What are some conflicts in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery?

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Some of the conflicts in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery arise because the Little Prince has left his planet in search of answers about how to view the world and relationships. He feels that his rose, his love, has rejected him with her off-putting behavior. However, because he is not on his tiny planet, he has also left his rose alone. Now, he is stranded on earth and worried about how his rose will fare all by herself. She is fragile and defenseless. An overarching conflict is his need to return to her.

The conflict that initially spurs the Little Prince to leave his planet is that he wants answers to fundamental questions about love and relationships. He visits other planets and meets a variety of animals. He also meets the pilot. He asks age-old questions so that he can understand why people (or roses) interact with loved ones the way they do. Essentially, he would like someone to explain love to him and also explain why one loses one’s sense of wonder and innocence as one ages. He does not understand why adults do not see the picture of the serpent for what it is and only see a hat. The author is telling us that the loss of innocence is sad and that adults could learn a lot from the Little Prince.

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There are several conflicts that occur in Antoine St-Exupery’s The Little Prince. The Prince is stranded on Earth, far removed from his asteroid home planet. One of the main conflicts is his attempts to return home to his world. He wishes the pilot could fly him back, but in the end, he comes to the conclusion that a bite from a certain venomous snake will return him to his world. This causes a greater conflict because the pilot believes he will die and tries to prevent him from letting the snake bite him.

Additionally, the Prince endured many conflicts on his journey to Earth. He came across a business-like planet where everyone is uptight and overly formal. This place lacked creativity and scared him greatly, because it challenged his own ideas about how the world should be. He also had a falling out with his rose, and part of the reason he is so desperate to return is because he wishes to reconcile with her.

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Antoine St-Exupery’s novel The Little Prince is an interesting tale because it deals more with the relationship and musings between the man and the prince than an actual conflict. However, there are some conflicts that arise in the story.

First and foremost, there is a natural conflict about how the prince is to return to his asteroid. Being stranded on earth without a means of travel makes it very difficult for him to return. Near the end of the novel, this presents another challenge, as the prince claims that being bitten by a certain venomous snake will return his spirit to his world, even if his body remains on Earth. The pilot argues with him, saying that he will simply die.

Another conflict in the novel occurs between the prince and his rose. While it takes place outside of the action of the story, the prince and his rose have a disagreement. Worse still, the Prince comes upon a field of roses in the story, which breaks his heart, because he thought his rose was the only one of its kind.

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Conflict is defined as a struggle or clash between two entities in a story, typically between the story's protagonist and antagonist. Since conflict refers to a struggle between two things, we can easily identify a specific conflict in a story as something vs. something else. Conflicts can be both external and internal. Common external conflicts are character vs. character, character vs. society, and character vs. nature. An internal conflict is commonly described as character vs. self. Many different conflicts, both external and internal, can certainly be found in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's novella The Little Prince.


One conflict can be seen with respect to the reasons behind the Little Prince's decision to leave his planet. On his planet, he met and started tending a rose he loved very dearly. Yet, due to her vanity and pride, he felt that nothing he could do for her was good enough; he felt that she did not love him as he loved her and made up his mind to leave though it broke his heart to do so. However, before he left, she confessed her love for him and begged his forgiveness. Since it was the flower's vanity that drove him from his own planet, we can call this conflict character vs. character.

Through his travels, the Little Prince experiences personal growth. As part of his personal growth, he battles with his feelings for his flower. At one point, he sees a garden of roses, and his prior belief that his flower was "unique in all the world" is temporarily shattered. It is the fox that convinces him his flower is unique in comparison to all other roses simply by virtue of the fact that he loved her. As he continues his journey, he upbraids himself for having left. All of these conflicting and changing emotions within the prince are examples of an internal conflict that we can call character vs. self.

Even the pilot struggles with his own inner desires and thoughts as he struggles to survive in nature and escape death; all of these struggles are also examples of both internal and external conflicts.

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