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.

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Candide was a good book, I don’t think that there was anything that I really disliked.  The satirical humor was quite good, although to understand it you had to know about a lot of the events that took place in the 1700s, which I think heightened it a bit. Apart from the humor, Candide is a packed story, though more in the fashion of tragedy, action and development.

I noticed that Candide at first is indoctrinated into Prof. Pangloss’ teachings, of all else, he is utterly naïve.  Then as the story progresses and he receives one grievance after another, he slowly learns, though not without help, in the end he states that “we must cultivate our garden”, so he may have learned some wisdom after his adventures.  I was also surprised how much happened in the 1700s, after finding that a lot of the events in Candide were non fictional, as for the life of Voltaire, it is interesting to draw correlations to Candide and Voltaire, the cascade of events bringing tragedy, humor, irony, and so on.  

PR Candide by Voltaire

In the book “Candide” we find a lot of action and events that will blow most people’s mind. The book uncovers subjects that many people would consider explicit or raw material. But while reading the text, I found that I was really enjoying myself as I read through Candide’s adventures, voyages, and experiences. The book doesn’t seem to have peace, Candide constantly is going through deaths, action, and tragedies. If I’m being honest, there is nothing that I did not enjoy about the book. The text involves injustice and I want to bring Martin’s point of view, after the Dutch ship stole most of Candide’s treasure, the ship sank after going through a battle with an enemy ship. Candide pointed out that this was an example of justice since the captain stole from them, but Martin added that the crew had to die when they did nothing wrong, so this was the biggest example of injustice presented in the book.

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 Personal Response

Personally, I really enjoyed reading Candide. I liked that there were so many different events, so it never got boring. As well, the fact that all the things happening were very unexpected helped me to keep reading in order to find out how the story will continue. Also the ending was unpredictable, which is in my opinion keeping the story interesting. I liked the way satire was used in this novel, because in my opinion that made it more enjoyable to read. Furthermore, I liked the language used way more than in the other books we read so far, which is probably also connected to the fact that it was written in a more modern way, so it was easier to understand.

A fact I didn’t like about Candide was that so many people and countries were criticised, but not only based on personal experiences of Voltaire, but based on prejudices. Even though I wasn’t a fan of this, I still think it was brave of Voltaire to mention his opinions and criticism about the actions of the government and population during that time, because he probably got a lot of enemies from that. The sudden changes in the story helped making the story interesting, but also made it seem very unrealistic at some point.

Candide´s final conclusion that “we must cultivate our garden” was a very good ending in my opinion, because he finally realised that he had to do something about his life and find something that interests him in order to find happiness or at least live a bearable life. For that, they have to leave their past and the tradegie It also made me think about my own life and what I do to be happy and enjoy life.

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.

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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.

Personal Response to Candide

Candide is a book written by Voltaire, in this story it shows the globe-trotting misadventures of Candide during the 18th century while searching for his love and losing people a long the way and reconnecting with them or finding them again later on in the story. Witnessing tragedy, and causing tragedy is something Candide experiences often.

One of the global issues that I see during Candide is War and Violence. Candide is set in a time of huge violence and wars due to this there is plenty imagery, stories, and scenes of war. Some of the scenes and stories take a toll on certain people and how it shapes them.

“‘Mademoiselle’, the old woman replied, ‘you are not aware of my pedigree. And were I to show you my bottom, you would not speak as you do but would immediately abandon your claim.'”

This is talking about how the old woman’s misfortunes from being a princess to a slave in morocco to escaping a mound of corpses to Constantinople where they are supposed to defend against the Russians.

Then during the time the Russians were trying to starve the soldiers inside Azov, the soldiers thought because they had no food they would eat the woman inside but there was a imam that said it would be beneficial to eat one buttock from each woman instead of killing them. Then she worked from inn to inn in Russia, then she became a maid to Don Issacar where then she was appointed to dear lady Cunegonde.


Personal Response To Candide

Candide, by Voltaire, touches on the subject of happiness. We meet and follow characters who believe that happiness is always achievable and others who find it impossible to find. Wealth and society impact the way people look at happiness and if happiness even is achievable.

