PR candide

Candide, a novel by Voltaire, 1759. This is a story about Candide, a young man who is the main character, who goes on a journey almost all around the world, in order to understand, are we actually living in the best of all possible worlds? This is the main theme of the novel, the concept of the idea of “the best of all possible worlds.” The best part is that there is no simple answer, it’s not only a journey of Candide, but also a journey for the reader, to find our own meaning and create responses to all the questions that appear.

Other themes that I came across were: justice and piety. People being treated horribly, poverty with the contrast of rich and wealthy, for example, when we come across chapter 18 in when Candide and Cacambo arrive at El Dorado, sage. They have a conversation with the king, and while Cacambo doesn’t act much surprised by what he hears, Candide can’t seem to wrap his head around the ways of their life. They worship one God, which they thank daily for everything he gave them, and everyone gets along, this place seems too peaceful to be real. It took them a month to realize they did not want to stay there, not unless Cunegonde was there with Candide.

As I was getting towards the end of the book, I couldn’t help but think about the rich man,  Senator Pococurante, a Venetian nobleman who was not only extremely wealthy, but wise. He has everything any man could ever wish for, beautiful gardens, rare paintings, women, musicians, books… Yet, he is terribly bored and unhappy. Nothing seems like, will ever satisfy him. So, I wonder, what if Pococurante sells everything, gives it away, leaves himself with nothing expensive, simply nothing, will he find peace and happiness? Or is he too wise, and will forever stay miserable?

I enjoyed this book. I can’t say that I would pick it out to read in my own free time, but it was definitely one of those novels that had me thinking about the different approaches people have in life, and how we are, quite literally, the creators of our own “ best of all possible worlds.”


candide- PR

Candide is a satirical novel that was written by Voltaire and was published in 1759. It is the story of a man who desperately believes that he lives in “the best of all possible worlds.”  It brought many questions to mind. Candide traveled the world, while looking for the love of his life, Cunegonde. Along the way he learns that optimism, or a belief in the perfect order of things, is absurd. 

I found the book a little fast paced, the development in the characters was too much and too fast to follow. I would enjoy it more if it was slowed down rather than one detail directly after another. I was also wondering why Voltaire decided to kill off Pangloss and the Baron, but then bring them back later. Pangloss was hanged because the grand inquisition saw him as a heretic. Candide was beaten because he listened to pangloss. What was the purpose of “killing” them just to bring them back to life again later?

“This world being the best of all possible worlds”(pg43). Pangloss says that to Canddie as if he wants Candide to believe their world is perfect and hide all the imperfect things. In my opinion there can never be a perfect world because there is always going to be something to improve.

Candide: Personal Response

Personally, I think ‘Candide’ by Voltaire is a very interesting book. Voltaire criticizes Christianity, the lifestyle of the people and some of their beliefs. He displays his way of thinking through the stories of each chapter. Voltaire also presents a lot of rhetorical questions that make you reflect about your life. Those questions are introduced by the deep conversations the characters are having. An example of this is Candide and Martin, when they say :

“But then why” said Candide, “was the world formed?” ” To drive us mad.” said Martin.

In this book people go to extreme lengths to get what they want, especially if its money. There are a lot of examples of this is in chapter 22. One is  when an abbé invites Candide to play cards with him and  his friends only to trick him and steal a lot of money from him.  In this chapter Candide also meets a marquise who seduces him only to steal  his jewels from him. Voltaire also criticizes the church in this chapter when he talks about the abbé because he is suppose to be good and honest but he decided to trick and steal from an innocent man. The author is trying to demonstrate that the church and the people that work in the church aren’t as good as they seem and they use their power to take advantage of other people.

‘Candide’ by Voltaire is a very fascinating satirical book that criticizes how people used to act because of Christianity. The authors way of thinking is more similar to the opinions of modern people than the beliefs of the 18th century.





Candide Reflection

On the first day of class, Mr. Macknight handed every student a copy of the course syllabus, which comprised of every text we would read throughout the Diploma Programme. Upon glancing over this extensive list, I noticed the name “Voltaire”. I googled his name, and came to the conclusion that this would be the driest, the most mind numbing, and the most drawn-out text of the entire two-year course. However, after reading Candide, I can say with certainty my mind has been changed.

The aspect of the book I thought I would detest the most, turned out to be my favorite feature of the entire book. This of course being that the book is a philosophical argument. I loved this component of the text because of the unique way in which it is presented. The argument was presented in the two characters of Martin and Pangloss, which is accompanied by the plot. Martin, who is more pessimistic and argues that everyone everywhere is miserable, speaks for Voltaire. Whereas Pangloss speaks for Leibniz, Voltaire’s vocal opponent. The plot also has an effect on this debate. Throughout Candide, shocking yet honest depictions of human suffering are common. The debate between Voltaire and Leibniz is placed on display in this way. The contrasting reactions of Martin and Pangloss are allegories of the philosophical argument being made. An example of this is on page 74, where Pangloss’ pupil, Candide, and Martin debate the nature of man,

“Do you believe that hawks have every eaten pigeons wherever they had found them?” Martin asked.

“Yes, definitely” Candide replied.

“Very well,” Martin said. “If hawks have always had the same character, why would you expect men to change theirs?”

“Oh but there is quite a difference,” Candide said, “for, after all, free will…”(pg. 74)

Martin, the pessimist, argues that man is incapable of changing his nature. Whereas Candide, the optimist, argues for man’s ability to adapt and grow. The key element of this dialogue is Candide’s argument of men possessing free will, and thus have the ability to change their nature. This quotation raises a pair of interesting questions, which are; if man has the ability to change his nature, why doesn’t he? And, to what extent do have have control over our own lives, and what role does fate play?

