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 plots and montage
The Little Prince tells 25 plots. These 25 plots make a complex overall structure:
- Plot 1, the narrator as a child and drawer of boas
The airman encounters the little prince
- Exposition of the encounter with the little prince: plot 2, the airman has a breakdown in the desert
- Catalyst: plot 3, the airman meets the little prince who asks him a picture of sheep
- Goal: plot 4, to discover where the little prince is coming from
The asteroid of the little prince
- General exposition (in reply to plot 4): plot 5, the turkish astronomer discovers asteroid B-612
- Detailed exposition: plots 6 to 9, general properties of the little prince and of his asteroid: the baobabs,
the sunsets, the rose, the curiosity…
The travel of the little prince on the asteroids
- Development: plots 10 to 17, the little prince leaves and visits the king, the conceited man, the tippler, the businessman,
the lamplighter and the geographer, who sends him to visit Earth
The travel of the little prince on Earth
- Development: descriptions of the Earth and humanity, then plots 18 to 23, the little prince visits the Earth and
meets the snake, a flower, the echo of the Mountains, the 5000 roses, the fox, the railway switchman, the pill-seller
(and the airman, which reconnects this series to plot 2)
The little prince goes back home
- End of plots 2 and 3: the airman and the little prince are looking for water and find a well, the airman fixes his plane,
plot 24, the little prince organizes his trip back to his asteroid and his flower, and dies
- The narrator greets us goodbye and asks us to remember the little prince.
Types of plots structures
- Technically, these plots use various forms of montage, that we described in detail in our Storytelling 2 – Advanced.
Interlaced or parallel plots
- It is the case of the plots 2 and 3, 24 and 25, which alternate scenes from one plot and scenes from the other. Afterwards, these plots converge.
Plots in series
- It is the case of the three main series of plots, 6 to 10 which describe the asteroid of the little prince, 10 to 17 which tell his travel in space and 18 to 23 (or even to 25) which tell his travel on Earth.
- It is the case of the relationship between the two framing plots 2 and 3, which open and conclude the story, and all the plots 4 to 25 which take place within this frame.
- It consists in using one plot as a step of another plot. It is the case of plot 1, which helps exposing the character of the airman in the plot 2 and the following plots, and it is also the case of plot 5 which makes the exposition of the series of the plots 6 to 10.
Converging or crossed plots
- This type of montage melts two plots into one, so that an actantial character of a plot takes an actantial role in another.
- It is the case of plots 20 and 21: once the little prince has understood the moral lesson of the fox who taught him what is love in plot 21, the little prince goes back to speak to the roses of plot 20.
Read our full analysis of The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and improve your writing skills.