The Prince arrives on asteroid 326, where he meets the conceited man. Every time the Prince claps his hands together, the conceited man raises his hat in salute, wanting to be admired. After five minutes, the Little Prince finds the drill to be quite monotonous, for he cannot comprehend the importance or the significance of being admired. Since he learns nothing from the visit to this asteroid, the Little Prince feels dejected when he departs.
On the next asteroid, the Little Prince meets the tippler, who busies himself by drinking alcohol. When the Prince asks him why he is drinking, the tippler replies that he drinking because he is ashamed. When the Prince asks him the reason for his shame, the tippler responds that it is because of his drinking. Unable to understand the tippler’s reasoning, the Little Prince goes on his way.
In Chapters 11 and 12, the Prince meets a conceited man and a tippler, both symbols of adult characteristics. The conceited man’s sole aim in life is to be admired; everything he does, he performs in order to gain praise. He wants to make certain that he is judged as the best man on his planet. The Prince finds this very confusing since the conceited man is the only person on the planet. Feeling he has learned nothing from this asteroid, the Little Prince departs in a dejected mood. Through the conceited man, Saint-Exupéry is trying to depict the pointlessness of the concern of humans to be admired and judged as best.
The tippler puzzles the Prince even more. He drinks because he is ashamed, but the reason for his shame is his drinking. Through the satire of the tippler, the author clearly points out the fallacious reasoning that mankind gives to justify their bad habits.
The Little Prince moves on to a fourth planet, which belongs to a businessman. He thinks that he is rich because he believes that he owns all the stars; however, he spends all of his time counting his stars (his wealth) and has no time left to enjoy them. The Prince feels the businessman is not wealthy at all, for he is of no use to the stars. In contrast, the Little Prince must take care of his possession; he waters and protects his flower and cleans out his three volcanoes.
When the Prince travels to the fifth planet, he finds it the strangest and the smallest. There is really just enough room on it for a street lamp and a lamplighter. The lamplighter spends all of his time lighting the lamp and then putting it out, simply because this is what he has been told to do. Although the Little Prince is amazed that the lamplighter does not question his work, he admires him for his faithfulness. He feels that this is the only man that he has met who is not totally ridiculous; he even thinks if he stayed on the fifth planet for awhile, he could have become a friend to the lamplighter. Before he departs, the Little Prince tries to help the lamplighter solve the problem of his lack of rest.
The Prince meets a businessman who is so occupied with counting stars that he does not even raise his head when the Little Prince arrives. The man is certain that if he successfully counts all the stars and writes the total number on a sheet of paper, he will then own all the stars. The Little Prince believes that the businessman is involved in a useless occupation, for he is so busy counting that he can not even enjoy the stars; and even if he did own all of them, he would be of no use to his stars. The Prince is glad he needs to take care of his possessions, watering the flower and cleaning the volcano; it makes him feel useful.
Before he departs from the fourth planet, the Little Prince decides that the businessman is just as confused as the tippler; neither of them is able to stop their activity (counting or drinking) and enjoy life. Through the businessman, Saint-Exupéry is being very critical of men who love their possessions and wealth so much that they spend all their time accounting for them, rather than enjoying them and sharing them.
On the fifth planet the Prince meets a lamplighter, whom he finds to be faithful and sincere in doing his job. Although he spends his life lighting, putting out, and re-lighting the lamp, he never complains and completes his work just as ordered. In all his travels, this is the only man that the Little Prince respects; he even feels he could be the lamplighter’s friend. Before he departs, the kind and concerned Prince tries to help the lamplighter figure out a way to get more rest.