An additional example of Pangloss’ allegory worldview presents itself on page 112,

“I am still of my former opinion,” Pangloss replied, “for I am a philosopher, after all, and it would be improper for me to recant, as Leibnitz cannot be wrong. Preestablished harmony is the most beautiful thing in the world, as are the plenum and subtle matter.”(pg. 112)

This quotation works as a critique of Leibniz. Voltaire’s critique presents itself through Pangloss’ inability recant or re-evaluate Leibniz’s philosophy. Further, the quotation suggests that Leibniz’s beliefs are outdated. Moreover, the unwillingness to evaluate Leibniz’s philosophy inhibits change or growth of the idea of optimism.

Lastly, I especially love the quotation, “we must cultivate our garden”(pg. 119). The quotation emphasizes free will and personal responsibility. This final critique of Leibniz is my favorite. The ideas of preestablished harmony and fate are debated throughout the novel. In my interpretation, this quotation symbolizes Candide’s abandonment of Pangloss’ optimism. Candide leaves behind fate and embraces free will. Candide’s recognition that he cannot control or prevent greater suffering, but instead can determine his own suffering. Candide and his companions can determine their own suffering through the cultivation of their garden.

Candide Reflection

When I first started Candide, I was expecting it to be a lighthearted tale. However, it managed to captivate me and made me genuinely laugh –with its witty satirical comments– and think deeply with countless philosophical themes simultaneously.  The main piece of the story that lead to giving me this impression were the characters and how they all viewed the world differently. It seemed that although many people were introduced, they each had very specific and contrasting beliefs.

Just from looking at the main characters we of course have the two philosophers Martin and Pangloss, Martin having no expectations on the world as he does not believe anything good will come of it and then Pangloss, believing that our world is the “best of all worlds”. There is also Turkish philosopher who believes neither and instead says it is fruitless to think of why we deserve what happens to us because we are insignificant. The Baron deviates from philosophy and more so represents being naïve and self riotous. this can be seen at its peak with his attitude towards Candide and Cunégonde’s relationship. We have characters like the pirates or the Bulgarians, who have no respect or humanity for women as they use them for their sexual desires, and we have the cannibal people of the Americas who turned out to be not all that bad as long as you didn’t oppose them.

Each of these characters poses a question as stories and characters in stories naturally do. From how should I treat another human? to to what extent are we  significant in this world? and if you hadn’t have started thinking about any of these themes by the second page, Candide had for you. It is clear to me why Candide is the protagonist.  He takes the noise from all of these characters shouting their different ideas and making the whole thing a mess and after many attempts to try to understand it all, realizes it is a much better use of time to sit back and, well, Cultivate his garden. In a way, throwing the whole thing away and leaving me with the lighthearted tale I expected.


Reflection on Candide

Candide was an intriguing book that had me thinking about the best of all possible worlds. Candide travels all over the world throughout the book, in search of his true love. Along the way he sees learns about the world in ways that he could have only imagined. Pangloss had told him that this is the best of all possible worlds. But how can it be, when people are killed for doing nothing wrong, or some people can be given everything even if they don’t deserve it. How can there be a best possible world when you need to rely on humanity to make it possible. Could humans possibly agree to treat everyone equally, and just be kind? Candide was determined to find the best of all possible worlds, or else prove that it didn’t exist.

I enjoyed the exaggerated comedy in Candide, it made the heavy topic easier to digest. The book was easy to read at the beginning but closer to the end I found that too much was happening and it became confusing. There were too many things going on. At the end it calmed down again to allow a peaceful ending. The ending, “but we must cultivate our gardens.” made the story feel finished and secure.

Personal Response on Candide

Voltaire’s ‘Candide’ is a story based in the 1700s that follows a boy named Candide as he goes through one misfortune after the other, traveling the world just so he can be with his love, Cunegonde. Voltaire, the author, uses this book as a way to criticize or poke fun at different situations going on at the time.

Something I found interesting is the way Voltaire challenges opinions. In the book, the philosopher, Pangloss, believes that everything happens for the best, good will always prevail and we are in the best of all possible worlds. This is otherwise referred to as the belief called Optimism. This is what he teaches Candide and it is funny to me how Voltaire uses the entire book to try and prove that such an opinion is not accurate by putting Candide through a series of unfortunate events. Whatever he didn’t go through, someone close to him went through it and sometimes quite literally rose from the dead just to tell it. He travels the world and gets beaten, watches his friends die, loses some of his friends, kills a few people, gets rich only to lose everything, becomes wanted in some countries, and finds his lost ones just to be with Cunegonde and even after he finds her, she is ugly and he doesn’t want her anymore. Even after all this, Pangloss still insists that it is all for the best while we as readers strongly disagree.

Voltaire introduces a new character named Martin who is a pessimist and Candide is an optimist. Martin has only ever seen the evil of the world and therefore does not expect anything better or different, highlighting that the world was only created to infuriate us. He is a Manichaean and they believe purely in common sense and are taught that the world is unbearably painful and radically evil and should not expect anything less. Martin’s beliefs contradict Candide’s but are proven multiple times throughout the book. This doesn’t affirm that Martin’s way of thinking is correct. Martin believes that men are only capable of doing evil because it is his nature, comparing it to how it’s in a hawk’s nature to always eat pigeons wherever they are but Candide argues:

“oh, but there is quite a difference, for, after all, free will…”

Candide, pg 74

Christianity was not spared from Voltaire’s general mockery. In the third chapter, Candide had run away from the Bulgars and Agars war that he was forcefully recruited for to holland where he ran out of provisions. He wasn’t worried because he had heard that Holland was a rich Christian country and expected to be accepted with kindness as Christianity is supposed to be. Candide asked for bread from an orator who was preaching about charity but as soon as the orator asked if he believed what he believed and Candide didn’t care, the orator rebuked him and his wife poured nasty things on him. This is contrary to everything Christianity stands for, as was most of what went on in the early decades. Another example was in El Dorado, where Candide asked if they had priests who argued and never agreed on anything and the old man with him was quite shocked at such barbarism.

