The Little Prince
By: Antoine De Saint – Exupery
Paola Diaz LIBR 268 July 8, 2013
Major Plot of the Little Prince
“ The most
ey are felt
The story begins with a pilot who has just crash landed in the Sahara Desert, as he is working
on his plane he is interrupted by what appears to be a child with unruly blonde hair who has appeared out of
nowhere. The Little Prince as he is referred to, asks the pilot for a drawing of a sheep. The pilot is somewhat
hesitant having explained that when he was a child he had been discouraged by adults to pursue drawing but
rather focus on serious things like History. Eventually he grants the Little Prince’s request and they become
friends in the eight days that they are together.
In their time together, the Little Prince relates his adventures and speaks about his
homeland, Asteroid B-612. He tells the pilot of how his planet has three volcanoes, one of which is
extinct, and how he rakes them. He also mentions the importance of getting rid of bad seeds, especially
those of the Baobabs, who if allowed to grow can cause much harm to his planet. Beside this he mentions
that he has a rose that he loves very much but has come to distrust because of her lies. She is very vain and
doesn’t treat the Little Prince very nicely, it is for this reason that he decided to leave his home planet.
While on his travels, he visits seven planets, which include Earth. In his visits he encounters
many different adults: the king, vain man, drunkard and businessman among them. He finds them to be very
perplexing and mostly concerned with themselves. Only the Lamplighter, seems to gain some respect with
the Little Prince, because in doing his job, he is thinking of others. As he travels he starts to miss and worry
about his rose, who is left to fend on her own.
He eventually comes to Earth where he ventures upon a rose garden, he is surprised to find
that his rose isn’t the only rose around as she had claimed. This encounter only makes him long for his rose
more. He also encounters a fox, who gives the Little Prince wise lessons about humans and life. Than he
comes upon a poisonous snake that assures him that he can help get him back home. The story ends with the
Little Prince deciding to return to his home planet with the aide of the poisonous snake. As he prepares to be
bitten by the snake he tells the sadden pilot that the stars will always serve to be a reminder of him. The
stars will appear to be laughing at him, a reminder of the Little Prince’s laughter.
The Little Prince: The real main character of the story, he is described as being a child, with
golden hair who comes from the Asteroid B-612. He runs away after having a confrontation
with his rose and ends up relating his travels to the pilot in the eight day that they are
The Pilot / Narrator: He is among one of the principle characters who retells his memories of
meeting the Little Prince while stranded in the Sahara Desert after crash landing his
airplane. He relates the story of how as a youth he was told by adult to focus on important
things like History and Geography rather than on his drawings.
The Little Prince’s Rose: With the exception of three volcanoes, one of which is extinct and
the Baobabs, the only other thing that lives in the same planet as the Little Prince is his
friend a single rose. She isn’t very modest and gives the Little Prince so much grief with how
she treats him that he decided to leave his planet because of it. However as the story
proceeds the Little Prince grows to miss his rose and fear for her well being since he isn’t
their to tend to her.
The Fox: The Little Prince first encounters the fox while visiting Earth. The fox teaches the
Little Prince about the ways of humans and the importance of being tamed. He then asks the
Little Prince to tame him, to which the Little Prince agrees to. Before leaving the fox, he is
told by him ,“One sees clearly with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes”
(De Saint – Exupery, 1943, p. 63)
The Snake: While on Earth the Little Prince also encounters a snake who tells him that
there aren’t any people on account that they are both in an African desert. The Little
Prince finds him to be a curious creature and judges the snake to have little power. The
snake assures him that he has more power than it seems, being able to send people to
the land they come from. Eventually it is the snake the will aide the Little Prince in
returning to his planet.
The King: While visiting different planets the Little Prince comes upon the planet of a
lonely king sitting on his thrown. The king is happy to see the Little Prince as it gives
him a chance to have a subject to rule over. He assures the Little Prince that he is rule
of everything including all the planets and the stars. The king while given to giving many
commands assures that he only give those that are reasonable and that can be
performed by those commanded. He is sadden to see the Little Prince leave as he is the
only true subject the King has.
Vain Man: On another planet, the Little Prince encounters a vain man who is convinced
the Little Prince’s trip is on account of his admiration for him. When asked whether the
Little Prince admires him, the Little Prince is confused by the word. He doesn’t quite
understand the concept and therefore doesn’t see the big deal in being admired. He
soon leaves this planet to visit another.
