The Little Prince – Story analysis – Chapter XXI – The little prince meets the fox
A fox, hidden, says hello to the little prince. The fox appears, the prince offers him to play but the fox refuses because he is not tamed.
Structure: exposition and catalyst of a new plot. The little prince is Hero again, his goal is to play and, as this was already made clear and will be confirmed, to make a friend – the first action being a proof of the second one. But since the fox refuses to play, he plays at first a role of Antagonist.
The little prince asks what “tame” means, the fox ignores the question and asks about what the prince is searching for. The prince says he is searching for men and asks his question again about the word “tame”.
Repetition: the prince’s obstinate curiosity, he never gives up his questions.
The fox evokes the men, who hunt and raise chickens, and asks whether the prince is looking for chickens. The prince asserts that he is “looking for friends”, and asks his question again.
Redefinition of the goal of the Hero.
Double pattern repetition: obstinate curiosity of the prince, and search for friends.
The fox explains what tame means: it is creating links, and becoming unique one for the other, among many others. The little prince understands, by analogy, that he thus has tamed his rose. He evokes his planet, the fox asks whether hunters and chicken do live there too. The little prince replies there are none of them, no hunter but also no chicken, it is no opportunity for the fox.
Structure: for the first time since the encounter with the airman, the little prince can finally make friend with someone. We thus understand that he is about to reach his goal, to make a friend.
The fox has an idea: to escape a monotonous life as chicken hunter hunted by men, he proposes the little prince to tame him, so that the wheat, which does not mean anything for him, will remind him the golden color of the little prince’s hair. The prince accepts with a bit of reluctance, saying he has friends to meet and things to know. The fox insists and, answering the little prince’s curiosity, proposes a simple method: get closer day after day…
Structure: we could have believed the goal was reached, since the fox and the prince already have a very friendly dialogue, but it was not the case, because the fox imposes his moral method… Thus the goal gets set in the future, leading the audience to expect it.
The next day, the prince comes back to see the fox, who suggests that the prince would come each day at the same hour, so as to have the joy of expecting him… so that it is their ritual. The prince asks what a ritual is, the fox explains it in his own way: it is what makes that day different from the other days. Then the narrator asserts that the fox has been tamed by the prince.
Structure: climax? the goal is now reached and we can believe the plot is over. Not totally, it’s partly a wrong track.
Though, the prince must already leave. The fox feels sad about it, but still happy because now the color of the wheat has a meaning to him. He advises the prince to go and see the roses again.
Structure: the plot starts again, on modified data: the prince stays Hero, but the fox becomes Mentor, since he sends the prince in mission and gives him a new goal.
The little prince goes and tells the roses they are not tamed as his rose, they are all the same, with no special value to him.
Structure: this return to chapter XX’s plot slightly modifies the plots schema: the current one converges with the XXth.
The little prince comes back to greet the fox, who offers him this message to remember: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”
Structure: the plot of the fox can now close on this benefit conquerred by the Hero: he has learnt something important, he gains wisdom.
Genre: this message to remember makes a new and very clear proof of the book’s intentions of moral education.
The fox makes the little prince repeat a few other beautiful and wise sentences about the fact that he is responsible for his rose.
This confirms the role of the fox as Mentor. A Mentor gives a goal or ways to reach a goal. It is the case here indeed, since the little prince was searching for knowledge – he gained wisdom – and to make friends – he has made one, and has won the method to make others: taming.
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