The Little Prince

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The Lamplighter Character Analysis

The lamplighter is a faithful but unhappy grownup, who is miserable because his job allows him no rest. His planet makes a full turn every minute, and in order to keep up, he is constantly lighting or putting out the lamp. The little prince thinks more highly of him than of the other grownups because he is the only one who thinks of something beside himself.

The Lamplighter Quotes in The Little Prince

The The Little Prince quotes below are all either spoken by The Lamplighter or refer to The Lamplighter. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Relationships Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt Brace & Company edition of The Little Prince published in 291970.
Chapter 14 Quotes

"It may well be that this man is absurd. But he is not so absurd as the king, the conceited man, the businessman, and the tippler. For at least his work has some meaning. When he lights his street lamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower. When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep. That is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful."

Related Characters: The Little Prince (speaker), The King, The Conceited Man, The Businessman, The Lamplighter
Page Number: 57-58
Explanation and Analysis:

The little prince observes the lamplighter on a small planet with no other inhabitants, who nonetheless lights the lamp each morning and each night. Here, the prince attempts to distinguish this task from the tasks of the king, conceited man, and businessman, and asks himself why such tasks seem so different. He settles on the notion of beauty.

For the prince, use and ownership are not only related to a sense of care and protection: they also gain meaning by supporting beauty in the world. However, for him beauty is also something that only makes sense in terms of relationships - allowing another person to experience beauty is one of the greatest gifts he can imagine. This sense of generosity, as well as the creative mind that allows the prince to think in such a way, is another reminder of what distinguishes him from grown-ups.

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"That man," said the little prince to himself, as he continued farther on his journey, "that man would be scorned by all the others: by the king, by the conceited man, by the tippler, by the businessman. Nevertheless he is the only one of them all who does not seem to me ridiculous. Perhaps that is because he is thinking of something else besides himself."

Related Characters: The Little Prince (speaker), The King, The Conceited Man, The Tippler, The Businessman, The Lamplighter
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

The lamplighter, according to the questions that the little prince has asked him, is not a saint: he is growing frustrated by the shorter and shorter length of the day on his planet, and he does complain to the prince. However, the prince believes that the lamplighter is more dignified and important than any of the other people he's met, people who believed themselves to be so essential despite their narrow-mindedness. T

The lamplighter's entire profession is based on a task whose sole purpose is to light the way for others, to ease a journey and to help people to see. For the prince, this emphasis on others is something that too many grown-ups have lost (it's also ironic that the king and business man would almost certainly look down on the lamplighter, thinking his menial job is beneath them).

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The Lamplighter Character Timeline in The Little Prince

The timeline below shows where the character The Lamplighter appears in The Little Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
...is the smallest of these planets, with only enough room for a street lamp and a lamplighter . The little prince muses on the fact that it is rather absurd for a... (full context)
Exploration vs. Narrowmindedness Theme Icon
The little prince asks the lamplighter why he lights and puts out the lamp with such frequency, and the lamplighter responds... (full context)
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Exploration vs. Narrowmindedness Theme Icon
Childhood vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
The little prince continues on his journey, thinking that the lamplighter is the least ridiculous of the grownups he has met because the lamplighter at least... (full context)