Hitler to become powerful in the decade before the war. The tale told is one of responsibility and vigilance. Things of “consequence” cannot be ignored.
Everyone was given time to review the weekly lesson plans with the reading schedule. Mrs. Scales reminded us that even though there was no homework tonight, that it is our responsibility to make sure we stay up to date with the reading schedule. That means that even if we have track on Wednesday evening and don’t think we will be able to read Wednesday night, we have to have the required amount of reading done before we come to class on Thursday. This is another one of those responsibility issues that she keeps talking about. It is our responsibility to know what is due when and make what ever adjustments we need to make to get the reading done. Her suggestions were to read during our reading lab each day.
Most classes also continued root word presentations. The BIG root word test is Thursday.