Michelle Gualpa Ms. Parker English 10 June 5, 2012 Imagination Out of Focus When I was really, really small, I was very imaginative. I thought the world was limitless. I could very well convince myself that a purple polka-dotted elephant could go to the moon on a flying building or that a bird could realistically deliver babies to awaiting parents. Then, when I turned seven, I found out that most of the kids in my class believed in Santa Claus. I didn’t know who this man was, and was very surprised to find out that he was the person who supposedly gave me my presents.
I told my fellow classmates that that was impossible because I knew that it was my family who gave me my presents, not some fat man in a red suit who went down my chimney. I didn’t even have a chimney. My classmates looked at me in horror, promptly telling me that Santa Clause was real because their mommy and daddy told them so.
I was unimpressed by their argument and told them as much. I guess you could say I really started losing my imagination when I told them that their parents lied because it was virtually impossible that one man could deliver so many presents to so many children all over the world.
The demise of my childhood imagination was really made clear when I was baby-sitting three of my cousins. They were so carefree and wild. After eating dinner, I asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up. “I’m going to be an astronaut and see all the stars and planets in outer space! ” “I’m going to be a vet! Animals are so cute! ” “I’m going to be the president of the United States. ” The last one who answered me was a small, six-year-old boy who was surprisingly confident in his response.
I smiled and told him that he could be whatever he wanted. But then I immediately thought: what if I’m filling him with false hopes? After all, it’s not very probable that he actually would become the president. Reflecting on that moment, I wonder why I was so quick to think that my cousin, with his high expectations, could not do whatever he wanted. Why did I immediately assume that this was an unrealistic goal for him? What had happened to the little girl I used to be, the one who would have readily accepted his, now, seemingly improbable dream?
When I was younger, my parents bought me as many books as they could, hoping to fill my little brain with as much knowledge as possible before I started school. Before I was born, a friend of my dad’s gave my parents an early present for me. It was a colorful little book called The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. From what I remember, it was an outlandish book with talking animals and plants and an imaginative little prince. The little prince was the main character of the book, the clear protagonist, and he was my favorite.
Pure and innocent, he was a clear foil to the other characters, which mainly consisted of adults with multiple weaknesses and boring personalities. Not once did I question the absurdity of the book, simply believing that a fox, a snake, and a flower could talk. I can’t do that anymore. It doesn’t matter if I deny it; the truth is I am growing up. I exchanged my love for imagining things in favor of studying, so that I could meet the expectations that I thought my parents had for me. I became serious, losing the easygoing humor that I had been known for among my family.
I would have disappointed the little prince. He would have been just as dismayed with me as he was with the narrator, and would probably tell me, tu parles comme les grandes personnes: “you talk just like the grown-ups! ” (20). It’s too true, which makes me quite disappointed in myself. I don’t want to act like this, like an uninteresting young adult, only concerned with going to a reasonable college, following a reasonable career path, and having a reasonable, dull life. Becoming an adult scares me.
When I was a little kid, sure, I wanted to grow up and get taken seriously. But now, all I want is to go back in time and become a carefree kid again, able to immerse myself in books by adults who have managed to keep their imagination from dying out and use it to write out new worlds to get lost in. In The Little Prince, the narrator also speaks against unimaginative adults. The narrator made two drawings of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant and showed both of them to the grown-ups, but they didn’t understand what he was trying to show them.
The grown-ups then proceeded to tell him that it was time he devote himself to “matters of importance”: geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. The narrator was forced to smother his passion for art and, instead, become a sensible man. In the same way, I too feel like I had been forced to grow up faster than my peers. I always wanted to achieve great things, for myself and for my parents. Just like the narrator, I also have a passion for the arts, drawing specifically. I wanted to be a comic artist when I was a little kid.
Unfortunately, it’s not the most realistic profession to pursue, given “the starving artist” stereotype. So I settled for the ordinariness of math, with all of its figures. The problem is that I don’t like math; I just dislike it less than other sensible subjects, like history and geography. The little prince, and even the narrator, would have frowned at this because “figures are a matter of indifference” (12). There is hope for the narrator, who, after deciding that he didn’t want to forget the impressionable little prince, begins to draw again.
He accepts that he has had to grow up, but still tries to recapture the imagination from his youth by remembering the little prince, with an imagination that stretched beyond entire worlds. He must be given credit for his achievement; lost imagination is hard to get back. Perhaps I’ll pick up a pencil and let myself doodle on the margins of my school notes. Maybe it will come naturally, like an old friend. Then again, it may just run away, hard to grasp after years of lack of use. Like the narrator, I can only fumble along and hope to do the best that I can (13). Imagination is such a fickle thing.
Cite this The Little Prince and the Loss of Childhood Imagination
The Little Prince and the Loss of Childhood Imagination. (2017, Jan 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-little-prince-and-the-loss-of-childhood-imagination/