The Little Prince

Themes and Colors
Relationships Theme Icon
The True and the Essential Theme Icon
Exploration vs. Narrowmindedness Theme Icon
Childhood vs. Adulthood Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Little Prince, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Childhood vs. Adulthood Theme Icon

The story often compares children to grownups, depicting grownups as a group of people who have lost their sense of imagination and the ability to see what's essential. The various grownups presented throughout the story have only utilitarian concerns and are ruled by vices like pride and greed. Unlike children, they've lost the ability to understand the true value of a friendship, the beauty of a house, or the things that aren't explicitly shown in a drawing.

However, the pilot's case shows that this condition can be reversed. The little prince's appearance helps him start to see the importance of establishing ties and wasting time on drawings again, even though, as he admits, he has "had to grow old."

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Childhood vs. Adulthood ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Childhood vs. Adulthood appears in each chapter of The Little Prince. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Childhood vs. Adulthood Quotes in The Little Prince

Below you will find the important quotes in The Little Prince related to the theme of Childhood vs. Adulthood.
Chapter 1 Quotes

In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown−ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn't much improved my opinion of them.

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration. But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said.

Grown−ups are like that...

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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For I do not want any one to read my book carelessly. I have suffered too much grief in setting down these memories. Six years have already passed since my friend went away from me, with his sheep. If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure that I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown−ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures...

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker), The Little Prince
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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In certain more important details I shall make mistakes, also. But that is something that will not be my fault. My friend never explained anything to me. He thought, perhaps, that I was like himself. But I, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes. Perhaps I am a little like the grown−ups. I have had to grow old.

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker), The Little Prince
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

"I know a planet where there is a certain red−faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: 'I am busy with matters of consequence!' And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man—he is a mushroom!"

Related Characters: The Little Prince (speaker), The Businessman
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

"Oh, no. Little golden objects that set lazy men to idle dreaming. As for me, I am concerned with matters of consequence. There is no time for idle dreaming in my life."

Related Characters: The Businessman (speaker)
Related Symbols: Stars
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

"Exactly," the geographer said. "But I am not an explorer. I haven't a single explorer on my planet. It is not the geographer who goes out to count the towns, the rivers, the mountains, the seas, the oceans, and the deserts. The geographer is much too important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk. But he receives the explorers in his study…"

Related Characters: The Geographer (speaker)
Page Number: 63-64
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes

All humanity could be piled up on a small Pacific islet.

The grown−ups, to be sure, will not believe you when you tell them that. They imagine that they fill a great deal of space. They fancy themselves as important as the baobabs. You should advise them, then, to make their own calculations. They adore figures, and that will please them. But do not waste your time on this extra task. It is unnecessary. You have, I know, confidence in me.

Related Characters: The Pilot/Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 68-70
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes

"Only the children know what they are looking for," said the little prince. "They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry..."

"They are lucky," the switchman said.

Related Characters: The Little Prince (speaker), The Railway Switchman (speaker)
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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