Analysis

In the following pages, we will analyze the structure and language of the novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The seemingly simple structure of the work turns out to be complex due to its temporal structure and its flashbacks.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry uses numerous stylistic devices with which he gives the seemingly simple text a deeper meaning. Symbols and motifs also play a special role in the text and are analyzed in the following pages. Certain actions also have a strong symbolic meaning. Contrasts are also important, as the author builds his novella on the contrast between childhood and adulthood and between appearance versus reality.

We will also focus on narrator and point of view, physical and time setting, and on the drawings which are very important for the understanding of the work.

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

In the 24th chapter, a time jump is again made into the inner frame. It is the eighth day after the pilot's plane crash in the desert. At this point, the little prince is about to celebrate the anniversary of his landing on Earth. The little prince and the pilot set off in search of a well, as the pilot's water supply has run out. Together they discover the beauty of the desert and realize that beauty is usually hidden.

In the 25th chapter, the pilot learns that the little prince wants to return to his planet. Chapter 26 tells about the return of the little prince to his pilot. Here the little prince and the pilot say goodbye and the little prince lets himself be bitten by the poisonous snake.

The 27th chapter is narrated in retrospect. Like the first chapter, this is set six years after the event: "And now six years have already gone by..." (100%). Thus, the first and the last chapters form the outer framework of the story.

The story is concluded by an epilogue. In this, the pilot again addresses the children directly and asks them to contact him if they see the little prince. Like this, a connection is playfully established here between the narrator and the author Saint-Exupéry, since he is the only one whose name the reader knows and to whom he could consequently appeal.

The structure of the work proves to be convoluted, yet symmetrical. The first and last chapters provide the outer framework for the narrative, which is set six years after the event. This framework is used to establish the credibility of the account.

Within the internal narrative, Chapters 2 and 26 are also symmetrical. They describe the arrival and departure of the little prince. This forms the inner framework of the main section.

In particular, two narrative threads are discernible: on the one hand, the pilot's encounter with the little prince and the experiences they share - for example, drawing the sheep or searching for the well - and, on the other hand, the experiences the little prince had before their encounter. These are described through flashbacks.

Other elements are also inserted into these narrative strands. These include scientific digressions (Planet B 612 and its discovery), philosophical digressions about the nature of children and adults ("Children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people" (14%)), appeals and advice from the narrator to the readers ("Children [...] watch out for the baobabs!" (17%)). 

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