The Little Prince
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
“Do you really admire me very much?” he demanded of the little prince.
“What does that mean—‘admire’?”
“To admire means that you regard me as the handsomest, the best-dressed, the richest, and the most intelligent man on this planet.” (11.13-15)
Hm. The prince doesn’t know the meaning of the word “admire,” but when the conceited man explains it to him, he doesn’t quite explain it correctly, does he? Pay close attention to how he defines it: ““To admire means that you regard me as the handsomest, the best-dressed, the richest, and the most intelligent man on this planet.” Is that really what the word “admire” means? Would you define it differently?
“Kings do not own, they reign over. It is a very different matter.” (13.26)
The king does not really own anything. He says he has absolute authority and “reigns over” everything in the universe, but as we come to see, his authority means nothing. So is he just consoling himself by claiming that he “reigns over” everything when in fact he, too, recognizes that the word sounds fancy but really means nothing?
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me—like that—in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day…” (21.37)
When the fox is teaching the prince how to tame him, he has to use words at first in order to tell the prince what to do. The prince won’t understand him unless they use words. Yet, during the actual taming, the fox wants the prince to avoid talking at all, because “[w]ords are the source of misunderstandings.” To build up trust and love, words are useless—it’s your actions that count.