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Notes on Candide from Chapter 10
We have discussed Candide face to face up to chapter 10 before the interruption. From this point on, we will use the Forum-Discussions in the Activities module of Brightspace to continue the discussion. The only difference with the face to face discussion is that it requires all students to put their questions and their understanding of the text in writing, and to read other students’ and professor’s comments. All activities, passive or active will affect the final computation of grades.
Refresher: I pointed out that you must read Candide for the Content and the Style; one depends on the other.
In this course, we focus deliberately on one aspect of Content: social injustice.
Voltaire’s attack on social injustice is not straightforward; as a result, readers need to read between the lines in order to arrive at the heart of issues under attack. Reading “between the lines” means paying attention to the choice of words, the structure of sentences, literary devices and the sequencing of paragraphs.
I repeat here what I said when we started to read this text:
Regarding the CONTENT of Candide: As you read, don’t think of Candide or any characters in the book as persons; but think of these characters as caricatures that point to social issues.
Therefore, instead of asking yourselves the familiar question “what will happen next to them”, you must ask “ what are the social issues here, who are the victims and who are the perpetrators”. Think of the characters as representing social classes or emblematic groups, and look for the clues pointing at wrongdoers and victims in the society.
Regarding the STYLE of writing: There was no freedom of speech when Candide was written, all written work was censured by the Church and by the King. Voltaire used his wit and depended on readers’ shrewdness to get to the message. This is a real work-out for the mind. Exercise your mind and have fun rating the levels of criticism (1 to 5) from light to wicked, for example:
Bantering, badinage, pleasantry 1
Scoffing, ridiculing 3
Exposing follies and vices 4
Using malice and virulence in the attacks 5
Read the document CandideNotes to catch up on what we have been discussing up to chapter 10.
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