Society and wealth play a big role in how we interact with people we meet, and the people we know. Class and wealth can give a person power socially over a person with your average salary If they were in the same room together. This, therefore, leads us all to believe that becoming rich and upper class, will change us for the better or take care of all our problems. Voltaire’s Candide shows how money really is not everything there is to live and what we really need in life to be somewhat happy.

Class and wealth do not give you permanent happiness. As humans, we get bored of what we once were once driven to receive or see but soon want more, something bigger and better, just like a little kid and how they will get a new toy then need the newest one tomorrow. Most people I find know this is not true that wealth will fix your problems but, when they are put into the actual situation of being around or being offered large amounts of money, they’re way of thinking disappears and it’s all about the money, regular taking is thrown out the window caution doesn’t matter just the money. Money in Candide is everything, everyone wants it and is trying to gain more of it. Even within the book when Candide asks for a boat ride to Venice it costs him 10 thousand, the sailor realizes how easy it was to get the money out of Candide and asked for 20 thousand, then 30. Candide is desperate and forks over the money foolishly. The sailor then takes off before

Candide is even on the ship along with his money. Money can disappear quickly anyone can take it at any given moment in time. We see an example of this when Candide met the six dethroned kings. They may not be poor but are unhappy and tired. Once your class and wealth are gone it leaves you feeling like nothing since you have become used to these luxuries.

Money is still able to even bore someone, even if you have all the money and wealth you can become bored. For example (P 100) “Don’t you see that everything he poses disgusts him?” Martin replied “Plato said a long time ago that the best stomachs are not the ones that reject food” Martin is saying how people in need would beg to be in the situation that the man they have met is in, yet men like him become spoiled and don’t know what pleasure is anymore. Therefore, these kinds of people are the ones rejecting the food ignorantly.

Without struggle, humans will lose their perception of what makes them happy since they will have already been there done that if life was harmless and always happy. We need to feel sadness and struggle to keep life interesting. Without struggle or work, we end up having nothing to look forward to each day it all just becomes a blend of nothingness. towards the end of the book, Candide meets a gentleman who invites him into his house. The gentlemen explain how does not know about anything of what is going on around him and just focuses on his own life, minding his own business. (P.118) “work keeps three great evils at bay: boredom, vice and want” This man is perfectly happy as far as we can tell and just pays attention to taking care of himself while working away. This shows Candide and the readers how there can be happiness without ridiculous wealth and class.

Work keeps us content with how life may be going on around us. Without it, we would have nothing to work towards. It is a necessary part of our lives and we cannot just get rid of it by creating a utopia of some sort.







Candide by Voltaire: On the Meaning of Life

Time and time again, I, and certainly a large portion of people, confront the question of why we exist, and consequentially, what goals I should strive for to be happy in my life. And this is a theme which permeates throughout Voltaire’s book Candide, presenting itself as a form of irony which reinflicts itself upon the main protagonist Candide.

Candide is perpetually in a limbo of justification. He worries endlessly: am I acting morally? Especially, is this world morally positive, or anarchically tendencied towards indifference and suffering? These two opposing standpoints are reflected in Candide’s companions Pangloss and Martin, Pangloss advocating our ability to alter fate is benign and that destiny is not found, but predetermined, while Martin advocates an indifference about the world, where empathy is immaterial and suffering is the quality of life. Candide is always limbo between these two schools of thought, swaying from the belief of Pangloss’ “best possible world” when events proceed in benefit to him, while in times of suffering and remorse, he would resort to Martin’s beliefs.

However, and this I believe is where Voltaire’s opinion illuminates itself, is the irony underlining this whole dilemma. In Candide, no resolution is found in travel with Martin nor Pangloss, and events contradict both philosophers’ teachings. With Pangloss’ teaching at heart, Candide’s love Cunegonde is kidnapped from Thunder-ton-Tronckh, he encounters poverty in the Netherlands where he finds Pangloss withered and permanently blemished, and even Pangloss is hung following a misconceived condemnation via lynching of his party during the Spanish Inquisition in the book. Whereas for Martin, his cynicism falls short in determining what happiness really means for us, his advocation of life as being eternal misfortune is refuted by this statement, “‘Let us work without reasoning,’ Martin said. ‘It is the only way to make life bearable.’ (p.119)”

Additionally Voltaire’s own ethos may be used to affirm this resolution: “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” And this one: “Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.” Voltaire did not know why Pangloss nor Martin’s beliefs were wrong, yet his school of thought was that there is doubt in the world, and Candide’s questioning on what the world should mean is a situation of such.

