Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTERS 7 & 8
On the fifth day of their friendship, the Little Prince reveals to the narrator the secret of his life. The Prince asks the narrator the purpose behind flowers having thorns, but the narrator is too busy repairing his plane to pay attention to the question. The Prince grows angry when the narrator does not consider his question important. Feeling hurt, he gives the narrator a long lecture on the importance of a particular flower to his planet; if any harm comes to it, darkness will fall on his world. Since the Prince fears that the sheep may hurt the flower, the narrator says he will draw a muzzle for them so that they cannot destroy the flower.
The Prince tells the story of his special flower. It began with a new kind of plant, never before seen on his planet. When a huge bud appeared on the strange plant, the Little Prince thought surely that some miraculous apparition would emerge from it. As the bud grew into a beautiful flower, it became like a female creature who took a long time to dress herself and was then vain about her beauty. Although the Little Prince found the flower to be exciting and beautiful, he was tormented by her vanity and exaggerations. Soon the Little Prince, normally filled with good will and love, began to doubt the flower, believing that she told many lies. He claims that he found it impossible to love the flower, which made him feel ashamed. In the end, he left his planet to flee from her vanity; but now he is worried about her.
By the end of these chapters, the Little Prince has revealed why he left his planet. There is a special flower that grows on his planet, which is one of a kind. If anything destroys the plant that bears the flower, the Prince's world will become dark. Since the Prince is worried that the sheep on his planet will eat the flower, the narrator promises to draw a muzzle for the sheep to keep them from harming it.
When the Prince questions the narrator about the purpose of thorns on a flower, the narrator ignores him, for he is busy working on his airplane. The Prince is furious that the narrator does not consider his question important. Saint-Exupéry is clearly pointing out that people and their concerns are much more important than things, such as the airplane.
With excitement, agitation, and tears, the Little Prince explains the importance of the flower to him. Although the flower, personified as a woman, lends beauty to his planet, she is very vain. The Prince is greatly tormented by her vanity and exaggerations. For the first time in his life, he feels he cannot love something, for he doubts the flower's truthfulness. He is so troubled by his feelings that he leaves the planet that he dearly loves. Now, however, he is concerned about the flower's safety.
While narrating his story to the author, the Prince criticizes himself. He thinks that he should have been more patient with his flower, refusing to grow angry with her. If he had been tender to her, rather than scorning her, she might have changed to the better. He feels terribly guilty that he had been too young to know how to love her properly. Through the Prince and the flower, Saint-Exupéry is stating that love needs to be nurtured with tenderness and patience.