Here is our analysis of The Little Prince, the story for children which makes everybody cry and has sold at 175 million copies around the world.
The Little Prince – Story analysis – Chapter XV – The planet of the geographer
“The sixth planet was ten times larger than the last one. It was inhabited by an old gentleman who wrote voluminous books.” The little prince sits on the desk, and discovers that this gentleman is a geographer.
Structure: exposition as usual.
Genres and themes: apparition of a few new different genres, other than the tale: social sciences, geography. Decidedly this short naive book also look like an encyclopedia!
The prince asks the definition of a geographer, the geographer defines it as “a scholar who knows the location of all the seas, rivers, towns, mountains, and deserts”.
Structure: catalyst. Little prince Hero, goal to know, Antagonist the ununderstandable adult… well, it’s the usual characters set in this series of plots.
But when the prince asks informations about the geographer’s planet, the geographer replies that he does not know anything of it, since he is not an explorer!
Structure: development, Act II: unable to satisfy the little prince’s curiosity, the geographer opposes the goal of the Hero, which stops this mini-plot from continuing.
Theme and pattern repetition: we recognize the same absurd and circular logics than with the previous characters…
Facing the little prince’s surprise, the geographer explains that his work is based on the reports made by explorers, who must bring him proofs. Then the geographer asks the prince to describe his planet.
Structure: the mini-plot had to take another direction, taking account of its previous failure: so it reverts the roles and starts again: the geographer becomes the Hero who wants to know, and the little prince is invited to become his Helper.
The prince enumerates his three volcanoes and his flower, the geographer retorts that he does not take account of flowers because they are ephemeral – “Why is that? The flower is the most beautiful thing on my planet!” says the little prince, offended. The child asks for a precise definition of the term “ephemeral”, the geographer provides it to him: “in danger of speedy disappearance”, and the child suddenly feels nostalgia towards his flower, blaming himself for having left her alone.
Structure: this scene can stand as a crisis because it destroys the previously defined goals, it is not about knowing any more: the plot has to end because it has crossed the way of another plot – the origin of the main, general plot of the prince’s travel which led us here. So, the previous mini-plots don’t really have a crisis, but this crash between plots plays the same role of providing a high-intensity drama endpoint.
The prince announces he is leaving and asks the geographer for advice: which planet should he explore now? The geographer recommands him the Earth.
Structure: this conclusion also plays as an exposition with catalyst: the geographer, in position of Mentor, sends the Hero in mission, which echoes the pattern of the King who wanted to make the little prince his ambassador.
Read our full analysis of The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and improve your writing skills