The Little Prince


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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The Little Prince: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

The little prince then arrives on a much larger planet with a geographer, who is eager to talk to an explorer. He tells the little prince that a geographer is a scholar who knows the location of all the seas, rivers, towns, mountains, and deserts, but when the little prince asks him whether his planet has any of these things, the geographer says that he doesn't know. He explains that it is an explorer's job to go out and count these things and that geographers are too important to go loafing about.
Although the geographer's profession seems promising at first, he reveals himself to be just as self-important as the other grownups when he says that he doesn't go loafing about and exploring. His lack of exploration is also a symbol of his narrow-minded approach to creating geography books. His requirements are so strict that he can't actually write any books based on them. His focus is entirely on second-hand knowledge, not personal experience of the world
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The geographer then takes an interest in the little prince, asking him about his planet. The little prince brushes this 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 "ephemeral," or "in danger of speedy disappearance." The little prince faces his first moment of regret upon hearing this, but he asks the geographer which planet he would recommend visiting next. The geographer says that the planet Earth has a good reputation.
For the geographer, only things that are eternal are important, but for the little prince, his flower matters more because she is ephemeral. The little prince realizes at this point that his time with the flower has always been limited, making it precious.
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