The Little Prince

This study guide will help you analyze the novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943). You can also find a summary of the text, detailed characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting the novella and putting it into perspective.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) was a renowned French author, journalist, and aviator, most celebrated for his novella, The Little Prince. Identifying primarily as a pilot, Saint-Exupéry wrote only part-time. In addition to The Little Prince, he authored novels such as Night Flight (1931) and The Wisdom of the Sands (released posthumously in 1948), along with a memoir recounting his piloting experiences, Wind, Sand and Stars (1939). His work garnered numerous literary accolades, and his life is thought to have ended in a plane crash over the Mediterranean Sea in 1944.

The Little Prince, published in 1943, tells the tale of a pilot who finds himself stranded in the African desert after a crash landing. Serendipitously, he encounters a young boy, the little prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. The pilot discovers that the little prince hails from a minuscule, distant planet where he tended to three volcanoes and a rose. Disagreements with the rose led him to leave his planet and journey across various others, encountering peculiar and isolated adults before ultimately arriving on Earth.

The Little Prince transcends the boundaries of a simple children's story, as it embodies a philosophically rich narrative that continues to resonate with readers. Laden with poetic language, deep emotions, and hidden messages, the tale imparts valuable lessons on friendship, love, yearning, and the essence of life. With translations in over 150 languages, it remains a work that invites introspection and reflection on the human experience.

Excerpt from the study guide:

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.

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The Little Prince

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