What is the symbolism in Chapter nine?Antoine Saint Exupery "Le Petit Prince"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Nine of "Le Petit Prince" begins after the prince reflects in Chapter Eight that he has not known how to understand anything:

I ought to have judged by deeds, not by words...affection lay behind her little affectations.  But I was too young to know how to love her.

It is the prince's responsibility to the rose that makes her special to him.  As he prepares to leave, he puts everything in order, also exerting responsibility for the volcanoes, symbols of energy.  Then, he goes to the rose to say good-bye.  He holds the globe, the symbol of his love and protection, over her.  But, the flower says that she does not want the globe anymore.  She tells the prince that she will endure the caterpillars [indicative of her vulnerability]; she can deter many other creatures with her thorns.  She will become vulnerable and the prince realizes that thorns are not the greatest of defences, they are merely symbolic of the other side to her nature.

The flower tells him to go, for she does not want the prince to see her cry as she is proud.  Without the prince, however, she will be vulnerable.