The book still goes on to shed some light on other themes like greed, the extent to which man would go for what he wants, good or bad, immortality, and philosophy, amongst others. Many questions are raised and left unanswered at the end of the book. Particularly why Candide is so insistent on “cultivating our garden” ‘pg 119’. What does that mean? In conclusion, regardless of how intense the events in this book become, it is almost admirable how Voltaire manages to keep to a certain level of lighthearted throughout the story. At the end of the day, t is about a boy who simply cannot catch a break.

Reflecting on Voltaire’s Candide

Voltaire’s Candide makes a strong argument against optimism and this being the best of all possible worlds. I enjoyed how he presented his idea by telling Candide’s adventures and each chapter behaving as a body paragraph in his crusade to disprove optimism. I like this structuring format because it negated one of the significant problems with essays that can be dry to read. Voltaire does not run into this problem, though, as we are kept entertained by the bumbling idiocy of Candide mixed in with all sorts of jokes and political commentary. Nevertheless, we still get the overarching points and ideas through a less-than-direct way and give a human character to the argument, a blend of political satire and storytelling. This structure was my favorite part of the piece of writing.

About halfway through the book, the arguments started to get a bit old as Voltaire had made his points and given plenty of evidence. At this point, I had been convinced by Voltaire that he was right, and these other adventures Candide felt like overkill. So I looked for other questions raised by the book and whether he had given his answer to them. Questions like what the best of all possible worlds looks like? He answers this question with the need to cultivate a garden and live like those of El-dorado, which is an underwhelming answer. Personally, I would rather live in an imperfect world and be able to find the secrets of this world and improve and solve problems than live in a perfect world and garden like the people of El-dorado and have little to do as all is fine the way it is. This book was good at arguing against optimism but did not provide any further answers to the questions it raises.


Candide – Personal Response

Something I’m beginning to learn in English Literature is how simple language can be just as, or even more effective than complex language. As I started to understand this and try to work on fixing the clarity of my expressions, Candide by Voltaire was assigned for our class to read. The shift from reading The Odyssey by Homer to Candide was jarring. Despite Candide being written in much easier vocabulary, both texts provided me with a thoughtful and insightful message to digest.

Candide‘s language is simple, but that does not take away from the lessons it teaches. One of the first instances that clearly showed this to me was when the old lady was telling her story,

A hundred times I wanted to kill myself, but I was still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our most sinister tendencies. For is there anything more foolish than to insist on carrying a burden that one can drop at any moment? To live in constant fear, and yet still hold on to life? To caress the serpent that is devouring you until it has eaten your heart (pg. 38).

This passage is so beautiful and almost feels indescribable. It’s presenting this image of being engulfed by something horrid, the serpent, but loving it endlessly as it does so. To me, this comparison fits my current outlook on life. Even though I hate myself sometimes, and just wish I could just die, there is something wonderful about the serpent devouring me. Another incredible line from Voltaire happens to be the last, “That is well said’ Candide replied, “but we must cultivate our garden'” (pg. 119). Candide realizes that it does not matter whether they are in the best of all possible worlds, or even if they are in the worst of all possible worlds, what matters is that they live life. Martin puts it quite well, “‘ Let us work without reasoning, it is the only way to make life bearable'” (pg. 119).

I find too many people trying to find meaning of life, and they search and search for any reason that life is worth living except for looking at themselves, and what they want to do, what they wish to achieve. Voltaire tells us that we must cultivate our garden, metaphorically, to work on something we enjoy. Gardening may be it but what if writing is your garden, or singing, or reading. No matter what your garden is, it needs cultivating, and you need to be there to tend to it. A beautiful message from Voltaire that did not need any exhaustive decrepit language that is practically incomprehensible to modern audiences. I hope to learn how to emulate Voltaire’s simplicity someday.

Personal Response Candide

In 1759, Voltaire’s sarcastic novel Candide was first published. Candide, a young man who is kicked out of a utopian society, is the focus of the plot. The story follows his development as he overcomes real-life challenges and eventually gives up on the idea that “all is for the best.” The book is a commentary on human nature and a sharp critique of Voltaire’s political and religious systems. My interest was piqued by the book’s sharp satire, optimistic criticism, religious dogma, and cruelties of fate. Free will and the possibility of human suffering and evil are the book’s most important themes for me.

One of the main themes of the book is freedom and how it relates to the possibility of “the best of every conceivable world.” It would appear that Voltaire was implying that the notion that good can come from nothing and that everything is predestined can be used to justify any kind of injustice or suffering. Candide and his friends go through a lot of pain throughout the book, but Pangloss insists that everything is for the best. Voltaire makes fun of Pangloss’s upbeat outlook by using them. Nobody is happy, everything is bad, and everything always goes wrong, especially the main character, Candide. His assertion that our world is not “the best of all possible worlds” is supported by this.

The concept of human suffering and the problem of evil is another theme. Candide and his companions go through a lot of suffering and injustice throughout the book, including war, poverty, and discrimination. It would appear that Voltaire is suggesting that these things are the result of human ferocity and cruelty rather than of a kind world.

Candide and his companions ultimately reject Pangloss’s philosophy and adopt a more practical lifestyle at the book’s conclusion. Candide believed that the best way to live was to “cultivate our garden” and make the most of our circumstances. This is interpreted as a metaphor for rejecting the idea that everything will work out for the best, taking charge of our own lives, and seizing opportunities as they present themselves.

