The Little Prince

by: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title  · The Little Prince (in French, Le Petit Prince)

author  · Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

type of work  · Children’s story, novella

genre  · Fable, allegory

language  · French

time and place written  · The summer and fall of 1942, while Saint-Exupéry was living in Long Island, New York

date of first publication  · First published in English translation in 1943. The first French edition did not appear until 1946.

publisher  · Reynal & Hitchcock, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. (U.S. edition, both French and English); Gallimard (French edition)

narrator  · A pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert, where he meets the little prince. The narrator tells his story of the encounter six years after it happened.

point of view  · The narrator gives a first-person account, although he spends large portions of the story recounting the little prince’s own story of his travels.

tone  · When describing his surreal, poignant encounter with the little prince, the narrator’s tone is bittersweet. When describing the adult world, the narrator’s tone is matter-of-fact and often regretful.

tense  · Past

settings (time)  · “Six years ago,” although the current date is never specified

settings (place)  · The Sahara Desert and outer space

protagonists  · The little prince, the pilot

major conflict  · The childlike perspectives of the prince and, to some extent, those of the narrator are in conflict with the stifling beliefs of the adult world.

rising action  · After he believes he has been spurned by his rose, the prince travels to neighboring planets and eventually lands on Earth. He wanders through the desert in search of humans, and he is eventually found by the fox.

climax  · The fox teaches the little prince his secret, and the little prince realizes the value of his rose.

falling action  · The prince meets the narrator, to whom he passes along the fox’s instructions. He is then sent back to the heavens by the snake’s bite.

themes  · The dangers of narrow-mindedness, enlightenment through exploration, relationships teach responsibility

motifs  · Secrecy, the narrator’s drawings, taming, serious matters

symbols  · The stars, the desert, the trains, water

foreshadowing  · When the snake greets the prince, he alludes to his ability to send the prince back to the heavens, which he does at the end of the novel.