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The Little Prince

The Little Prince

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Language and Communication Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. (1.6)

Usually, it would be the adults who say kids need to “see” more “clearly” in order to understand how things are. Instead, here we have a young person who thinks the adults are the ones who “need to have things explained.” What do you think is different between the way the young narrator and the adults see the world?

Quote #2

Whenever I met one of them [the grown-ups] who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:

“That is a hat.”

Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. (1.10-12)

The narrator ends up using his drawing as a friendship test for new people he meets. Although the narrator doesn’t know it yet, he’s asking people to see the drawing in the same way that the fox tells the prince to see the world: with the heart, not the eyes. Do you agree?

Quote #3

As each day passed I would learn, in our talk, something about the little prince’s planet, his departure from it, his journey. The information would come very slowly, as it might chance to fall from his thoughts. It was in this way that I heard, on the third day, about the catastrophe of the baobabs. (5.1)

This shows us how the prince communicates. Instead of spilling his guts out, he reveals information about himself slowly. Why do you think this is? Because he doesn’t trust words? Because he doesn’t like talking about himself?

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