We Must Cultivate Our Garden In Voltaire's Candide

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Seeing is Not Always Believing
The line “We must cultivate our garden”(Voltaire 130) in François-Marie Arouet Voltaire 's novella Candide symbolizes the idea that in order to redress a corrupt society we must “cultivate” ourselves by changing our perspective. In the novella Candide, the titular protagonist Candide embarks on a perilous journey with some companions to find his lover Cunegonde. However, Candide and numerous characters face grave tragedies and downfalls because of their inability to have an unbiased outlook in any situation. Thus, “culturing ourselves” would mean to open up our minds to new ideas, resulting in auspicious outcomes and improving our free will to rectify a corrupt society. Evidently, Candide is an impressionable
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For example the old woman embodies the ideal example of a cultivated character. The nameless old woman, is first seen with Candide in which she helps him get better after his injuries, giving him food, and a good place to rest (Voltaire 26). The old woman consults him quite well, and even speaking from experience she had faced great tragedies and did not let that hinder her from helping other people. Unlike Pangloss who believed it was for the best of all possible worlds if someone was on the verge of death, the old woman even sacrificed her own life to help Candide and his friends when they were being chased by the police for killing an inquisitor and a jew. Likewise another character, Cacambo accompanies Candide on his quest to find his dear Cunegonde. Even when Candide had killed the Baron, Cacambo, “was as good a counselor as the old woman,”(Voltaire 56). and “had been in a great many scrapes in his lifetime, did not lose his head;’(Voltaire 50)When facing dire situations, Candide and Pangloss are likely to be driven to philosophical optimism. Cacambo, who does not even know what philosophical optimism goes by logic and experience rather than theoretical philosophy. Therefore, when other characters face great misfortunes, the old woman and Cacambo are always one to help rather than cause misfortunes; Ultimately, they have changed their perspective on life, by examining every situation through logic and

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