I am unsure what to conclude from reading Candide, as the effect the book has upon me is unclear, however one thing is definite: whatever Candide was searching for in terms of resolution he did not find, and that this resembles the real world in how things have no inherent meaning and that truth is probably not what it seems. To address a certain perspective: some may argue Cunegonde was the resolution Candide was looking for, but can that really be true?  I don’t know if love is the answer to happiness, if happiness can easily be that simple; maybe even happiness is not the answer to life resolution. And this is what I mean when I say Voltaire’s irony. Therefore, the best conclusion I can have, along with Candide: “…we must cultivate our garden.”

Personal Response to Candide

Candide, written by Voltaire is a satirical novel that outlines the idea of optimism existing within the world. Voltaire had been one of the main figures of the Enlightenment. Many people viewed him as their hero. He had written Candide within 1759 and had placed many historical events such as The Seven Years War within his novel. He had used Candide as a way to help people nowadays understand how the various terrible events during the 18th century affected many individuals. Voltaire’s main character named Candide had gone from living a good life to a very terrible one through the progression of the novel. Candide had been taught by his teacher Dr. Pangloss to believe that they lived in “the best of all possible worlds” (p. 4). This belief Dr. Pangloss had taught Candide to believe was the reason for the continuous optimism Candide showed throughout the novel. Even when everything felt wrong to Candide he believed that he lived in the best of all possible world and therefore everything will get better in time.

One of the global issues that I had seen within Candide had to do with Violence and War. With Candide having its setting during the 18th century we had read about various events that the main characters had gone through. One of the main events was The Seven Years War that lasted from 1756 to 1763. The unpleasantness of events such as this was quite clearly depicted within Candide to have devastating effects on many people…

“The following day, Candide was out walking when he came across a beggar converted in pustules. He had lifeless eyes, a nose that was rotting away, a mouth that was twisted, black teeth, and a rasping voice, He coughed violently, spitting out a tooth every time” (p. 11).

Within this quote, we read about a beggar that Candide comes across. The beggar is suffering from poverty and lack of help from others, he has been left to suffer alone because the people during this time cared more about themselves rather than others. In a way people were greedy and I feel that Candide was one of the few characters within the novel who was willing to help others instead of just letting them die. With War, it brings pain and not much benefit.  People suffer from loss, while others celebrate because from War there is almost always a winner. Some people feel a certain value from being a winner of war and that is why War is real. People care about themselves instead of others and that is what Voltaire was trying to express partly within his novel.

Voltaire’s Candide makes us question why our world is the way it is and whether or not, whatever happens, is for the best. However, are we talking about for the best of ourselves or the best of others? Is violence really the best way for change or is not taking action at all the best way of achieving change? People think in different ways and Voltaire viewed the world with great optimism that it really was the best it could ever be. I feel that through Candide Voltaire was able to make his belief more agreeable with the world. We are the reason for everything, are we not? We make choices, carry out actions, believe in what we feel is right, and live in a world that is and forever will be changing because of our existence.



WDolan Response to Candide

My chosen global issues are beliefs, values, and education. Candide represents these global issues as he follows ideas implanted in his head by Dr. Pangloss. He refuses to turn away from those values even if they are not for the better good.

Candide is a scornful novel that mockingly explores the evident unpredictability of our lives,  religion, and optimism, thinking that everything occurs for a purpose and that each of us produce our share of luck to make a lasting happiness.

How do the chosen global issues tie into Candide? They address the main elements communicated within the story, and reflect some of the elements included within a real historical timeframe which was the Enlightenment. In society today, we have ideas implanted into our minds either by visual media or governments that tend to create a vision for what the future or present should look like. Based on our education, there are many values and belief’s we follow. Candide’s education by Dr. Pangloss is what influenced his beliefs, values, and education.