The Drunkard: On another planet the Little Prince briefly meets a drunkard and in doing
so becomes depressed. The drunkard admits that he drinks because he feels shame that
he is a drunkard.
The Businessman: On a trip to another planet, the Little Prince meets a businessman, who assures
him that he is a “very serious man”, who is too busy making calculations of the stars to bothered by
the Little Prince. He states the stars belong to him, because he had the forethought to claim them
first. When the Little Prince tries to interject by mentioning that the king has taken ownership, the
man corrects him stating that Kings reign over things, which is quite different. Unsatisfied with the
answer the businessman gives him after asking what the stars do for him, he ends up leave.
The Lamplighter: When visiting his fifth planet, the Little Prince meets the lamplighter, whose job it
is to light it every morning and put it out at night. Unfortunately for the lamplighter days consist of
minutes and therefore he finds himself doing this constantly. The Lamplighter laments that he never
gets any rest and does it on account of having been ordered to (although there aren’t any houses in
this planet). Unlike the other people that he meets on the other planets, the Little Prince doesn’t
find him to be ridiculous because his thoughts are on something besides himself.
The Geographer: On another planet the Little Prince meets the geographer who sits on a desk with a
big empty book. The geographer explains to the Little Prince what his job entails. When asked about
geographical landforms on the planet, the geographer isn’t able to answer because after all he is a
geographer not an explorer. While he is tasked with knowing about the landforms , he is dependent
on explores to relay information about them, for his job is to write down what the explores say.
The Turkish Astronomer: He is the one that first discovered Asteroid B-612, the home planet of the
Little Prince. The Little Prince explains that the Turkish astronomer first discovered his planet in
1909 but because of his clothes wasn’t taken seriously until 1920, when the Turkish King ordered
that European cloths be worn. It wasn’t until the Turkish astronomer reported his finding in a suit
, that people took him seriously.
Railway Switchman: The Little Prince meets him while on Earth. He asks him what the
passengers are looking for, and in seeing another train car asks if the passengers are
coming back because they aren’t satisfied. The switchman tells him that he doesn’t know
what they are looking for and that the train car is a different one than the previous but
that nobody is ever satisfied where they are at.
Three Petal Flower: The three petal flower mistakenly tells the Little Prince that there
aren’t many people on Earth. She lives in the desert and therefore hasn’t seen many.
Sales Clerk: The Little Prince also meets him while on Earth, and finds that this sale clerk
sales pills that quench people’s thirst. The sales clerk claims to sell them to save people
some time, the Little Prince however doesn’t seem to understand why it’s even
Roses in the Rose Garden: While on Earth, he stumbles upon a rose garden and is surprise
to find that his rose isn’t the only rose that exists , as she had claimed.
The Baobabs: Dangerous seeds that have the potential to destroy the home planet of the
Little Prince, if they aren’t disposed of.
The Where and When of the Little Prince
The primary setting of the
Little Prince is in the Sahara
Desert, although through the
narration of his travels the
reader is transported to seven
other planets/ asteroids.
These are as follows:
the home planet of the Little
Prince, B-612. As far as the
time period or year in which
the story takes place, the
narrator only mentions that it
happened six years ago.
Major Themes of The Little
Importance of Relationships:
The Little Prince learns the importance of
relationships when he encounters the fox. Who in
turn presents him with the importance of being
tamed. It is only when the Little Prince tames the
fox that the fox sees him as more than just a n
ordinary little boy. Just as the Prince finds out that
although his rose isn’t the only rose, she is none the
less special to him because of the bond that was
created between them, and the responsibility he
feels to her.
Love at a Distance:
Another theme often found in the book, is learning
to love from a distance. The Little Prince having left
his home planet starts to realize how much he truly
loves and misses his rose. The fox after asking to be
tamed, is saddened by the departure of the
Prince, stating that he will weep. When the Prince
states that the fox has gotten nothing from being
tamed, the fox replies that he does “because of the
color of the wheat.” The color of the wheat that
will always remind him of the Little Prince’s golden
hair. And when the Little Prince is bitten by the
snake, the pilot takes comfort in knowing the starts
will always hold special meaning to him. When they
twinkle it will be as if they are laughing at the
pilot, always reminding him of the Little Prince and
Loss of Innocence:
Its first seen with the narrator explaining that when
he was little he drew a picture of a boa constrictor
after having eaten an elephant. After showing it to
adults they took it to be a hat and advise him to
focus on serious things. Repeatedly in the book you
see the difference between the perspective of the
Little Prince and that of the adults that he
encounters. He doesn’t understand why the vain
man should take so much interest in being admired
or why the king should be so concerned with
commands. Even the narrator seems to acknowledge
that adults can be disconnected at times.
