The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince Theme of Innocence
At its core, The Little Prince may be about innocence. “Innocence,” as it’s defined in Merriam-Webster, means, “freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil.” The prince has this kind of purity; so does the flower; so does the fox. And, maybe, so does the narrator. (As for the snake, we’re not so sure about him.) These characters are innocent or pure because they don’t know what evil is. Instead, they—especially the prince—seek out love and affection. The prince wants to understand everything better, and through his travels he learns a great deal. But even when he thinks he’s dying, he doesn’t become bitter or cruel or mean. He stays true to himself and remains pure to the end.
Questions About Innocence
- Which of the book’s characters is the most innocent, and why?
- In The Little Prince, is innocence a positive or negative quality?
- Do you think the book encourages people to try and stay innocent?
- In one section, the prince’s flower is described as trying to avoid being seen as “naïve” (8.21). Is her naivety the same as innocence? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Although it might seem like the fox, the flower, and the prince are all innocents in their own way, the most innocent character in the book is the narrator because he has the most to learn.
It seems like one of the big messages in The Little Prince is not to grow up and lose your innocence, because once you do that you can’t see the true meaning within things any more.