Sunday, January 11, 2004

Grown-Up Destroys Masterpiece

I know this is not yet the post I have promised to give you all, but I had to take a minute to rant once more.

Without a doubt, The Little Prince is one of the most brilliant classics of all time. However, the increasing de-education of society has now touched and defiled this treasure. I am speaking of the latest English translation of The Little Prince. I am forced to ask myself if the translator simply missed the entire point of the story, or if society has become so lazy and stupid that they would rather have a simplified pathetic version instead of a brilliant one.

For those of you who have not read The Little Prince, it is a book about matters of consequence. Which is more important, a savings account or a rose? What makes a person a person, the ability to add or an appreciation of life? How does one make a friend, by looking or by taming?

There are many elements that come together to make this book brilliant. The phrase "matters of consequence" is repeated numerous times, reminding us what is important in life. Are we to be like the grown-ups or are we to be child-like in our hearts? The language (in the original translation) is magnificent. The vocabulary is not dumbed down for simpler reading, encouraging children that do read it to learn new words and ways of speaking.

It is in these two elements that the new translation falls. Instead of elephants being very cumbersome, they now take up a lot of room. Instead of matters of consequence, we are given a large array of badly translated lines, completely breaking the main thread of the story!

I am ranting about this for many reasons. Why do we (US Americans) have to dumb down things for children? Doesn't using a larger vocabulary help encourage our children to learn more? Harry Potter is filled with vocabulary above the age it is marketed for, and thank God no one has changed that! I can just see that in 20 years there will be a new translation for America, where all of the more difficult words are replaced with verbose translations. I could just scream!