The Little Prince
How we cite our quotes:
“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.” (24.19)
What we can’t see changes what we can see. (That idea’s a bumper sticker waiting to happen.) The prince’s flower is something “that cannot be seen.” Even though he can’t see her, though, he knows she’s there, out there somewhere in the stars. Because she exists, even unseen, her presence makes the stars that are visible so “beautiful.”
This point also helps us understand the fox’s big idea about seeing with your heart, not your eyes. The flower is something that can be experienced with the heart, even when she is too far to be seen. Finding the flower with your heart helps you find the beauty in the stars.
I realized clearly that something extraordinary was happening. I was holding him close in my arms as if he were a little child; and yet it seemed to me that he was rushing headlong toward an abyss from which I could do nothing to restrain him… (26.23)
Here’s that separation between inside and outside again. On the surface, which the narrator can see, the prince still looks like “a little child.” If the prince really was just a little child, the narrator would be able to take care of him and boss him around. The narrator would be able to keep him from going to get bitten by the snake. But, on the inside, it seems, the prince may be much more mature than the narrator. On the inside, the prince is going places where the narrator can’t follow. His inside is changing dramatically, while his surface remains the same.
“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you…” (26.52)
Despite the fact that he’s planning to leave, which makes the narrator incredibly sad, the prince tries to use this departure to give his good friend a gift: stars that laugh! So, although the prince’s departure will cause the narrator great pain, the memory of it will bring him happiness, too. (We know, we know. It’s small consolation for losing a friend like this one.)