Monday, December 22, 2008

Candide Thoughts

Feel free to post thoughts on physics or Candide!

27 comments:

puddlewonderful said...

Did I miss the memo about this being our winter reading?

Dean Elazab said...

i must have too bc i was blissfully unaware

El Paco said...

n00bs!!!!!1

puddlewonderful said...

ur momz a n00b lulz

El Paco said...

How marvelously cynical Candide was. I loved it.

jp said...

El Paco said...
How marvelously cynical Candide was. I loved it.


I STRONGLY DISAGREE

joel derby said...

Agreed, it reminded me of 100 years of Solitude in its style, all of these fantastic stories and returns from the dead.

puddlewonderful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron Nussdorf said...

I found Candide enjoyable and relatively fun to read [it went really easy for me]. I think that Martin was the funniest character in the book. What are people's thoughts about Pangloss losing his faith in Optimism? I found it to be a normal responce to the "College of Hard Knocks" ['When god gives you lemons, you find a new god'].

puddlewonderful said...

There is, to me, a critical difference between Candide and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Marquez's humor is, well, humorous-- his style is clearly jestful, his prose, to me, much funnier. He doesn't get so bogged down with grotesque details, everything feels lighter, so that even when war occurs and people die, it doesn't seem as weighty. Voltaire's story is different; his imagery is violent, bloody, and though there is humor in his tone, it is not so clear or overwhelming, so that I at least felt weighed down by all the misfortune. Candide's tale becomes tedious; his misfortunes are too serious, too awful, for us to laugh at them. If we do, it would be more an uneasy chuckle produced because it is expected than a genuine delight in the humor. For this reason, after a certain number of chapters, I began to find Candide slightly unpleasant. I can see Voltaire's point, but I disliked his delivery.

jp said...

I liked the moral at the end of Candide - it really does you no good to speculate about how things could be, when it won't change how things are. Instead, take life as it comes, and "tend to your garden."

I am kind of stumped by what Doc said in class though, when he pointed out the disjunction between all the terrible injustices Voltaire writes about in Candide, and his sort of counter-Enlightenment "you can't change the world, accept it how it is" moral. Unlike other Enlightenment era writers who wrote as agents for change against injustice in the world, Voltaire seems to advocate the exact opposite with Candide.

As Doc asked, "Where does Voltaire fit in?" Is Voltaire just criticizing his contemporaries, or is there something else to it?

tmichals said...

I personally liked Pangloss's attitude. I know you think he was a moron, Michelle, and maybe he was. But I still liked his optimism!

stephen gieger said...

Some people mentioned in class that the satire of voltaire could be outrageous but i thought it was effective as in how he described the oppression of the inquisition when candide is condemned simply for knowing pangloss.

Mr. Plainview said...

Mrs. Scandurro compared Candide to The Tin Drum. Though I can see certain similarities, I think there are some crucial differences. Both tales may be fantastic, but The Tin Drum has elements that are clearly impossible. Let us not forget Oskar's power to shatter glass with his voice. However, I think the key difference is in the narrators. Voltaire tells Candide's tale; Oskar tells his own. As a first-person narrator, the little drummer lends himself to questions regarding his objectivity and motivations. Certainly one can ponder Voltaire's motives when put in historical context. A great deal of Candide's stature depends on historical context. On the other hand...Oskar is timeless; Oskar stands by himself; Oskar is far superior to Voltaire.

Ehren said...

All though I do think the point of Candide was interesting, I think it could've been summed up in a sentence or two. The story seemed to drag on to me, and I felt that I understood what Voltaire was trying to communicate after about the first ten chapters. I felt like he kind of belabored the point, even for a satire.

Dean Elazab said...

I agree with Brandon, the difference in narration makes a huge change in the way the story is told. Oskar is writing a diary and can easily change fact because it is his writing. Candide is a narration and that implys that he is telling a distinct story.

joel derby said...

There is, to me, a critical difference between Candide and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Marquez's humor is, well, humorous-- his style is clearly jestful, his prose, to me, much funnier. He doesn't get so bogged down with grotesque details, everything feels lighter, so that even when war occurs and people die, it doesn't seem as weighty. Voltaire's story is different; his imagery is violent, bloody, and though there is humor in his tone, it is not so clear or overwhelming, so that I at least felt weighed down by all the misfortune. Candide's tale becomes tedious; his misfortunes are too serious, too awful, for us to laugh at them. If we do, it would be more an uneasy chuckle produced because it is expected than a genuine delight in the humor. For this reason, after a certain number of chapters, I began to find Candide slightly unpleasant. I can see Voltaire's point, but I disliked his delivery.

