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Jose Lopez

Jose Lopez on Chapter 12:

With the Old Woman we are able to sense of Voltaire’s realism and stoicism. Obviously the woman has been through a lot, from her days as a princess to her recounting of her life, through this we see that what our protagonists have faced has little importance or significance when compared to the suffering of other people in the world. It also solidifies Cunegonde and Candide’s baptism by fire. All they knew before they were either “kicked out” or forcedly taken away from their most precious of all castles was that of peace and happiness. Throughout the story they question their previous optimistic philosophy and harden themselves towards a more realist/deist view that the world is neither all bad nor all good. The old woman is the person that first shows them that path, and after their encounter they are advised to tell her tale as well as share and ask others on their journey about theirs.

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Jose Lopez on Chapter 4:

In this particular passage we note Voltaire’s social criticism on religion and imperialism. First off we see just how negatively Voltaire thinks about the church and how he uses any and every chance he can to bash the Catholic Church. Pangloss tells Candide how he contracted syphilis from Paquette and through this chain of disease contraction a Friar and Jesuit are mentioned noting corruption. One would think that these noblemen of the church would have higher morals and be free of sin, but on the contrary we see Voltaire’s description of these high status church positions and how they are hypocritical, a trait despised by Voltaire. We also see how Imperialism led to the contraction of syphilis through the mention of Christopher Columbus. Candide, through his optimistic point of view, states that out of the exploitation of many native peoples and the introduction and spread of syphilis they gained the discovery of chocolate and other goods. Exploitation and syphilis for chocolate? In a sarcastic tone he also mentions that syphilis might not be widespread now but in a few years because of the white-mans quest for power and resources all of Asia will also be introduced to syphilis.

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  27. James Basker, Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History, Barnard College (5)
  28. James Morrow, author The Last Witchfinder, The Philosopher's Apprentice (23)
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