“Grown-ups never understand anything by
themselves, and it is tiresome for
children to be always and forever
explaining things to them.”
At the time The Little Prince was written, WWII was raging in Europe and France had fallen to
the Nazis. The 1940 Armistice between both countries essentially allowed the Nazis to occupy France. In
the wake of this, Saint – Exupéry fled to the United States with the hope of convincing it’s government to
enter the war against the Nazis. The innocents of the Little Prince is in stark contrast to what the Nazis
represented. And like the Little Prince who longs to go home, it can be surmised that so too did Saint –
Exupéry . He stayed in the United State for 27 months , having left will the support of the United States
military to join the Free French Air force.
Historical / Social Context
Top left picture:
Antoine de Saint –
Exupery while in
the French Air
occupying France in
front of the Arc de
Hitler standing in
front of the Eiffel
Tower in France.
Parallels of Saint-Exupéry and the Little Prince
The narrator/pilot crash lands in the
The Little Prince encounters a fox
while on Earth.
“ He feel gently, the way a tree falls”
(Saint-Exupéry, 1943, p.81). This is
how the Little Prince is described
after he is bitten by the snake.
Saint- Exupéry's was a life long aviator
whose first crash in 1935, was in the
Sarah Desert. Due to dehydration, Saint –
Exupéry experienced hallucinations while
in the Sahara Desert, one being of a
Saint-Exupéry lost his brother, Francois,
to a fever after caring for him. Years later
when describing the death of his brother,
he stated that his brother “...remained
motionless for an instant. He did not cry
out. He fell as gently as a [young] tree
falls” (Saint-Exupery, Wikipedia).
Saint- Exupéry travelled to various places
on account of him being a pilot. After 27
months of being in the United States, it
has been suggested that he was eager to
go back to his home of France.
The Little Prince Saint - Exupéry's Life
Parallels of Saint Exupéry and the Little Prince
The Little Prince has a difficult
relationship with his rose; mistrusting
her while at the same time loving her.
The Little Prince is described as having
golden hair and being very inquisitive
It has been suggested that the Rose is
a reference to Saint-Exupéry's
, Consuelo. They had a tumultuous
relationship, with both engaging in
extra- marital affairs.
Saint – Exupéry briefly lived in
Canada, with Charles De Koninick and
meet his blonde haired inquisitive
eight year old son at the time. He
could have been the inspiration for the
The Little Prince Saint - Exupéry's Life
There are many more parallels that can be made between Saint-Exupery’s life and his
lovable book. As Stacy Schiff stated about the relationship between Saint-Exupery and his beloved
character, "...the two remain tangled together, twin innocents who fell from the sky.” But beyond
Saint-Exupery, parallels have been drawn between the Little Prince and World War II. The baobabs to
some researchers represent the Nazis and their ability to destroy. For me there is the idea of
innocence lost in the transition from childhood to adulthood. This innocence lost can easily be equated
to the lost of innocence war brings with it’s atrocities.
The Parallels of The Little Prince beyond Saint-
Picture on the
left: Saint –
year they got
the book. The
tending to his
Picture on the
right: Picture of
and his plane
landing in the
1900 – On June 29th Antoine De Saint – Exupery is born
in Lyon, France.
1904 – His father dies, leaving a financial stray on the
1912 – At age 12, Saint- Exupéry takes his first flight at
the Amberieu airfield.
1921 – He started serving in the French military and
was stationed in Neuhof. He would eventually take
classes to become a pilot.
1922 – He transfers from the French Army to the
French Air Force.
1923 – Gets in a airplane crash while in Le Bourget.
Ends up leaving the military.
1927 – Becomes airfield chief for Cape Juby, located
in Morocco. He also begins to write his first
book, Southern Mail.
1929 – His job transfers him to Argentina and Southern
Mail is published.
