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Free Study Guide-The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTERS 21 & 22

Summary

While the Prince is crying in the grass, he hears a voice, which comes from a fox. The fox says that he would like to play with him and become friends, but first the fox must be tamed. Then the fox and the Prince talk about what it means to be tame. The fox thinks that one can only understand the things that one tames.

After the fox teaches the Little Prince how to tame him, the Prince obliges. After the fox is tamed, the Prince says he must depart. The little fox cries and begs him to go and see the garden of roses. When the Little Prince looks at the flowers again, he realizes that his special rose at home is lovelier than these roses, for she has been tamed and is loved. The fox explains that a person can only see correctly with the heart, for often loveliness is invisible to the eye. The Prince will always remember this lesson of the fox.


After he leaves the fox, the Little Prince encounters a railway switchman, who explains the nature of his job. As the Prince watches trains coming and going, he asks why they are in such a hurry and why they are not satisfied where there are. The switchman tells the Prince that the trains do not know why they are in a hurry, for they do not pursue anything at all. The Prince says that only children know what they are looking for; the switchman responds that children are lucky.

Notes

When the Little Prince encounters the fox, they want to play and become friends, but the fox insists on first being tamed. He feels that a person can only understand the things that one truly knows; therefore, it is important to put time and effort into a friendship. After the Little Prince follows the fox's instructions about taming him, the two become friends; in the process, the narrator explains the importance of friendship in a heart-warming manner. He stresses that true friendship is always cultivated, never bought.

The fox teaches the Little Prince an important lesson of life. He explains that a person can only see with the heart, for eyes are often blind to beauty. Before the Prince departs, the fox wants him to go and see the roses in the garden again. When the Little Prince looks at them this time, he realizes that his own roses is much more lovely, for she has been tamed and loved by him.

As the Prince departs, the fox says that he will always remember him and think about him when he sees wheat, for the Prince's hair is the same color. The Little Prince knows he will always remember the important things that the fox has taught him. It is obvious that the fox has become a mouthpiece for the author's own thoughts and ideas about friendship and love.

In the twenty-second chapter, the Prince meets a railway switchman and questions him about why the trains hurry so fast and then never stay in one place. The switchman has no answer, for he feels they have no reason to rush. Saint-Exupéry is comparing the trains to men, who rush forward through life never knowing where they are headed and never being satisfied with the place that they find themselves. The Prince says that it is only children who seem to be able to enjoy life and feel satisfied with where they are; they can "waste their time over a rag doll...and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry." The switchman agrees that children are very lucky to be satisfied with what they have.

Throughout the book, the author places an emphasis on the innocence and purity of children. Since they are simple and inexperienced, children are not colored by the world and other people's opinions; therefore, they are able to see below the surface to find the truth. Because of his keen appreciation of children, Saint-Exupéry has made his main character a little prince, filled with innocence and wonder.

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