14 mayo, 2012

The Little Prince, the rose garden ❁

[Note: Featured in Fan Art Friday #2 at The Little Prince Official. Thank you!]

I have been working in this piece in my bits of free time since January, and it has been the piece in which I worked through while my heart was deeply wounded and changed.

But it happened that after walking for a long time through sand, and rocks, and snow, the little prince at last came upon a road. And all roads lead to the abodes of men. (…) He was standing before a garden, all abloom with roses. (…) The little prince gazed at them. They all looked like his flower. (…) And he was overcome with sadness. His flower had told him that she was the only one of her kind in all the universe. And here were five thousand of them, all alike, in one single garden! (…)"I thought that I was rich, with a flower that was unique in all the world; and all I had was a common rose (…) That doesn't make me a very great prince . . .". And he lay down in the grass and cried.
- A. de Saint- Exupèry, The Little Prince, Chapter XX.

I love The Little Prince, and I have always wanted to re-illustrate the story according to the echoes it awakes in me.
This sketch came to me while watching an amazing moment of the new series:
(roughly translated)

Fox: These roses have thorns!
Little prince: It is their way of defending themselves.
Little prince: What do you want this time?!
Snake: Me? I simply want to invite you to admire these magnificent roses around you. Do you know boy that, if you wished it, all of them could be yours?
Roses: (whispers)
Little prince: But I… But I already have my rose.
Snake: But it is only one! It is too little… isn’t it? Here you have thousands of them.
Little prince: … They are wonderful! Thousands of roses! (…)
Fox: Yes… But your rose is unique! She taught you little prince, and you taught her.

-The little prince, episode 8.

The new series are lovely. Weak in some ways, like the simplification of the Snake in a villain or the change of character of the Fox into the comic relief; I feel it forgets about the book sometimes… It has, however, some interesting things, like the inclusion of the Dark Thoughts (I give that same name to the thoughts that push me into hopelessness). This sequence is the best thing from all I have seen so far. It had me stopping the recording and watching it over for three times before going on with the episode.

That is why I wanted to start with this scene. It refers to the essential conflict of the book, which is showed during chapters XX and XXI.


How I show it?

In the piece, the little prince is admiring a concave rosebush full of different roses. His heart is as empty as the rose he is holding, because the way in which he is looking, filling his heart with perplexity and sadness, is empty of true love. Not only he is making his worth (his princeness) depend on his possessions, he is also pondering the interchangeability and disposability of his rose.
One could think that it is not that his heart is empty but that is innocent, but that is a main ingredient of the trap: thinking innocence is an absence, a lacking, instead of a presence.

The rosebush is not really rooted on the land, it lacks deepness, and it only lies on the floor. It is beautiful, but its parts don’t really have relation between themselves, they are only juxtaposed. Thorns are not showed on it because the roses are being looked at as objects, defined by what they can provide (what can be taken from them). Therefore, to prefer them above something with thorns seems to be easy... and safe. This roses look like something that would keep you from being vulnerable, something that can make you an owner, a contracting part of a transaction. Because of its lack of roots the rosebush is connected with the inconsistence of the Dark Thoughts (which confuse what is with what is not).
The Dark Thoughts raise the little prince. But is a fake rising, with no height, because they are separating him from the floor and keeping him from experiencing the vertical tension of something tall. It is the cut of a bond (the reality of the place and moment where he stands) that can give the illusion of a state of exception, of the possibility of acting without consequence.
The neckerchief that covers the little prince’s chest takes the colour and shape of the Dark Thoughts.

The little prince is dressed in his princely clothes to show how what is taking place here is of the outmost importance. To show that, in his true character as a prince, he is called to belong to the stars, but that he might betray and lose all that in his answer to this conflict.

The little prince inclines forward, concavely, making the space with the rosebush a closed “inside” (hance, a fake inside), a space reduced to itself. This action makes him lose sight of the actual Height, the Openness, the Exteriority.

He gives his back to the stars and to the image of the Rose -the one that lives in the stars even when it can’t be seen-, appears like a sun composed of a complexity of totalities (circles) that connect things and that are coherently integrated into a shape full of sense. Its presence opens the closeness of the garden and connects the Inside with an Outside that ultimately stays out of the scene, mysterious among the starts. And she does all this without needing to be places in the centre.

The story:

The Little Prince is an awesome story about what is truly essential.
The little prince is not a proper Prince after all. He is little. In the first half of his story this smallness is a smallness of the heart; only in the second half (after the domesticated Fox givess him The Secret) this smallness refers to the inmensity of a child. He doesn’t start his voyage being referred to as a child, after all he ran away. He spent the first part of his story running away and the rest of it trying to find the way back. But there’s no way back when you run away and that task is going to claim for his life: he will have to prefer coming back to the Rose over his own life in order to, maybe, achieving it.

Thi raises serious questions. Why prefer a person? To bond, create exclusive relationships, is not to somehow become impoverished? It is not to limit the richness and versatility we are capable of? Isn’t it very inconvenient? It is not to imply the lie that this person is not but another one of a many? And, doing it a-conditionally, isn’t that way too risky? To give yourself to someone just because that person is that person and not for all that you can get and receive, and the incredible act of trust of being vulnerable to someone… All that requires way too much courage!
The Snake in this episode I talked about before could have very well added some things like: “you are too young to compromise yourself that much, you still have plenty of things to see and do, to experiment, before limiting yourself”, “your rose is far away and these ones are here, where you need them”, “why taking only one when you can take all these? Wouldn’t you be a much more magnificent prince, much more authentic, if you had plenty? ”, or “aren’t all of them roses after all? What makes yours better? Are you pretending these uglier or less perfumed than yours? Because you know that’s not true…”

From the other end of this question, when you love truly, deeply, humbly, when you choose with all intention to need someone, then you ask yourself why this person prefers you above all others. After all, you can’t offer the world, just yourself, and you are nothing but another person (and not the best); moreover, the wholest you give yourself the less you have, because you loose yourself (in terms of ownership) in the act of giving yourself.

Then… why?

The solving of this is the big question of this story.

Until next time.
God bless,
ღ Leticia

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