1931 – Night Flight is published which would
eventually win the Prex Femina. He also ends up
getting married to Consuelo Suncin.
1935 – He gets into another airplane crash trying to
break the speed record by flying from France to
Saigon. He crash lands in the Sahara Desert, him and
his co-pilot end up walking fours days dehydrated
until they are rescued.
1938 –Saint-Exupery experiences yet another plane
crash as he is flying from New York City to Tierra del
1939 - With France’s entry into WWII, Saint-Exupery
enlists in the French Air Force as a Pilot. His novel,
Wind, Sand, and Stars, is also published and would end
up winning both the Academie Francaise’s Grand Prix
du Roman and the United States’ National Book Award.
1940 – Because of the armistice between France and
Germany, Saint-Exupéry no longer is needed in the air
force and therefore ends up going to the United States.
He stays there for approximately 27 months hoping to
persuade the United States to enter the war against
1942 – Flight to Arras and Letter to a Hostage are
1943 – The Little Prince is published. After 27 months
he leaves to join the Free French Air Force Squadron
in northern Africa.
1944 – While on a reconnaissance mission, Saint-
Exupery goes missing on July 31st. It is assumed that
he is dead.
Significance vs. Sentimental
I would say that this book is both significant and sentimental. It is sentimental
because as Stevenson (1997) states sentimental value will “…call up a connection with
childhood even more than a connection with children.” Having read this for the first
time, I can say that I was so deeply moved by the story that I couldn’t help but cry at its
ending. De Saint- Exupéry manages to capture both the curiosity and innocence of
childhood in The Little Prince, that even adults can appreciate.
This book is often times considered a book that some argue is more for adults
than children because of the philosophical nature of it. I speculate it also has something
to do with the ending of the book, which I won’t mention. In doing research I came
upon an article by Munakata (2005) that connected The Little Prince with science
education for children. In this article the Little Prince is transformed from a mere
children’s story to a series of lesson that can be learn to promote science education to
children (Munakata, 2005).
Upon further research I came upon another article written by Cowles (1997)
which highlighted the lessons counselors can take from The Little Prince and the
importance of relating them in their sessions, especially with child clients. In the
article she highlights the interaction between the Little Prince and the fox and in doing
so comes up with protocol that centers on bettering the relationship between the
counselor and the client (Cowles,1997).
Whether teaching philosophy, or helping to delve into the minds of
children, The Little Prince is more than just a children’s story. People have found this
book to be a tool, with lesson to be learned and applied. For these reasons I make the
case that this book is both sentimental and significant.
“If I were to be cast
away, not on the
proverbial desert island-
there are no more desert
islands-but in the
dreariest of all places
during this World War
(which might be a
schoolroom), I have
always felt my one book
would be Andersen’s Fairy
Tales. No; I should beg for
a companion volume and
its title is The Little
Prince.” – Anne Carol
What the Critics Say …
“ I therefore feel strangely
alone, since, to my
mind, The Little Prince is
not a book for children and
is not even a good book.” –
Katherine S. White
“If you appreciate the
simple things in life, if you
want to know what is it
that makes children find so
much joy out of life, read
this book and you’ll
treasure its simple but
deep wisdom” - Mandar
Talvekar (Ink Scrawl Blog)
“ The book that most
influenced my life-
perhaps even my entire
career – is The Little
Prince by Antoine de
Saint-Exupery, which I
between the ages of
twelve and fourteen… The
Little Prince showed me
that very individual and
personal feelings could be
communicated in a
story.” – Peter Sis quoted
by Elizabeth Bird
Numbers and My thoughts
“ For Hartcourt alone, the
book still sells close to
200,000 copies a
year, impressive frontlist-like
numbers for a 50-plus year-
old title” – Judy Quinn (2000)
“ In 1943, the text turned from a
scribble manuscript by a relatively
unknown author, into a literary
phenomenon that has since sold 140
million copies in about 260 languages.
After the Bible, “The Little Prince” is
the most translated book in
history, according to the Paris-based
Saint-Exupery Foundation” – Thomas
I really loved this book, so
much so that I cried at the
ending. I think both
children and adults can
take something from it. I
would say that perhaps the
only concern would be
how children interpret the
ending. But perhaps this is
an adult making to much
of nothing as seems to be
the case at times in
Make note of where the pictures come from