The Little Prince
Versions of Reality Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
So he cleaned out the extinct volcano, too. If they are well cleaned out, volcanoes burn slowly and steadily, without any eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are like fires in a chimney.
On our earth we are obviously much too small to clean out our volcanoes. That is why they bring no end of trouble upon us. (9.1-2)
Sounds so logical, doesn’t it? We almost believe it. Almost. Clearly, our narrator’s version of reality is also just a tiny bit warped. Don’t try to sweep out a volcano! You’d set your pants on fire.
“Ah! Ah! I am about to receive a visit from an admirer!” he exclaimed, from afar, when he first saw the little prince coming.
For, to conceited men, all other men are admirers. (11.2-3)
There are many ways to develop your own version of reality. It’s not just living on another planet (although this character does that too). Finding a different reality comes from just being the kind of person that you are. In this case, for the “conceited man,” being conceited shapes his understanding of all other people. To him, “all other men are admirers.” Even if they’re not actually admirers, he thinks they are. Guess that’s better than creating a reality in which everybody dislikes you, right?
“If I owned a silk scarf,” he said, “I could put it around my neck and take it away with me. If I owned a flower, I could pluck that flower and take it away with me. But you cannot pluck the stars from heaven…”
“No. But I can put them in the bank.” (13.42-3)
Here’s a big difference of opinion between two characters who inhabit different versions of reality. The prince sees the stars as they appear in the sky, or “from heaven.” You can see them but you can’t touch or hold them, like you could small objects like “a silk scarf” or a flower. For that reason, he thinks, people can’t possess the stars. But the businessman thinks you can own anything, just by saying you do. If you can count it, for example, you can own it.