In general, Candide is a book that mocks hope and the idea that everyone benefits from everything. Voltaire encourages readers to take responsibility for their own happiness and well-being and argues for a more pragmatic and realistic approach to life through the experiences of Candide and his companions. The inquiry, “Was Voltaire’s time optimistic?” emerges subsequently. And do all authors write to share their unique worldviews? What stands in the way of a happy ending and the “best of every conceivable world” in the final scene of Candide?


I enjoyed this book, It’s a story about an optimistic young man.

One of the themes of this narrative is to present that it is not only Candide that bad things happen to him and that the world is damn horrible. Tragic things happen to all the main characters, including the philosopher Dr. Pangloss. The heartlessness, negativity and coldness of human beings are a frequent background and aura throughout the story.

“we must cultivate our garden” (p.119)

I liked this phrase a lot because I think you can interpret it in many ways, listening to this phrase makes me think about life, in that you can learn many things and grow personally.

Voltaire contains many things, ridiculing all organized religions, theologians, governments, war, armies, and philosophers.

Voltaire’s Candide Personal Response

Candide written by Voltaire was an amusing read for me. This satire book is about a  man who believes everything that happens will be for the good of man, even though he is faced with incredible suffering. Personally, Candide was a page turner, the main characters face disaster after disaster, drama after drama and one indignity after another. The language in this book represented with dark humor was pure entertainment. This book shows us the other side of peoples lives and their problems. Voltaire does this by showing us different characters pain and struggles in their lives.

The plot of Candide is simple to follow. Young and naïve Candide stumbles from one misadventure to the next, including fighting in wars, being arrested, being nearly burned at the stake, finding El Dorado and leaving it. The way it’s written is repetitive as it continues from a different setting each time.

Furthermore, Voltaire’s beliefs and the philosophies created deep connections within me. Candide learns the principles of optimism from his mentor, Pangloss, and one of the philosophies that stuck out for me was “since everything was made for a purpose, everything is necessarily for the best purpose.” (pg.89) I really like this because I can find myself having the same belief. Having the attitude of this can only make the mind stronger. Pangloss’s philosophy encourages a passive attitude toward all that is wrong in the world. If this world is the best one possible, there is no reason to make effort to change things perceived as wrong or evil.

Voltaire’s Candide

Candide written by Voltaire was written in a very unique way and raised many philosophical questions.  This satirical book revolves around Voltaire’s philosophical beliefs and is primarily him taking stabs at different groups of people. How he writes this however, is through an innocent story following a character and his ridiculous life full of misfortunes. As well as presenting his own philosophical beliefs in this story Voltaire also raises many philosophical questions that resonated with me and had me questioning my own life. 

The plot of Candide is presented through bite size adventures in which Voltaire has an opportunity to showcase his philosophical argument. In each chapter Candide and his friends experience new places that  progress the plot. Voltaire does this by using Candide as a pawn, strategically placing him in situations to his advantage. A prominent example of this is how Voltaire criticises religion in the story. In chapter eight the reader is informed that the grand inquisitor (an important person of the catholic church) is using Cunegonde for sexual desires which is usually frowned upon in the christian religion. Similarly, in chapter twenty-eight Pangloss enters a mosque where an imam has

“ a very pretty young worshipper saying her paternosters. Her bosom was completely uncovered”(p.111). 

Both these examples are Voltaire slipping in insulting remarks of religion and how the preachers of religions are hypocrites. Another one of Voltaire’s arguments that Candide presents is that money cannot buy happiness. Candide acquires many riches in El Dorado but this only brings corruption into his life. For example in Paris he is cheated out of his money by many people including doctors and the Marchioness of Paroglinac. In Venice Candide gives money to Paquette  in hopes that “ they will be happy”( p.93) but later Paquette returns broke and unhappy, proving Voltaire’s point. Voltaire even goes as far as to endlessly revive characters from the dead just to use them to prove a point. Pangloss, Cunegonde and Paquette all previously mentioned were thought to be dead but came back and helped further Voltaire’s argument.  Yet I still found myself enjoying the book and wondering what Candide’s next adventure was going to be. This tactic of using what seems to be innocent adventures is a clever way to write about heavy, philosophical issues and write a persuasive argument in a way that is light and enjoyable for the reader. Because the plot was written like this a question that came about was how would the book end?  

Although the plot was everything but the kitchen sink the conclusion brought everything to a close while posing many philosophical questions. The conclusion was my favourite part because it had me thinking about many intriguing ideas. The first quote that had  me rereading was a question posed by the old women,

“ I would like to know what is worse; being violated a hundred times by pirates, having a buttock cut off, running the gauntlet in the bulgar army, being whipped and hanged in an auto-da-fé, being dissected, rowing in a galley, suffering all the miseries we have been through or simply sitting around here without doing anything?”(p.115).

Here, I believe her to be questioning whether adventures filled with misery or boredom is worse. I don’t know the answer to this difficult question but it gives light to a new perspective on tragic situations. For example when in an undesirable situation I will ponder the philosophical thought on whether it would be worse to be bored or suffer.  Secondly,  when the group encounters the Young Turk he states

“I only have twenty five acres, I cultivate it with my children. Work keeps the three great evils at bay; boredom, vice and want”  (p. 118). 

This quote resonated with Candide as well as myself. The deeper meaning behind these words is questionable but the way I interpreted this quote is that to live a happy life free of boredom, crime, and poverty one needs to work hard and stop searching for the meaning of life. After hearing this quote Candide decides to stop debating philosophy with his scholars but instead he decides

“we must cultivate our garden” (p.119).

The literal meaning of this is to plant a garden with lots of luscious crops. Beyond the literal meaning there is a figurative meaning which I simply think is too indulge in life full of work. I too want to cultivate my garden.