I STRONGLY DISAGREE!! Marquez was boring and slightly annoying in my opinion, I find Voltaire's dark humor quite hilarious!!! SO booyakasha!


and Andrew:

I HAVE NO OPINION WAY OR THE OTHER!

Dean Elazab said...

I agree with joel, i think that voltaire's humor is much better than 100 years of solitude's magical realism. The people frustrated me in 100 years when they re used the names, but the dead comming back was rather amusing in candide

El Paco said...

To be honest, I don't see much similar between 100 Years of Solitude and Candide. One uses magical realism to illustrate South American Society and the other is a satire - there's really not that much in common.

Anyway, I would like to know everyone's opinion of Candide's cynical message. I personally loved it, but i would like to hear what everyone else has to say.

Aaron Nussdorf said...

Going back to what Puddlewonderful said...I think that Voltaire is taking an extreme, foolish Optimist [Candide] and putting him in an extremely cruel world. Thus, the cynical tone becomes so evident and almost opressive. I found the facts to be enlightening on the entire situation. The Enlgihtment Movement had to go through a major re-examination period when the Lisbon Earthquake occurred because the leaders of the movement NEEDED a rational answer to the earthquake. So Voltaire is throwing a wrench into the Optimist Philosophy; the factual evidence is vital to the desired effect of Voltaire. I think that Voltaire's satire is not only highly effective but also darkly humorous.

jp said...

Ok, so it turned out my last post was pretty much totally wrong. We now know the ending was meant to be taken sarcastically, like "jk lol." Basically, Voltaire pwned me.

Oh well. His place as an Enlightenment writer is much clearer to me now. He too was an agent of change - he was just a lot more cynical than many of the other Enlightenment writers.

So I have a new question: Who or what is Pangloss intended to represent in Candide? Could Voltaire maybe use Pangloss to represent the unrealistic optimism of some other writers of the time who wanted to make "heaven on earth"?

puddlewonderful said...

I think it's easy for us to idealize a bit too much, and I think that's what Pangloss represents. You know those people who just think world peace is just around the corner? Who can only talk about the marvels technology will bring, without considering the harm it can do, and the problems we still face that have found no hint of a solution? Pangloss is one of those people. Sometimes when something good happens, people get too complacent. Pangloss does that, and so, I think, Voltaire thought a lot of those "Enlightened" philosophers did. They were so amazed at the progress science and thought was making-- look at America, their revolution, their "universal" sufferage. Look at Newton, discerning the laws of the universe! They were seeing their minds blossom in a new mode of thinking that we still, in some sense, hold today-- the idea of systematic scientific progress, the community of scientists chipping away at a common goal, those are notions we still harbor. In today's era cynicism is more popular, but I do remember a time in my youth when I thought all things were possible through science. I was a little Pangloss, I suppose. I guess Voltaire was a cynic-- like we are today-- and everyone's optimism was annoying him.

Pangloss was my favorite character too, Taylor! But only because he was so silly.

Ehren said...

Andrew -
I loved the cynical message of Candide. I thought there were a lot of interesting points in Volataire's writing. To me it seemed like he was saying that everyone's life sucks at some point or another, but get over it because that doesen't make you special and it's not going to change by dwelling on it and there are people who are worse off than you.

I might be completely wrong though.

What did y'all think the ending meant? I wasn't really sure of what he was saying. Initially I though he was just trying to say to do something with your life and keep busy so you won't spend all of your time moping around.

Mr. Plainview said...

I dislike Voltaire's cynical message, and I don't understand how anybody can find Candide funny. I do think Voltaire does a fine job contrasting Pangloss' mentality with the main character's reality. That's not to say I enjoyed reading of his misfortunes. It was tedious and depressing. If everyone shared the same cynical message with Voltaire, we'd all be a bunch of miserable wretches. There may be miserable wretches among us, but we are not all miserable wretches. I'd like to hang on to that perspective at the very least.

bballinsupasta said...

i liked the "tend your garden" philosophy. pangloss and candide spent too much time worrying about why things happened and discussing whether or not things were really for the best. i believe that both of them would have been happier if they just lived their lives rather than analyzing everything constantly.

bballinsupasta said...

i found Candide funny in a dark humored sort of way. for instance, one time someone quotes the character candide a price but then keeps making it higher since candide is willing to pay the higher prices. i found that scene pretty funny. i also thought much of candide's reasoning funny like when he decides to marry cun.... because she insists that he do it.

ndepass said...

i enjoyed humor of Candide and this reading kept me entertained. All of the tragic events and his adventures were quite entertaining. i personally dont see too much of a similarity between this 100 hundred years of solitude because it seems much lighter and and Candide is much darker.