In this context, water represents more than a source of physical life as it forges an unbreakable link between the two characters, and penetrates the barren spirit of the pilot.
Any discussion on the message of "Le Petit Prince" must include a consideration of the tools of rhetoric which are present in the text. In other words, once the reader has understood what the little prince is truly saying, he must also understand how he is saying it i.e. his rhetoric. The main purpose of rhetoric is persuasion. According to Aristotle, there are three main persuasive appeals that a speaker can turn to. Logos is the appeal to logic, and the use of arguments based on reason. This presupposes that the speaker and the audience share the same logical assumptions. The little prince does exactly the opposite: he challenges what is considered 'reasonable" by adults, and offers them a new take on reality: "Men?...I saw them, several years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult." (Saint-Exupery Chapter 18) Nonetheless, the little price does not refute logic but puts forth a new system of thought: "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." (Ibid., Chapter 1).
Ethos is the appeal based on the reputation of the speaker; in the case of the little prince, he is at first perceived as a possibly unreliable speaker due to his age and physical appearance. Finally, the pathos is the appeal based on emotion. The little prince uses several such arguments: "If someone loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself, 'Somewhere, my flower is there..." (Ibid., Chapter 7). The child does not judge the people he meets; he challenges them to look inside themselves and be their own judges: "Then you shall judge yourself. That is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom." (Ibid., Chapter 10).
The tone of the narration is a key aspect in understanding both plot, and characters. The narrator confesses to his loneliness before his plane crashes in the Sahara desert: "So I lived my life alone, without anyone that I could really talk to..." (Saint-Exupery, Chapter 1). Similarly, the little prince feels isolated from the rest of the world who does not understand him. The tone of the narration is sad and lonely because the character-narrator is a lonely man who cannot relate to the outer world. The tone of the little prince's stories is also sad but it is also melancholic: "You know-one loves the sunset, when one is so sad..." (Ibid., Chapter 6).
Visual images also help convey the message of the text. In this sense, visual representation has a double role. Firstly, images help children understand the plot; many times, stories which are accompanied by illustrations are more powerful because images are more compelling to children than words. Secondly, images can also enhance the reading experience of adults. However, the drawings of Saint-Exupery's fable are special because they belong to the author of the story; this is a very important aspect as it conveys a coherence of vision and emotion. The visual illustration of the story by the narrator also symbolizes the fact that certain truths are too big for words, and have to be translated into images. The words of the little prince are too big to be confined to letters on a page, so the narrator feels the need to offer a visual aid.
The little prince changes the life of the narrator. With the open-mindedness of children, the little prince teaches the pilot about one's responsibility to the people they love, and to the world in general. He shows the lonely pilot that the things which truly matter are not visible to the eye, but only to the heart.
Nodelman, Perry, and Mavis Reimer. The Pleasures of Children Literature.…