Study Guide: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery|
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THE LITTLE PRINCE: LITERARY ANALYSIS / BOOK REPORT / BOOK REVIEW
The Little Prince has always lived on a distant star, Asteroid B-612. One day a new flower grows up on his planet. He finds the plant to be lovely and believes it is one of a kind in the universe; as a result, he believes himself to be a rich man, the owner of a unique and valuable treasure. He nurtures and cares for the flower, making sure that no harm comes to it. Unfortunately, the flower also believes herself to be beautiful and unique. Because of her vanity, she exaggerates about herself more and more. Finally, the Little Prince can stand her bragging no more. He decides to leave his star to get away from the flower and to travel to various planets, seeking the answers to life.
Before he arrives on earth, the Little Prince visits five planets. On each of them he learns a new lesson. For example, from the switchman he learns that it is crazy to rush forward through life, never happy with the place where one finds himself. From the businessman, he learns that most wealthy people are too busy counting their assets to appreciate and enjoy life. From the geographer, he learns that facts and figures often hide the real meaning of life.
Finally, the Prince reaches planet Earth and finds himself in a desert. The first creature he meets is a snake, who promises that he can send the Little Prince back to his star when he is ready. The Prince never forgets the snake’s promise and later returns to the creature to seek his assistance. The Little Prince then meets a fox who teaches him the most important lesson of all: one cannot really see with one’s eye; instead one must feel with one’s heart in order to understand the true meaning of things. Because of the fox, the Little Prince begins to understand the he really loves his flower and needs to return to his star to take care of her.
Next the Little Prince meets the narrator, whose airplane has crashed in the desert. The two of them become friends, and the Little Prince tells him about his travels to the other planets and what he has learned from each of them. He also tells him what he has learned from the fox. The narrator is charmed by the Little Prince because of his sincerity, truthfulness, and child-like innocence and purity. He feels that the Prince has actually “tamed” him, just as the Prince tamed the fox. When he realizes that the Little Prince is going home, the narrator is greatly saddened, knowing he will miss his friend.
Before the Prince is bitten by the snake and returns to his star, he gives the narrator one last direction. He tells him to look up at the stars and imagine them laughing; then he is to think about the Little Prince and their friendship.
Many critics see the Little Prince as a Christ figure. Like Jesus, the
Prince descends to earth to live for a short while. Also like Christ,
he is good and pure; he also has the ability to know things before they
happen. During his stay, the Little Prince, like Jesus, teaches others
the value of love and seeing beneath the surface to the real worth of
things. In addition, the Little Prince shares a “last supper” of water
with the narrator before he dies. After his death, the Little Prince’s
body is resurrected to ascend to his star, his own little heaven.
The fox is another important character, for he teaches the Little Prince the most important lesson in the book. The fox meets the Prince when the latter is disappointed and lonely. He has just seen the garden of roses and realized that his flower is common, not unique and valuable as he had imagined. The fox, however, teaches the Prince that one cannot judge another by seeing with the eyes; instead, one has to see and judge with the heart. As a result, the Little Prince realizes that his flower is really very special, for he has loved and cared for it.
The fox asks the Little Prince to “tame” him. He explains that one is tamed
by being loved and valued. Since the Prince invests time and energy into
the fox, the animal does become tame, and a close friendship develops
between the two of them. The Little Prince always remembers the teachings
of the fox, who proves that he is wise indeed.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Little Prince".
. 14 May 2008