Study Guide

The Little Prince Chapter 17

By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Chapter 17

  • We start out this chapter with a confession from the narrator: he might have exaggerated a wee bit when he spoke of the number of people on the earth. Oopsie.
  • Then, the narrator talks to us readers directly for a second. He says that although adults would have you believe that people are as important and imposing as baobabs, in actuality, if all the people in the world were assembled together in one space, they would not take more room than a small island.
  • After that, he returns to his story.
  • And, finally, that story brings us down to the Earth, where the prince has only just shown up.
  • The prince ends up in the African desert, and the first creature he encounters is a snake. (Some welcome to Earth, right?)
  • The two chat, and the snake explains how big the planet is. (Put on your Donald Trump voice: “HUUUGE.”)
  • The snake asks the prince why he is here, and the prince says that he has been having some trouble with a flower. The snake seems to understand him.
  • The prince asks the snake how he can find the men, because it is lonely in the desert. To this, the snake says, “It is also lonely among men” (17.17).
  • Then, the snake explains that he has great authority. His words are rather cryptic, and he says, “Whomever I touch, I send back to the earth from whence they came” (17.25). If the little prince someday grows homesick for his planet, the snake says, he can help to send him home. The little prince says he understands him perfectly.

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