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Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire’s Candide

Use of Satire to Target Religion, Military, and Optimism in Voltaire’s Candide

In his work, Candide, Voltaire uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century. Voltaire successfully criticizes religion, the military, and the philosophy of optimism.

Religious leaders are the targets of satire throughout Candide. Voltaire portrays the religious clergy as men who use their positions to further their own causes. In addition, the priests keep the less fortunate oppressed, so the clergy members can continue to enjoy extravagant luxuries. Candide discovers the young Baron, whom he thought to be dead, living among the Jesuit Priests of Paraguay. Assuming the native people must be thriving under the protection of these religious/military leaders, Candide believes this to be a most pleasant place to live. However, he soon discovers that the religious leaders are pilfering the resources of the natives. The young Baron is found eating from golden bowls while the native people live in poverty with very little food. Th…

Comparing Suppression of Women in Feminine Mystique, Radicalesbians, and Trifles

Suppression of Women through Isolation in The Feminine Mystique, Radicalesbians, and Trifles

It is far easier to break the spirit of one human being than that of a united group of people. Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”, “Radicalesbians”, and Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” come to the same conclusion: isolation and separation caused women to be vulnerable to domination by male society. Social stigmatization by men, an inability to describe the situation, and a lack of personal identity kept women apart from one another.

A fear of social stigma was one factor that kept women from supporting each other. In “The Feminine Mystique”, Betty Friedan discusses how American housewives went about their daily lives “afraid to ask even of herself the silent question – ‘Is this all?’” Women were told that family, a husband, and children would bring them fulfillment and when it didn’t, they were afraid to admit that they weren’t happy. Freidan’s white, middle-class housewives were afraid of living outside the feminine ideal they had grown up heari…

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