In what way are the ideas presented in Candide an example of how we should be vigilant when it comes to caring for those we love? Do Candide’s values reflect our tendency to be unforgiving and full of hatred toward those who hurt us? Should we be more optimistic when it comes giving people a chance to redeem themselves from their mistakes? Should society be more critical towards the ethics behind politics, the treatment of women, religious knowledge systems, and corrupt power of money?

Although Candide may have a comical approach towards the principals of optimism, It has many underlying properties that reflect a better society. I think Candide is an important read for individuals, since it allows people think critically around the comical aspect of the story. Individuals can reflect on the global issues mentioned in the story and add the values into their daily lives.

Candide: Personal Reflection

In Candide, there is a lot packed into a relatively thin book. Beneath the surface of a series of comical but realistic events of 18th century Europe, Voltaire criticizes Leibniz’s philosophy of Optimism and also includes his own philosophical views here and there. Many of them left an impression, but I want to write specifically about the objectification of art and artists in Candide. Objectification is constantly found in Candide, in terms of the objectification of women, various races, and slaves. In this context, I specifically refer to the dehumanization of artists, and the subjective value of the produced art.

When the group watches a tragical play in France, Candide, fascinated by the actress playing Queen Elizabeth, asked “how the queens of England should be approached in France.” (p.76) Candide calls the actress the “queen,” when she is really just a performer.

 “One must make a distinction,” the abbé replied. “In the provinces one takes them to an inn; in Paris one shows them respect while they are beautiful but throws them onto a garbage dump when they are dead.” (p.77)

By making a “distinction” between the different ways of approaching the actress, suggests that stage artists in the provinces and in Paris are valued differently. When in fact, whether skilled or not skilled, they are all performers. “Takes them to an inn,” gives me the visual impression of “pulling” them off the stage, entering reality. It is hypocritical not to realize that the artist isn’t only a role in the play, but is also human, and should be treated as one. Candide is eager to approach the actress offstage, “for she seems quite admirable.” (p.78) To keep their desirability as an actor or actress, performers are expected to keep wearing their roles offstage.

However, admiration and respect does not last long, for when they die, they are refused the “honor of burial” from the Catholic church. This contrast of treatment has nothing to do with their humanistic qualities, but rather it is just because they are performers. Mademoiselle Monime is Voltaire’s reference to his friend, an actress who received poor burial. “She had a noble mind,” (p.78) he writes, indicating that her terrible burial had nothing to do with her personal qualities, nor is something that she deserves. Voltaire calls it “contradictions” and “incompatibilities,” (p.77). The Church does not appreciate the artistic value of the actors and actresses. But just because the plays don’t serve for the Church’s interest, does not mean the actors and actresses are unholy or unworthy of burial.

Nevertheless, Candide quickly moves on in his journey of searching for answers. He visits Count Pococurante. Amazed by his prosperity and lack of appreciation for his collections, Pococurante made me think about the value of art. Count Pococurante claims that he cannot “like a painting unless I can believe I am seeing nature itself,” (p.98) which seems to suggest that art’s value is determined by one’s subjective opinion, or as we say today, art is subjective. The clergymen of the Church, the play critic, (whom Voltaire describes as “serpents of literature,” (p.78)) and Count Pococurante cannot appreciate art, because they ignore and reject the artistic intent of the artists. If you objectify art by giving it a fixed physical value, label the artist, or use art for a purpose, such as satisfying one’s “vanity,” (p.95) there is no doubt that the real message intended from the artists are ignored.

Art, as an everlasting method of communication, along with its communicators, are injured by this objectification. Candide and his group of friends move on very fast in the plot, similar to how fast everything is happening in the world today. But art is always present. It is always there for us to appreciate if we wish to. Compared to other things, there’s only several short passages that mention those issues with art in Candide. But it also matches up to his philosophical remark at the end, “we must cultivate our garden.” (p.119) In this sense, it is very important for one to cultivate one’s own garden. It is impossible to appreciate the value of art when one’s heart has nothing to resonate with it.


