Candide

Function of the Narrative Form in Voltaire’s Candide College

In a study of Voltaire’s Candide, the central critical discussion revolves around the final chapter. Candide’s epic journey finds its conclusion in a garden, where Candide and his companions are reunited and choose to spend the rest of their days working the land, a practical resolution to a novel that is filled with idealism. The majority of critics agree that this work is a satire of Enlightenment Optimism, with Candide’s one-time mentor, Pangloss, as the butt of the joke. Pangloss insists, despite increasingly tragic events that occur throughout the novel, that everything is as it should be, and critics take Candide’s resolution to work in the final chapter as his revelation that Enlightenment Optimism is an impractical philosophy. In his controversial article, “Gull in the Garden?”, Roy S. Wolper completely omits any criticism of Leibnitz’s ideas and prefers the conclusion that it is Candide, not Pangloss who is the object of satire in this novel, as he doesn’t mature at the end of the novel, but simply gives in to the banalities of everyday life. He asserts that readers should not see Candide as a representative of Voltaire’s thoughts and ideals, but that Candide should be read critically as a work independent of outside...

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