Chapters 21-22 Summary

While the Prince is crying in the grass, he hears a voice, which comes from a fox. The fox says that he would like to play with him and become friends, but first the fox must be tamed. Then the fox and the Prince talk about what it means to be tame. The fox thinks that one can only understand the things that one tames.


After the fox teaches the Little Prince how to tame him, the Prince obliges. After the fox is tamed, the Prince says he must depart. The little fox cries and begs him to go and see the garden of roses. When the Little Prince looks at the flowers again, he realizes that his special rose at home is lovelier than these roses, for she has been tamed and is loved. The fox explains that a person can only see correctly with the heart, for often loveliness is invisible to the eye. The Prince will always remember this lesson of the fox.

After he leaves the fox, the Little Prince encounters a railway switchman, who explains the nature of his job. As the Prince watches trains coming and going, he asks why they are in such a hurry and why they are not satisfied where there are. The switchman tells the Prince that the trains do not know why they are in a hurry, for they do not pursue anything at all. The Prince says that only children know what they are looking for; the switchman responds that children are lucky.

Notes:
When the Little Prince encounters the fox, they want to play and become friends, but the fox insists on first being tamed. He feels that a person can only understand the things that one truly knows; therefore, it is important to put time and effort into a friendship. After the Little Prince follows the fox’s instructions about taming him, the two become friends; in the process, the narrator explains the importance of friendship in a heart-warming manner. He stresses that true friendship is always cultivated, never bought.

The fox teaches the Little Prince an important lesson of life. He explains that a person can only see with the heart, for eyes are often blind to beauty. Before the Prince departs, the fox wants him to go and see the roses in the garden again. When the Little Prince looks at them this time, he realizes that his own roses is much more lovely, for she has been tamed and loved by him.

As the Prince departs, the fox says that he will always remember him and think about him when he sees wheat, for the Prince’s hair is the same color. The Little Prince knows he will always remember the important things that the fox has taught him. It is obvious that the fox has become a mouthpiece for the author’s own thoughts and ideas about friendship and love.

In the twenty-second chapter, the Prince meets a railway switchman and questions him about why the trains hurry so fast and then never stay in one place. The switchman has no answer, for he feels they have no reason to rush. Saint-Exupéry is comparing the trains to men, who rush forward through life never knowing where they are headed and never being satisfied with the place that they find themselves. The Prince says that it is only children who seem to be able to enjoy life and feel satisfied with where they are; they can “waste their time over a rag doll...and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry.” The switchman agrees that children are very lucky to be satisfied with what they have.

Throughout the book, the author places an emphasis on the innocence and purity of children. Since they are simple and inexperienced, children are not colored by the world and other people’s opinions; therefore, they are able to see below the surface to find the truth. Because of his keen appreciation of children, Saint-Exupéry has made his main character a little prince, filled with innocence and wonder.

Chapters 23-24 Summary

The Prince meets a merchant who sells pills that have been invented to quench thirst. When the Prince questions why such pills are being sold, the merchant replies that the pills will save a person time. The Prince feels it will always be much more rewarding to walk leisurely to a spring of fresh water to get a drink than to take a pill to quench one’s thirst.

Eight days have passed since the narrator has crashed into the desert. Although he has enjoyed listening to the charming tales of the Prince, he is concerned because he has not yet successfully repaired his airplane. He is also very thirsty. When the Prince insists on talking about the importance of friends, the narrator can only think about a drink of water. Finally the two of them trudge for hours in search of something to quench the narrator’s thirst. On the way, the narrator becomes sick and feverish due to his thirst. As they sit and rest, the Prince explains why the stars in the sky and the desert that surrounds them are so beautiful. After resting for a long while, they move on and find a water well at daybreak.

Notes:
The Prince meets a merchant who has invented pills that will quench thirst. The merchant feels that the pills will sell well, for by taking these pills, humans will be able to save fifty-three minutes in every week, which they can use to be more productive. The Little Prince says he would prefer to spend fifty-three minutes leisurely walking to a fresh spring of water for a drink. Unlike humans, who rush through life and seek short-cuts to save time, the Prince is able to relax and savor life; he understands that pleasure comes from small things.

It has been eight days since the narrator’s plane crashed in the desert. He is frustrated because he has not been able to repair his plane, and he feels he is dying of thirst. The Little Prince also admits that he is thirsty. As a result, the two of them set out to look for water. After traveling for hours, the narrator feels sick and feverish; therefore, they sit down to rest for awhile. The Prince uses the opportunity to explain to the narrator how the beauty of a thing can only be seen with the heart, for it is often hidden from the eye. He says that what makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well, and what makes the stars beautiful is that one of them hides a flower that is precious to the Prince.

When the narrator is ready to travel again, the Little Prince is asleep; therefore he picks him up and carries him in his arms. He believes he is carrying a fragile and precious load. It is obvious that the narrator has become fond of the Prince, judging him to be very special.

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