Personal Response to Candide

Candide, by Voltaire, explores the everpresent global issue of happiness; specifically the facades we put up to simulate it. Throughout this novel, we observe a differentiation between optimistic and pessimistic characters; ones who believe happiness is easily achievable, and ones who scrutinize the lack of it. We witness Candide conforming to the philosophy he has been told to believe—that we’re living in the best of all possible worlds—then we see him branch away and truly question his own beliefs on Leibnizian optimism. Amidst that, Candide raises questions regarding our reliance on others to make us happy, and the deception of our appearances.

When Candide first sees Paquette and Brother Giroflée, he claims, “But as for this girl and her monk, I will wager that they are truly happy creatures,” (p. 90) to which Martin replies, “I will wager that they are not.” (p. 90) Brother Giroflée is described as having, “sparkling eyes, a confident air, a superior look, and a proud gait,” (p. 90) and Paquette as, “very pretty and was singing.” (p. 90). Later, after learning the stories of both people, Candide comes to realize that Martin was correct; their happy exteriors did not match their true, “unfortunate” feelings. Paquette tells Candide, “I have to seem in a good mood to please a monk,” (p. 92) which leads to a theory of why we mask our true feelings behind facades of happiness: to please others.

In a way, the satirical genre of the novel coincides with this global issue. On the surface, it’s lighthearted, humorous, and absurd. Yet underneath, it tackles issues of importance. There are a variety of levels at which we can process this story; as we dig deeper, we are exposed to more profundities. This is a parallel to the gradation of happiness we remark in different characters; we must search for their values and emotions, since we can’t necessarily trust what they originally display.

After forming the conclusion, with Martin’s help, that one without sorrows is a “rare specimen” (p. 94), Candide decides, “Well . . . no man can be happy, except for me when I see Cunegonde again.” (p. 100) Candide is tying his happiness to someone else, rather than finding it from within or from a healthy source. Relying on someone else for something as fundamental as happiness is toxic, because if that person lets you down, you’re risking your wellbeing. Throughout this novel, Candide continuously loses people dear to him. In fact, he repeatedly loses Cunegonde; it’s a cycle of being separated then reunited. When Candide is without these people, we see glimpses of unhappiness and pessimism. The first time he reunites with Cunegonde, he’s elated. When he realizes Pangloss and the baron are alive, he can’t believe his luck and joy. However, in the concluding chapter of Candide, he starts finding himself profoundly bored, and even points out, “there is a horrible amount of evil in the world.” (p. 117) The spark of that initial reunion has faded, and the happiness along with it. This is what happens when you tie your happiness to someone; this is why we must find alternative sources for it.

In the final chapter of Candide, he has a conversation with a Turk, who spends his days cultivating his estate with his children. He claims, “Work keeps three great evils at bay: boredom, vice, and want.” (p. 118) After profoundly contemplating this conversation, Candide makes his notable concluding quotation,

“That is well said,” Candide replied, “but we must cultivate our garden.” (p. 119)

We don’t see what Candide does after saying this. We don’t know whether he follows through longterm on this newfound philosophy; whether he combats boredom, vice, and want; whether he’s happy. Is cultivating his garden—himself— a way of finding happiness from an alternative source? This novel allows us to reflect upon our own lives; it allows us to question whether we’re hiding behind a facade of happiness. Beyond that, it prompts us to wonder what we can do to find happiness. If we were to ask ourselves this, and profoundly contemplate it like Candide does, would we reach the same conclusion? Would we find happiness through cultivating our garden?

Personal Response to Candide

The novel Candide by François-Marie Arouet, who is also well known as Voltaire, written in 1759, is a satirical and philosophical tale that debunks the popular belief of “the best in the best of all possible worlds.” The story was told from Candide’s perspective and initially targeted Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German mathematician and philosopher. The content is repetitive, and some of the themes frequently occurring are optimism and disillusion, social criticism, the hypocrisy of religion and philosophy, politics and power of justice, and love and women.  

