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The Little Prince (in French, Le
Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Type of work Children’s story, novella
Genre Fable, allegory
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
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.
Settings (Time) “Six years ago,” although the current date is never
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
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.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Little Prince!