Candide PR

My impression of philosophers used to be tedious because they talk about random theories that are not intriguing, therefore, when I first heard that we were reading a book written by a philosopher named Voltaire, I expected the book to be monotonous. However, after reading Candide, I am amazed by the way Voltaire criticizes ideas that he disagrees with by using sarcasm. Pangloss, the “greatest” philosopher in the book, advocates “everything happens for the best”. Voltaire refutes this idea sarcastically by creating adversity scenes for Pangloss and Candide throughout the story. He makes Candide more interesting to read with an engaging plot, and also makes the readers understand his ideas and agree with him. I agree with Voltaire that everything does not happen for the best. I admire that Pangloss and his students have such an optimistic mindset, but in real life, bad things do happen all the time, and sometimes, good things do not happen after encountering adversity. The worst thing that could happen to humans is dying. If a person died, how could good things happen? Thus, I think Pangloss’s theory is absurd.

“But we must cultivate our garden.” (page 119) This quote has attracted my curiosity. What does Voltaire mean by cultivating our garden? What do “cultivate” and “garden” signify in this metaphor? “Cultivate” means taking steps and putting effort into growing something or improving its growth. “Garden” is a symbol of soul and happiness. My interpretation of this quote is that we must put effort into creating a meaningful and fruitful life. We must learn and grow from what we encountered in order to have a good life. To me, learning is not only a thing that you do in school or when you are in school. It is a thing that you do throughout your life. We must keep learning to improve ourselves and be better people.  There is an idiom in Chinese saying that “living till old age, learn till old age.” It basically means that people learn till their lives end. There is always a purpose to learn and something that you can learn. It reminds me to be a lifelong learner and stay curious.

Compare to Oedipus the King, Candide is way easier to read since the translation is in new English, despite there being an enormous amount of words that I have never seen. I spent a lot of time translating when I was reading. Overall, I think Candide is amusing enough to read and I would recommend other people to read this masterpiece.


Personal Response – Candide

The first thing I noticed about Candide by Voltaire was the short chapters ranging from 2-15 pages. In accordance of the short chapters, the book itself is short with only about 120 pages, where we follow the protagonist, Candide, in his adventures of “misfortunes” as he try to hold on his belief of, “this is the best of all possible worlds.” The format of the book really confused me at first, but eventually learned the reason behind it

Our first reading adjective was to read up to chapter six or page 19 of Candide. Although the language used was not necessarily difficult, I found myself having troubles following the plot. It was not until somewhere around chapter ten when I came to understand the unique structure of Candide. Unlike most books I had read, where their is a clear progressive plot, or a clear transition, the progression of Candide is very different. In Candide, a new “adventure” begins each chapter. In each new chapter, we can range from the party walking in a city to eating at a pub to being on the other side of earth.

The unique structure allowed Voltaire to express his criticism against “optimism” in a unique way. By bringing new adventures in each chapter, Voltaire is able to efficiently convey his evidence. Although the book was made to be a serious confrontation towards optimism, I found myself enjoying the book very much in a matter I had not experienced. There was no shortage of hilarious misfortunes and irony that fell upon Candide and his comrades.

Personal Response to Voltaire’s Candide

Candide, possibly French writer Voltaire’s most famous work, is a satirical novel that follows the adventures of the titular character and a revolving door of companions as he embarks on a worldwide journey to find his one true love/cousin and prove that the world doesn’t totally suck.

I went into Candide completely blind, but although I have a mild interest in classical literature, I didn’t expect any surprises from it. This is probably why I was completely caught off guard by the book’s hilarious wit, brisk pacing, and rather progressive themes considering the time in which it was written. All of this made it a thoroughly enjoyable read. However, something I enjoyed considerably less was the story’s consistent cynicism, a worldview I personally find exceptionally grating. Fortunately, the humor and absurdity of the situations Candide and his companions constantly found themselves in counterbalanced this to a degree.

Easily the most interesting thing about the work, in my opinion, was it’s ending. Upon initial reading, it struck me as rather bittersweet. However, after a reread and further consideration, I suspect it was intended to be a happy ending for all the major characters. The reason for my initial interpretation, I think, was because the pace of the ending was so much slower than the rest of the book, and considerably lacking in humor. The bulk of the book, despite depicting the genuinely awful suffering of the protagonist and his friends, is often so absurd (especially to a modern audience), and filled with so many witticisms, that the audience perceives it instead as an epic adventure rather than Candide being unceremoniously jerked around by the string of fate. By the time we reach the conclusion, which is peaceful by comparison, we, the audience, don’t find it as entertaining as what came before, and therefore register it as bittersweet, despite the characters arguably being happier.

Although the story was likely intended with a message, I believe how that message is received by the audience is highly dependent on the individual reader. For example, I interpreted it as “Life won’t always be good, and suffering is inevitable, but one always has the power to make it better,” but I can easily see how someone else could come away from it thinking the message was “Life is unfair, so the best one can do is to keep their head down and work.” Neither of these messages are objectively wrong, but I doubt either are what Voltaire himself intended.

Personal Response on Candide by Voltaire

After reading Candide by Voltaire, I think the book is bittersweet, and it leads me to wonder about the difference between the two philosophies raised in the book and how it relates to Xunzi’s philosophy. 

I found myself entertained and confused throughout reading the book. For example, the book is very adventurous; multiple events and incidents happen in just a tiny chapter. Therefore, sometimes it gets out of hand and I lose track of what happens. Besides that, satire is used a lot by Voltaire. I enjoy how Voltaire raises serious problems and criticizes other religions, cultures and books. For example, the bible is often used as a reference, “for when man was placed in the Garden of Eden he was put there ut operaretur eum, so that he might work: which proves that man was not born for rest.” (P.170). Using other books, cultures and religions as a reference can make readers feel more comfortable; it helps raise questions and opinions from the readers. But I do not have a lot of background knowledge on a different culture, historical events, and books; thus, sometimes, I will get confused and not understand the problem raised using satire. 