A global issue brought up in Candide is politics, justice, and the corrupting power of money. There has been a hierarchy of powers; with money comes power, and thus, without money, the characters ought to be slaves. Candide being rich is a great irony in the novel; not only does his money help him along his journey, but it also holds him back. His riches make him a target for attentiveness and thievery. He was referred to as an ‘English lord’ because he was unbothered by his fortune loss. “Among those who did him the honours of the town was a little Abbé of Perigord.”(XX 156). His money regularly attracts false friends and helpers and is robbed several times during the novel. He listens to countless stories of miseries along his journey and awards money to the most despairing person. His behavior resembles the old woman’s to some extent, as they compare misfortunes. When we talk about how his riches helped him, it is referred to as bribery, “If the Governor makes any difficulty, give him a million.” (XIX 136). The power of money helps him rescue the love of his life, Cunegonde, from the Governor. Having money includes its benefits; for example, the noble Signor Pococurante owned a beautiful palace and lived his best life, although it did not buy him happiness. Candide was not always rich; during his poverty, he saw and caused bloodshed. After gaining wealth, the audience watches his optimism slowly turn more into pessimism. He was involved in the killings of the Baron and the Inquisitor, even though he caused bloodshed; it seemed as if he was sorrier to see his money disappear than witness bloodshed.

The global issue of politics also includes human rights and justice. People must be allowed the basic rights of freedom and speech. However, these often are neglected in the novel. Certain ethnic groups are tortured for the most stupid reasons, this occurs to a point where the audience is unable to distinguish between the reality and the comical side of the events.  “The burning of a few people alive by a slow fire…is an infallible secret to hinder the earth from quaking.” (VI 47). These are incredibly bizarre superstitions followed by the Portuguese. They established ways to torture visitors and their people for “speaking their mind” and “refusing to eat bacon.” Individuals are forbidden to speak their thoughts and tortured for refusing to eat something that could perhaps be against their religion. This point has been re-established in chapter 25, during Candide’s visit to Italy. “In all our Italy we write only what we do not think…the Antoninuses dare not acquire a single idea without the permission of a Dominican friar.” (197). Citizens are barred from having a different opinion than that of others, and if they must ⏤ they shall face the consequences.

A difference of opinions is shown throughout the novel, “Thou does not deserve to eat.” (III 32). This quotation was used by the orator while asking Candide about the Pope. As Candide was unbothered and had a different opinion than the orator, he was declared not to be served food. Our opinions are shaped through previous experiences and concrete evidence; although Candide’s was mostly constructed by Pangloss’ philosophy, it is unjust to criticise someone’s beliefs. This leads to Candide trying to classify himself as ‘just.’ “Candide asked to see the court of justice, the parliament.” (XVIII 127).  There has been no previous information for the existence of a ‘law court’ in the book. The entire world is shown to be in chaos, yet no reference has been made to a court of justice. An aspect that is confusing is, if the government refused to take action in other countries/cities, why would a parliament exist in a paradise such as El Dorado? Candide tries to initiate a just environment and tries to make amends after killing a significant number of people. “I have made ample amends by saving the lives of these girls.” (XVI 106). Candide is the type of character who would understand the consequences of his actions once he has caused the conflict. The killing of any sort has no relation with making amends of any kind. Cacambo, on the other hand, describes the chaos as “a masterpiece of reason and justice.” (XIV 93). The privileged becoming wealthier and the unprivileged becoming poorer is not a masterpiece. Individuals being tortured daily does not spark as justice to anyone. People are said to get what they deserve, but in the 18th century, this does not seem to be fair. “Why should the passengers be doomed also to destruction?” (XX 148). This represents inequality; individuals must not suffer due to someone else’s actions. Voltaire indicates this as God’s justice but the ‘devil’s mischief.’

A philosophical question raised by the novel was, is an optimistic view a practical perspective of the world? And to that my answer would be no. Not every event can be the best of all possible worlds. An individual’s life can never be the best or the worst of all possible worlds; there is always a neutral. Candide could be referred to as a ‘sympathetic hero.’ There are circumstances in the novel that impose a particular standard of power. For example, in chapter 26, six dethroned kings enjoyed supper together at an inn. It is a surprising coincidence for six dethroned kings to have a dinner together at an inn in Venice. This also proves the answer to the philosophical question. The kings were rich and powerful, but not for too long; once they were dethroned, they would live an ordinary life.

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.