The Little Prince

by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Questions for Philosophical Discussion
by Allison Trzop

Section 1 pp. 1-21 Chapters I-VII

The story of The Little Prince is about a pilot who crashes his plane in the desert. The author of the story was also a pilot who was stuck in the desert after his plane crashed. The pilot in the book meets a little prince from another planet.

  1. Do you think everything in the book actually happened to the man who wrote it?
  2. What's the difference between reality and make-believe?
  3. Can things we read about in stories be real?
  4. Can we make a list of some things that we might find in this story that are real and some things we might find that aren't real?
  5. Can you think of a story you've heard that has both things from real life and make believe in it?

Chapter IV

The pilot points out that, "When you tell them about a new friend, [grown-ups] never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: 'What does his voice sounds like?' 'What games does he like best?' 'Does he collect butterflies?' They ask: 'How old is he?' 'How many brothers does he have?' 'How much does he weigh?' 'How much money does his father make?'"

  1. How do you describe a friend?

The pilot says grown-ups will believe the little prince existed if you say, "The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612." He says grown-ups won't believe he existed if you say, "The proof of the little prince's existence is that he was delightful, that he laughed, and that he wanted a sheep."

  1. What do you think proves that the little
    prince existed?

The pilot explains, "If I try to describe him here, it's so I won't forget him."

  1. Does describing somebody help you remember him or her?
  2. What's another way to remember a person? (Can point out that the pilot also makes a picture of the little prince.)

We learn from the pilot that, "It's already been 6 years since [the little prince] went away."

  1. If the little prince left Earth 6 years ago, but his friend still remembers him, does the little prince still exist? (Can ask if he still exists on Earth to clarify.)

Chapter VII

If the pilot doesn't fix his plane, he might die. The little prince thinks the war between the sheep and the flowers is more serious.

  1. Which do you think is more serious? Why?

The pilot drops his tools and consoles the little prince. He thinks taking care of his friend is more serious than his own life.

  1. Would you have taken care of your friend or fixed your plane?
  2. Is it ever OK to think your friend's problems are more serious than your own?
  3. When is it OK to think your own problems are more serious?

Section 2 pp. 22-43 Chapters VIII-XIV

Chapter X

Let's make a list of people who have authority.

  1. If the king in the story has no subjects, then does the king really have authority?
  2. Does anybody or anything obey the king's commands?
  3. What gives people authority?

Chapter XI

  1. Who do you admire?
  2. Why does the vain man in the story want admiration?
  3. Does he deserve to be admired?
  4. Have you ever been admired?
  5. What were you admired for?
  6. Who admired you?
  7. What is admiration?

Chapter XIII

The businessman says he owns the stars because he was the first to think of it.
  1. Do you agree with him?



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