In Candide, Voltaire brings up two different philosophies through the two characters, Pangloss and Martin. Martin is used as a foil to Pangloss, and his philosophy is entirely different from Pangloss’s. Pangloss’s philosophy is extreme optimism. He believes that we live in the best of all possible world, and “everything is for the best.” (P.58) On the other hand, Martin is the exact opposite of Pangloss. He believes that the world is evil, expects everything for the worse, and what appears to be happy is certainly not. For example, “Until now in all the inhabitable world, except for El Dorado, I have come across only unfortunates. But for this girl and monk, I will wager that they are truly happy creatures.” 

“I will wager that they are not.” (P.90)

Martin and Pangloss’s philosophy reminds me of Xunzi, an ancient Chinese philosopher. Xunzi argues that if human nature is good or bad, he believes human nature is evil, and they are born to care about their interests. This is similar to Martin’s philosophy. Still, Xunzi believes that people can be good and selfless with the proper nurturing and teachings from teachers and parents. 

For me, I absolutely disagree with Pangloss’s philosophy. Growing up, I have always been told that it is “God’s Plans” whenever something unfortunate happens, but it still does not change the fact that it happened, and there is nothing that is beneficial. Like Candide, Pangloss would say it is for the best whenever something terrible happens. I think one of the reasons people would say everything is for the best is that they refuse to accept that bad things are happening, and it would make them feel safe thinking that it has a good reason for terrible things to happen. In other words, they are in denial. Though I do not entirely agree with Martin, Xunzi’s philosophy is a better fit to describe people; I believe that human nature is flawed, and we are born to care about our own self-interest. I agree with Xunzi that we can be kind and selfless if we have a good influence or nurturing.

Personal Response to Candide

After reading Candide by Voltaire, I thoroughly enjoyed the chaos and mischiefs that occurred in the book the most. I found the content and stories to be most interesting and enjoyable to read. The book was filled with action and conflict and reading how the characters develop throughout the book was fascinating as well. When describing Candide’s adventures, Voltaire did an exceptional job. The diction used was very easy to comprehend and made it easier to read. So much content is explained and described in very few pages which made the book fast paced and straightforward. The topics Voltaire refers to and writes about in Candide is eye-opening. It shines light on many major issues and he describes these topics in his own way. 

I found that when reading Candide by Voltaire, I disliked the offensive satire. Satirical writing I feel can be humorous and funny to an extent and it can be used as a way to raise serious issues. It can be a way to talk about serious topics in a lighter, less heavy context. Satire is a good way to bring up significant topics in a humorous way and can be used in a positive way to create a positive impact. But, when writers cross the line and are writing offensive and racist comments, that is where it stops being humorous. Voltaire made comments that crossed the line in this book which I personally did not find enjoyable to read.

The philosophical questions brought into the story were very effective in making me question my own beliefs. It made me think of the different views and beliefs I follow and how it affects my day to day life. Pangloss’ philosophy “Best of all possible worlds” was interesting to think about because I did not agree with him. Especially with the context and events in the book and all the suffering and injustices that are mentioned, I would definitely disagree with Pangloss’ belief.


PR to Candide by Voltaire

Candide by Voltaire is a very clever and satirical piece of writing. Throughout the entire story, Voltaire continues to make jokes making fun of our world, which I found very clever. I didn’t find them funny but instead I saw them as a clever way Voltaire used to spread how he thinks about this world. For example, in chapter 23, an admiral is executed in order to encourage the rest of the army to fight harder. This was a reference to a real life situation during Voltaire’s time, which was the execution of admiral John byng. Voltaire was known to have disagreed with this execution, and i think he is writting about it because he is trying to show how he felt it was stupid through satire. 


The character Candide is an innocent character which waddles through a very chaotic and depressing world. I believe Candide is just a tool for Voltaire to show how he views the world. Candide in his adventure witnesses countless chaotic and stupid things happening which are all based off real world situations. It makes me think that the reason Voltaire made candide was to show his audience the depressing nature of our world. Especially since candide is a very innocent character which emphasises the chaos because there is lots of contrast. 


Overall this book was pretty enjoyable. It concluded with an ending quotation, “we must cultivate our garden,” which I believe means that Candide now o knows to stay away from the world as it causes trouble. Just stick to your friends and family and people who are close to you. What the world does is none of your business.

Candide Reflection

Candide by Voltaire was a novel that I personally really enjoyed compared to the other pieces of literature we have read so far this year. It was easier to understand and overall comprehend the whole storyline. I really like how the novel demonstrates and conveys many significant issues to Voltaire through the characters in the book that were significant in the 18th century. For example, the injustice of the lives of women at that time, being used for sexual services and living miserably. I feel like I gained a better understanding because of the stories of the characters Voltaire writes about. Voltaire’s sense of humour was entertaining to read, including religion, status, and race. However, his humour and ideas about certain groups were quite strong and very expressive at times. At times I didn’t particularly like how he described certain groups and freely expressed his opinion. Sometimes it seemed like he was making fun of them. Another thing I disliked is that I felt like everything was happening really quickly, and Candide’s journey seems to be going by very fast throughout the book. Several events and ideas were presented within a chapter, which really made me reflect upon whether being grateful and optimistic is the best thing to do when your life is filled with so much grief, tragedy, and misery.

