Lorraine's Reviews > The Happy Prince

The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde
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Aug 26, 11

bookshelves: fiction
Read in August, 2011

This book is about the friendship between a swallow and a statue of a Happy Prince. The Happy Prince truly was just that- happy- in life because he lead a sheltered existence. "My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness." This distinction foreshadows the story's intent to outline for us a deeper meaning in happiness. In life, the Prince was shielded from all misery. He passed, and was immortalized in the statue, which looked down upon the city.

We meet the swallow in springtime, when he falls in love with Reed. They share a summer courtship, a "ridiculous attachment," according to his fellow swallows. The flock leaves in autumn, and swallow's life is silent and lonely. He determines to change his life, and he decides to meet the flock in Egypt. He is enamoured by the fantasy of guilded tombs, jewels, and lotus flowers blooming on the Nile.

At this point our swallow meets the Happy Prince.

The Happy Prince teaches the swallow by his own example the distinction between pleasure and happiness. They come to understand life and love at God's right hand.

This story was beautiful, and I cried buckets. I find the seasons to represent the seasons of human life, and we are the swallow. The Happy Prince came to me as God's voice within each of us. We can chose the birds' eye view of our cities, acknowledging suffering and doing what we can to help, or we can be like the many unenlightened examples of the city - lacking in compassion.
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