Themes

The novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry leaves a lot of room for interpretation, because the apparent simplicity of the work conceals deeper meanings. Even 70 years after its publication, the work deals with current topics, such as the question of human nature or the secret of love and friendship. In his work, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry expresses severe criticism, especially of the adults' attitude to life. This is explained in the following pages.

We will also shed light on the contrast between appearance and reality that is central to the work, and which is also expressed in the well-known quote from the fox: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye". 

The adult world is described in detail with the help of the planet inhabitants and the Earth inhabitants. The image of man and the criticism of civilization, which often appear in the book, are also interpreted. The magical world of children is of course explained in terms of the little prince who represents it, but also in terms of Piaget's theory of development. Finally, we interpret the journey and the departure of the young prince.

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

The omission

The little prince realizes that he was too young to love his rose: 

The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her ... I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. (29%). 

When the fox tells the little prince that he is responsible all his life for what he has become close to, the little prince feels an increasing longing for his rose.

This is also shown by the fact that the little prince is constantly worried about her. The sheep that the pilot drew for him is supposed to protect the flower from the baobabs. When the little prince learns that sheep can also eat flowers, the pilot has to promise to draw a muzzle for the sheep. 

Moreover, the little prince defends his rose when the pilot thinks that she grows her thorns out of pure malice. The little prince calls the flowers weak and innocent: "They reassure themselves as best they can. They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons ..." (22%).

The little prince likes to look at the starry sky because he knows that somewhere up there is his rose: "If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars.". (24%). 

The pilot is touched by how faithfully the little prince thinks of his rose: ""What moves me so deeply, about this little prince who is sleeping here, is his loyalty to a flower--the image of a rose that shines through his whole being like the flame of a lamp, even when he is asleep ..." (81%).

The return

The little prince wants to return to his rose with the help of the snake, because he misses her and now knows that he is responsible for her. He has realized on Earth what it means to be close to someone. Above all, the fox has helped the little prince to better understand his feelings for the rose. 

Now the little prince wants to look after the rose again, water her, and protect her from the sun and the wind. Now he knows: "One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance" (29%).

For his rose, he even overcomes his fear of death. The fact that he wants to return to his home planet above all for his rose is also shown in the last conversation with the pilot. At his farewell he says: "You know--my flower . . . I am responsible for her. And she is so weak! She is so naïve! She has four thorns, of no use at all, to protect herself against all the world ..." (95%). The novella The Little Prince is a love story between the little prince and his rose, which symbolizes femininity.

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in