Throughout the novel, we encounter many problems around the world during Candide’s journey, such as justice and overall cruelty. Voltaire demonstrates why philosophical optimism is not true by having very optimistic characters about everything though they suffered tremendously. Candide and his beliefs regarding optimism also made me question whether it was true and ask myself to what extent we should be optimistic. Voltaire’s philosophical argument was greatly expressed through Candide’s journey. Another key part of the philosophical argument was how someone could attain happiness? The bok teched how humans can choose whether or not they want to attain happiness, however, happiness takes hard work, and dedication, without only sitting and relying on others to attain that contentment .” We must cultivate our garden,” Candide’s last conclusion, I think, means that people should take care of their own needs before trying to take care of others. As well’s learning something new every day and having the determination to keep going.

Candide personal response

One thing I enjoyed during my reading of Candide, was the use of Satire. It especially stuck out to me later on in the novel as I became more used to Voltaire’s style of writing. It is crazy for me to think of Voltaire, living in those times, and having such an advanced perspective on the world. He was way ahead of his times, and in the novel Candide, Voltaire made sure that his opinion would be clear. He wrote the novel in a  silly satirical way which I enjoyed reading.

I disliked how freely Voltaire made fun of people during this time, as he was one of those people that he made fun of. Candide almost set Voltaire out of the playing field on a pedestal of his own, without people disliking him. As he was the writer of this novel, he was allowed to do this, but it was done in such a way that it showed his ego through the writing.

Voltaire wrote about awful things that were happening around the world, and he used them to try to create change, but people also saw this as a joke and it made people laugh which should not be done over such trivial topics.

Candide Personal Response

What I like from Candide was how many events happened spontaneously and takes you to different places in each chapter, even if the chapter is one page, it surprises you with things that happen as the characters go through. This makes the events of the story unexpected. I also learned  from the real life events from a perspective from someone who lived around the years of the events. The use of words were not formal, it was easy to understand.

What I did not like is that there are so many events that it skips some transitions between events. I would like it to have more content between transitions, so it gives us more information about the real-life events. The way the satire uses humor with racist comments and prejudices weren’t good.

In Candide’s final conclusion, “we must cultivate our garden”, the word “cultivate”, in this case is a big word, it conveys that is a way to mature and grow, no matter what they lived, the tragedies they lived, they can take it as knowledge they learned about the world and leave it behind so that they can continue and find something that doesn’t make them miserable. It also tells us that they are not focusing on someone else, they are focusing on themselves, however, it is not clear if the garden is a literal meaning or a deeper meaning.

Candide PR

I found Candide to be a very entertaining yet interesting book, it consistently kept a balance of humour (satirical) and thought provoking content. There were some really interesting questions that Candide raised for me. The main one can really change the way you think sometimes, and it’s the question of whether optimism is really a good way to look at things, especially knowing there is so much suffering, struggle and tragedy every single second of your existence.

This question of whether optimism is practical in our world isn’t really directly asked or addressed in Candide, but the conversations and questioning of philosophy, religion and why people suffer is constantly being talked about. I found while reading those conversations addressing those subjects I would question those philosophies and it would really make me delve into the different ideas of why humans suffer and if it’s fair to be so optimistic if we know about the suffering around us, or if it’s even possible to optimistic about our existence with that underlying mental block that suffering is constantly happening. I believe the main reason I was asking these questions even though they weren’t directly addressed was because Voltaire seemed to be trying to explain his philosophy through a story, personally I think using this way helped Voltaire explain his philosophy because he used it to criticize other groups of people through satirical humour while keeping his overall ideas organized and communicated.

To conclude I really enjoyed Candide for one main reason, and that was his ability to transform a complex idea (his philosophy) to an easier understandable format which could keep readers not only entertained, but in question and debate if his philosophy, which creates opportunities for further questions or new ideas of what the most ideal philosophy for happiness is.

PR: Candide

While reading Candide by Voltaire I had many feelings towards the book. I thought some parts were funny, some parts were sad, some parts even made me think about philosophical questions, and some of the parts were disturbing.

In the beginning of the book, I didn’t really notice Voltaire’s use of satire. This was mainly due to not really having any background knowledge of the book, but for the most part I took everything I was reading to be extremely odd and nonsensical. Once I read past the first two chapters I realized that the book wasn’t (really) nonsensical, it is just very fast paced and full of satire. The first time I noticed this was when Candide joined the Bulgarian army and then while going for a walk was accused of trying to escape the army. After that he was given the choice of “running the gauntlet” or being executed. This was extremely confusing at first because it didn’t make any sense to me, and seemed really unbelievable. When I realized a lot of it was satire about different aspects of society, it started to make more sense to me.

Although a lot of it is comedic, it is also sad and disturbing at times. When the auto de fe happened in the beginning of the book, it changed the mood of the book a bit for me, and I realized not all of it is just comedy. When I realized this it raised the question for me, why was society so much more violent in Voltaire’s time?

All of these ideas were always brought back to the same idea, is everything for the best? Even when people are drowning, getting burned alive, hung, beat, robbed, the philosopher Pangloss is always arguing that everything is for the best. We see his counterpart later in the book, Martin, who believes nothing is for the best. What really stood out to me in the end is the quote, “Pangloss declared that he had always suffered horribly, but having asserted that everything was going wonderfully, he would continue to assert it, even though he did not believe it in the least”. This was shocking to me because throughout the whole book, Pangloss argued even to the death that everything is for the best, but at the end his view seems to change. This made me wonder if this is because of Voltaire’s philosophy on the world, and maybe he doesn’t think Martin or Pangloss’ philosophy is correct, but it is a bit of both, kind of like Pangloss believes in the end.

Overall I enjoyed Candide because most of the book was entertaining and surprisingly fun to read. Although I didn’t find it that funny, it was very comedic to read because of how obscure the events in the story were. Voltaire’s use of satire and philosophy tied the whole story together nicely and ending the book with the popular quote, “we must cultivate our garden” was very powerful.

