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Use of Satire in Voltaire’s Candide

Successful Use of Satire in Voltaire’s Candide

Voltaire’s Candide is the story of how one man’s adventures affect his philosophy on life. Candide begins his journey full of optimism that he lives in “the best of all possible worlds,” but he learns that it is naïve to say that good will eventually come of any evil.

Voltaire successfully uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century. He criticizes religion, the evils found in every level of society, and a philosophy of optimism when faced with an intolerable world.

Candide portrays religious persecution as one of the most worst aspects of society. Voltaire rejects the superstitious beliefs that the church endorsed. After the great earthquake in Lisbon, the church seems to think that persecuting a few innocent civilians in an auto-da-fè will prevent another disaster. The church should be the most civilized aspect of a society, but Candide is flogged in time to a musical procession, Pangloss is hanged, and two others are burned. Voltaire illustrates the irony of the church as a source of violence with the warring churchmen that Candide finds in the Jesuit state in the New World.

The Spanish priests in the New World operate a government where “the Fathers have everything, the people nothing;…they wage war against the King of Spain and the King of Portugal…they kill Spaniards” (Voltaire 53). Ironically, the priests in Paraguay also hold offices in the army. The Baron, for example, holds the title of Reverend Father Colonel. Voltaire stresses the irony of a official of the church that preaches “Thou shalt not kill” to be an army officer who’s job is to murder. The cruelty of Christiani…

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…ught good out of evil, but because he has made his own happiness. “‘Well said,’ replied Candide, ‘but we must cultivate our garden'” (Voltaire 120).

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bottiglia, William. “Candide’s Garden.” Voltaire: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Durant, Will, Ariel Durant. The Story of Civilization: Part IX: The Age of Voltaire. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965.

Frautschi, R.L. Barron’s Simplified Approach to Voltaire: Candide. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1968.

Lowers, James K, ed. “Cliff Notes on Voltaire’s Candide”. Lincoln: Cliff Notes, Inc. 1965.

Richter, Peyton. Voltaire. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.

Voltaire’s Candide and the Critics. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., 1966.

Voltaire. Candide. New York: Viking Publishers, 1976.

Powerful Theme and Allusions to Sex in Anderson’s Womanhood

Powerful Theme and Allusions to Sex in Anderson’s Womanhood

Catherine Anderson’s poem “Womanhood” tells about a young girl and her transition to womanhood. In this intricately woven poem the reader will learn very little about the girl. Neither she nor her mother are ever named, and no information is given about them or their family life. What the reader does discover is what lies ahead for her as she begins her first day sewing rugs. The poem begins a few moments before she enters the gates of the sweatshop that symbolizes her entry into womanhood. Anderson uses metaphor within this poem to dramatize the difference in what lies ahead for her. She should be looking forward to a bright and cheerful future, instead, she is faced with the drudgery of a life working in a sweatshop sewing rugs. Anderson has woven this poem together so there is a link created between the first and second stanzas of the poem. Each line in the first stanza, describing the carefree attitude of the young girl correlates with a line in the second stanza illustrating how her life will be far different after she enters the gates of the factory and womanhood.

Within this poem there are many references or allusions to sex. Most women are considered to have entered womanhood when they have their first sexual experience with a man. Anderson plays up this aspect of becoming a woman in the poem to symbolize the girl’s losing her innocence and youth to work in the sweatshop. In essence, she is losing her virginity to that same sweatshop. The first of these allusions to sex is in the opening lines of the poem; “she slides over/the hot upholstery” (1,2). The young girl is described as sliding over hot upholstery, like girls sometimes do to snuggle up next to their boyfriends when driving a car. This verse can also be seen as a metaphor for the hot young skin of a beautiful young girl. Another example of these references is when Anderson describes the girl as “loves humming

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