The Little Prince

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The Rose/Flower Character Analysis

The rose is the object of the little prince's affection. She is beautiful and vain, given to telling dramatic lies, which prompts the little prince to leave his planet and set off on his journey. She apologizes right before he leaves, but he decides to go anyway—eventually, he feels sorry for leaving her and tries to return to his planet to protect her.

The Rose/Flower Quotes in The Little Prince

The The Little Prince quotes below are all either spoken by The Rose/Flower or refer to The Rose/Flower. 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 7 Quotes

"If someone loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself, 'Somewhere, my flower is there...' But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened... And you think that is not important!"

Related Characters: The Little Prince (speaker), The Pilot/Narrator, The Rose/Flower
Related Symbols: Stars
Page Number: 29-30
Explanation and Analysis:

The prince objects to the hierarchy created by the pilot, forcing him to reconsider what he assumes to be more or less important. For the pilot, the most pressing task of the moment is the obvious problem with his plane's motor. Fanciful stories about far-away roses in danger simply do not seem relevant to him.

But the little prince's speech implies that there may be a better way to think about what is important than simply equating it with what is immediate, present, and materially urgent. Instead, importance for the prince rests on the significance of relationships – even when there is no physical presence to bear witness to a certain relationship. As the prince looks out towards the stars, he can derive joy from knowing that the rose he loves is there, somewhere, even if he cannot see her. This distance, however, makes the relationship perilously fragile, even as it underlines how essential the rose is to the prince.

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Chapter 15 Quotes

"My flower is ephemeral," the little prince said to himself, "and she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world. And I have left her on my planet, all alone!"

Related Characters: The Little Prince (speaker), The Rose/Flower
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

As the geographer asks the prince about the qualities of the prince's planet, he soon brushes off the prince's description of his flower by saying that he does not deal with "ephemeral" things - that is, qualities of a place or landscape that can easily disappear.

For the geographer, a flower can easily wilt or be trampled, making it unimportant relative to the mountains, forests, and seas that he deems significant enough to study. But for the prince, of course, that very fragility is frightening, since he thinks of the rose not as a key to his own map but rather as an innocent being that needs his help and care, as something that he loves. When the geographer describes the rose as ephemeral it is an insult, a dismissal. But for the prince, the rose's very ephemerality, the fact that it can be lost or destroyed, is part of what binds him to it and makes him love and want to care for it.

Chapter 20 Quotes

And he was overcome with sadness. His flower had told him that she was the only one of her kind in all the universe. And here were five thousand of them, all alike, in one single garden!

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker), The Little Prince, The Rose/Flower
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

In wandering around the planet Earth, the prince has stumbled upon a garden with thousands and thousands of roses. Although this garden is beautiful, the prince is horrified. He had believed his own rose when she had claimed she was unique in the universe: indeed, he had taken such good care of her in large part because he believed that she was irreplaceable. Now, the prince must grapple with the difficult realization that the flower that he loves, that he has tended to with such care, is literally one among thousands. 

At the moment, the prince cannot do anything other than cry. He is too distraught to fully come to terms with what this realization means. This scene, however, can be thought of as a turning point, in that the prince must now think about how to value what he loves for reasons other than that the object of his love is unique. Indeed, what it means to be unique, beyond simply one-of-a-kind in the universe, will be a question that he will return to.

Chapter 24 Quotes

I said to myself, again: "What moves me so deeply, about this little prince who is sleeping here, is his loyalty to a flower—the image of a rose that shines through his whole being like the flame of a lamp, even when he is asleep..." And I felt him to be more fragile still. I felt the need of protecting him, as if he himself were a flame that might be extinguished by a little puff of wind...

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker), The Little Prince, The Rose/Flower
Page Number: 93-94
Explanation and Analysis:
As the pilot watches the little prince sleep, he too begins to learn a valuable lesson about friendship and love. Just as the prince has chosen to love a rose and take care of her as best he can, making her unique in the world as his chosen object of love (if not as the only rose in the world), the pilot has developed a true friendship with the prince. As a result, he too feels the need to protect the prince and to keep him innocent, free from the corruption of the world and the schemes of the adults who have lost their sense of wonder and compassion. At the same time as the prince is learning more about what it means to seek out the essential beyond the superficial, the pilot too is learning to modify his adult understanding of the world.
Chapter 27 Quotes

Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who also love the little prince, and for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, we do not know where, a sheep that we never saw has—yes or no?—eaten a rose...

Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes...

And no grown−up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker), The Little Prince, The Rose/Flower
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

As the narrator comes to the end of his story, he directly addresses the reader, asking us to align ourselves with the world view that he has developed through his relationship with the little prince. Throughout The Little Prince, we have seen a contrast between two ways of thinking: there is the grown-up way of thinking, which chooses what to value based on strange, distanced, and close-minded calculations; and there is the child's way of thinking, which chooses what to cherish based on essential, real values. Children do not need to think about whether what they love is "valuable" in economic or political terms: instead, their very act of choosing to love is what creates value. 

If the sheep has eaten the flower, this will undeniably be a great, painful loss for the prince, and the fact that even one person has loved the flower should make it a loss for us too. As he closes, then, the narrator challenges us to think about what is essential and what is truly valuable, and to break out of the way of thinking that most adults are condemned to follow. 

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The Rose/Flower Character Timeline in The Little Prince

The timeline below shows where the character The Rose/Flower appears in The Little Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Childhood vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...the pilot of talking just like the grownups. The little prince makes a speech about his flower , unique in the entire universe, which might be destroyed by a hapless sheep—and bursts... (full context)
Chapter 8
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
The little prince tells the pilot more about his flower, the rose. She appears one day on his planet as a shrub and takes her time growing,... (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 says that he was too young to know how to love his rose. (full context)
Chapter 9
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Exploration vs. Narrowmindedness Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...cleans the three volcanoes on his planet, pulls the last baobab shoots, and waters his rose. He feels sad, believing that he'll never return. As he's about to place the glass... (full context)
Chapter 13
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Childhood vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
...and that is enough. The little prince then mentions that he owns three volcanoes and a flower on his own planet, and that he is of use to them, but that the... (full context)
Chapter 15
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
...aside, saying that his planet is not very interesting and only contains three volcanoes and a flower . The geographer interrupts to say that he does not record flowers because they are... (full context)
Chapter 20
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Exploration vs. Narrowmindedness Theme Icon
...a long while, the little prince comes across a road leading to a bed of roses. The little prince is devastated to discover that his rose was lying to him when... (full context)
Chapter 21
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Exploration vs. Narrowmindedness Theme Icon
The fox tells the little prince to go observe the bed of roses again, and this time the little prince tells the roses that they are not at... (full context)
Chapter 24
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...fragile and precious. The pilot admires how passionate the little prince is about protecting his rose. At daybreak, the pilot finds water. (full context)
Chapter 26
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...few more steps by himself before sitting down. He says that he is responsible for his flower and must return to take care of her. He gets up again and takes a... (full context)
Chapter 27
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
...the little prince's sheep, and so he worries that the sheep may have eaten the rose. He asks the readers whether they believe the sheep has eaten the rose or not... (full context)