Candide Personal Response

Candide by Voltaire for me is a ride of roller coaster that I have never expected. With over 100 pages of story, satires and idealism, it is quite surprising that Voltaire has included a lot of valuable content in it. The characterization was well done, everyone had a role and flowed seemingly well in the story. Especially Candide and Martin, who are each others’ foils to the core. On one hand, Candide, who was raised by Pangloss’s ideals, grew from an innocent young man at the core of his soul, to someone who has gained a better understood of the opposite of the coin (that Optimism is not the answer to everything). This is also due to Martin’s contribution, as he show a totally opposite view with Pangloss since the very beginning of his appearance in the story. However, the referencing in the book, while hold great importance in Voltaire’s humor, it is still a little hard to understand sometimes. Although this is my subjective view, I think it is still worth mentioning. Lastly, pacing in Candide can be a little too fast that it might leaves readers somewhat confused as well.

This leads me to my next point about the importance of suffering in Candide. As I have mentioned, while the pacing can still be somewhat quick, it blends well with the characterization that Voltaire wants to convey. For example, Pangloss is a character who holds strong beliefs in being optimistic about everything, is then slowly broken down by the hardship that he have gone through and how in some circumstances, things could have gone better, if he was not believing so much in the idea. When Jacques was drowned, Candide could have safe him if it was not for his intervention, which ultimately proves that: if everything is for the best, how come can we still find situations that we have full control over? Additionally, Candide’s suffering, different from Pangloss, seemed to invite readers in his point of view, as a learner, so that it provides readers a better speculation of Voltaire’s criticism.

Then, at the end of Candide’s suffering, Voltaire had left us a concise but very important life lesson in the form of tending to our garden. “”That is well said,” Candide replied, “but we must cultivate our garden.”” (Voltaire, 119) While it can be openly interpreted, the overall essence of the message is still something anyone can learn from. It strong implies that suffering, albeit terrible or ugly, sometimes we just can not comprehend it, it can wreck our life in many ways or forms. Moreover, maybe we can never understand why we must suffer so much. Despite this, it is our job not to fight back on it, but to continue and embrace the process as we go and that is where the true strength of a human lies.

Candide Personal Response

I enjoyed reading Candide more than the other books that I have read this year. It was easier to read than the Odyssey and easier to read than Oedipus as well. This is because all my life I have been reading literature that was not written in ancient times.  I like how Voltaire made the story full of action and how he put the Odyssey’s worth of content into one hundred pages. Voltaire made the story seem extremely unrealistic which makes it humorous. Candide is constantly being ripped off and is constantly having bad things happen to him. Still he believes that his sufferings are the best of all possible worlds. He is quite optimistic which causes the reader to like his character even more.

It was easier to read than the Ancient Greek books because the tone was more casual.  When talking to someone the characters in Candide did not address them before saying a word to them like in the Odyssey or in Oedipus. there also did not seem to be as many commas and colons in Candide which also made it easier to follow. the sentences were more clear. That could also be since I am used to reading more recent literature so I am used to the mood and diction of Candide.

The quotation said by Candide in the last chapter “we must cultivate our garden” never really jumped out at me but I can see how it did to many people. I did not see it as a significant quotation when reading it but after thinking about it in English class today I understand the meaning Voltaire was trying to convey.

Candide lives!

From Candide, Chapter XXIII:

Talking thus they arrived at Portsmouth. The coast was lined with crowds of people, whose eyes were fixed on a fine man kneeling, with his eyes bandaged, on board one of the men of war in the harbour. Four soldiers stood opposite to this man; each of them fired three balls at his head, with all the calmness in the world; and the whole assembly went away very well satisfied.

“What is all this?” said Candide; “and what demon is it that exercises his empire in this country?”

He then asked who was that fine man who had been killed with so much ceremony. They answered, he was an Admiral.

“And why kill this Admiral?”

“It is because he did not kill a sufficient number of men himself. He gave battle to a French Admiral; and it has been proved that he was not near enough to him.”

“But,” replied Candide, “the French Admiral was as far from the English Admiral.”

“There is no doubt of it; but in this country it is found good, from time to time, to kill one Admiral to encourage the others.”

Today, we merely fire such people, usually:

SAN DIEGO — The captain of a San Diego-based aircraft carrier battling an outbreak of COVID-19 on his ship was fired as commanding officer Thursday, days after his letter decrying conditions on his ship became public.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly announced the firing during a Pentagon news conference.

“At my direction, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by a carrier strike group commander, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker,” Modly said.

Capt. Brett Crozier wrote a letter late Sunday asking the Navy to remove 90% of the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt to halt the “ongoing and accelerating” spread of COVID-19 on board. That letter was published Tuesday by The San Francisco Chronicle and generated headlines nationwide.

On Wednesday, the Navy announced it was moving almost 3,000 sailors off the ship and working to find space on Guam for more.

Modly said he wasn’t sure whether Crozier leaked the letter personally, but he said Crozier didn’t do enough to ensure the letter didn’t get out, saying it was copied to many people outside the captain’s chain of command.

“It was copied to 20 or 30 other people,” Modly said. “That’s just not acceptable. He sent it out pretty broadly and in sending it out pretty broadly he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked.”

That, Modly said, demonstrated “extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis.

HL “Candide” Posts: General Feedback

Most of you made only a minimal effort on this assignment: a short paragraph or two with some general remarks about the story.

In a good personal response, you need to include quotations and page citations. You need to discuss more than just one or two incidents from the story. You need to dig deeper into the philosophical questions raised by the story. You need to analyze the *way* the story is written, and how that connects with the story’s content. And you need to edit and proofread your writing.

Only one of you met that standard, and I urge all of you to read that post and learn from it.