Candide by Voltaire
Over the course of his travels Candide has learned that it is not money or materialistic things that make people happy. It's being with the people you love and care about. Candide had finally learned to think for himself.
Education can be acquired by various methods, but experience has most frequently been the most successful. Higher stature or class in society does not necessarily mean greater common sense or better practical knowledge. Often it is those that live tougher lives and have many experiences that are worldly and wise. This philosophy is repeatedly stated throughout Candide. All those people that demonstrate intelligence and clarity of mind are those people that have had the greatest amount of life experiences.
The idea that there is no evil in the world, and that everything that happens could have happened no other way, is a pessimistic philosophy. This means that man has no free will. His choices are made by the hand of fate, and even when he thinks he is making a choice, it is really part of another master plan. Having a philosophy in a world where decision matters little is like having a placebo during the Black Plague.
People must be in control of their destiny. Realizing, of course, that no one is really in control of every aspect of their life, you at least control your own knowledge and wisdom.
At the end of the tale . . . the reader can tell that Candide has in fact learned greatly from his odyssey. It is now Candide who philosophizes to Pangloss, saying that all may be for the best now, but only because hard work is now a part of daily life (as the best of all worlds will not come naturally, but only to those who strive towards a better life).
I liked Candide. I've read it before. We read it in high school for a world literature class. I didn't like it as much then, I guess I was younger and had to overanalyze it for class.
From Candide, I learned that even the French can be funny.
It seems to me that one of the main topics of interest for Candide is equality or the pursuit of it.
The search is not only for Candide's lost love Cunegonde, or a recipe for true happiness, but also for something much deeper. . . . What he seeks to discover is himself.
In the last line Candide says, "We must cultivate our garden" (120). In this he means that we should work on what we can control and have an impact on, not feats that are impossible
Although Eldorado is the most perfect place, Candide cannot be happy there because he doesn't have his true love. In Venice, he learns that things aren't always what they seem to be. . . . Candide also learns that material pleasures cannot guarantee happiness. . . . Candide also learns that status cannot guarantee happiness. . . . He finds out that working and raising money for himself at his farm could give him happiness. . . . He finally finds his own Garden of Eden.
I found a parallel between Candide and The Education of Henry Adams. Henry Adams states that a person learns a lot through accidental education. Candide also learns the answer to his question through accidental education. I wonder if you learn the most lessons of life through formalized education or accidental education. I wonder which one provides the most valuable and practical information.
I especially like Voltaire's ending. . . . By having the six symbolic characters work peacefully together on the farm, Voltaire shows what he believes to be the creed for life: "Hard work pays off" and "Be content with what you have." . . . Throughout the book Voltaire is constantly satirizing, yet in the end there is a much more serious tone when Candide finally comes to the discovery that, while our world is not "the best of all possible worlds," every man has the possibility of creating a life that is best for him.
Nearly everyone in the story comes to realize that their lives are the only ones they have, but they are not necessarily the best that they could be. On the journey that each character has, they search for a piece of the puzzle that would make them complete, the best. It is ironic that this piece is in their soul and they don't find it until the end. Candide has the realization: "we must cultivate our garden" (120). What people seek is within them.
The search for happiness is the overriding theme of the novel. . . . At the end, Candide makes his own paradise. . . . Instead of going where faith takes him as he did in most of the novel, he now is ready to make his own fate.
Each chapter of Candide is like a different episode of a soap opera. . . . In soap operas, characters always seem to have died but somehow they survive.
Through his travels, the young man gained more life experience than he ever could have if he had stayed in one place. . . . Candide was basically unaware of the education he had achieved. It was really not until the end of the book that Candide realized how much he had taken in. This idea raised a question in my mind. Is it possible to learn from experiences while they are occurring or only when looking back later on in life?
Candide learned throughout his journey that work, especially teamwork, is the ultimate happiness. Everyone must work together to accomplish their goal.