I ought never to have run away from her . . . I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little strategems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her. 

One of the little prince’s most important realizations during his travels is that his rose’s difficult personality was simply a mask with which she used to conceal her fears and insecurities. It becomes clear to the little prince that her criticisms and unfeeling words were not truly meant to hurt him, and that what she needed was not to be abandoned but to be loved and protected. The little prince didn’t realize this when he left, but he has gained maturity and wisdom on his journey. When he returns to his rose, his newfound understanding will make it so much easier to love her and care for her despite her flaws.

One loves the sunset, when one is so sad.

Despite his innocence, wonder, and wisdom, the little prince is a melancholic character. He is often lonely, struggling with his relationship with the rose, his only companion, and not finding many friends among the people he meets on his travels. He journeys alone, and much of what he learns has to do with humanity’s loneliness and dissatisfaction with life. Possessing depth beyond his years, the little prince takes comfort in sunsets, which are often a symbol of the bittersweet – a wondrous burst of color that marks the passing of time and the close of another day.

It is just as it is with the flower. If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers.

The little prince finds happiness and meaning in his life by looking at the stars because somewhere, on one of those many stars, is his rose. While traveling is a wonderful, life-changing experience, the traveler – the little prince in this case – often experiences homesickness and loneliness. For the little prince, simply knowing that his loved one is alive and awaiting his return is enough to make the entire universe seem beautiful and ease the pain of solitude.