In Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, what are two main lessons that the prince learns, and who does he learn them from?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One of the most important lessons is learned through the fox. It can be said that through the fox the prince learns the value of faithfulness. The prince has wandered far from his own planet and from the rose, the one he loves, because he felt she had rejected him. In contrast, the fox teaches him that when one "tames" something, that something becomes extra special. When one tames something, one needs that something and that something needs you in return. As the fox explains, if the prince tamed him then they would be unique to each other in all the world and need each other. In addition, the fox explains that if the prince tamed him the fox's life would have meaning and that things that were of no use to him now would suddenly be of use, such as the wheat fields. The wheat fields are the same color of the prince's hair and so looking at the wheat fields would remind the fox of the prince. In short, the fox teaches the prince that his flower has tamed him. But more importantly, when the prince decides it is time to leave the fox, the fox teaches the prince that he is responsible for what he tames; he is therefore responsible for his rose, as we see in the fox's lines, "It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important ... You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose ..." (Ch. 21). It is due to the fox's wisdom that the prince realizes he must return home to continue caring for his rose.

The snake also teaches him a very valuable lesson. Meeting the snake is the first time that the prince begins to see the value of reconnecting with his roots, as we see in the snake's line, "Whomever I touch, I send back to the earth from whence he came" (Ch. 17). In addition, he learns the value of the spiritual world rather than the corporeal world, something he also learns from the fox who teaches him that it is the things that can't be seen that are important. It is because of his knowledge of the value of things unseen that the prince becomes brave enough to leave his body behind in order to return to his flower.

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