Thursday, January 31, 2008

killing there own

A scene in the movie that struck me stronger than any other was the scene when the Irshmen in the IRA executed one of their own. Not only was he one of their own, but he was a young child. This shows the level of hatred between these two groups. They would kill their own, and a child, for the smallest release of information to the other side. The Irish were fighting for their land and they were going to do everything in their power to protect what was theirs. The Irish felt betrayed and they did what they thought was necessary, execution.

Irish Stubbornness

Throughout the movie the IRA and especially Damien showed an unconditional love for their country. This posed for, in my opinion, a bigger problem for the British than was initially intended. In the opening scene British soldiers storm upto a house and force the men to strip down. A seventeen year old refuses to obey the orders and is literally beaten to death. Later in the movie British soldiers capture the leader of the IRA in attempt to get names of other IRA leaders. In this scene O'Fannon has his finger nails torn off and still does not sell himself or the IRA. Both of these scenes show the extreme tortures these men were willing to endure for the fight for freedom. Members of the IRA are shown to be heroic and hard-nosed men fighting for their independence from Great Britian. It wasn't until the very end that the IRA started showing signs of weakness. This trait, which seemed inevitable, was somehow glorified. We see this after the treaty has been signed and everyone thought they were independent from the British. After finding out this is not true, and many of the IRA soldiers have given themselves over to the British, Damien still stands strong. The ultimate heroic figure is portrayed as never selling out and becomes the last man standing. This long battle between the IRA and British had a lot to do with the passionate and stubborn Irishmen of the IRA.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

I thought the pub shoot-out scene was quite exciting. Damien and his men were able to get revenge for the murder of their dear friend Micheail Sullivan. Despite getting their revenge, this scene raised a number of questions for me. Were their actions justified since the British troops were sent after them? Did killing the men who murdered Micheail really resolve the issue? Was all the excess bloodshed necessary to prove a point? Was Damien's death justified?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Extremists vs. moderates

I found the conflict between the radicals IRA members and the more moderate IRA members to be very interesting. When the rebellious army splits into two after the treaty with England is ratified, I felt as though it was incredibly more difficult to justify all the lives that would be lost by continuing a struggle that had a good deal less significance than it did before the treaty. This problem, in my opinion, actually may have been a greater problem than when the British army occupied the country, because in that situation it was British versus Irish. However, when some of the IRA joined the national army, the fight became one of Irishman versus Irishman, and, as we saw, literally brother against brother. It also amazes me that the Irish who continued to be part of the IRA would be so quick to condemn their less-radical brothers as traitors. It really goes to show you the reality of war and how steadfastly people hold their ideals.

The Price of Freedom

This movie is a great depiction of the many different aspects that fighting a war brings about. It not only showed the problems with morality, but also the first hand hardships that many are forced to go through when battling for their freedom. Along with getting a point of view from what the soldiers were dealing with, we also got a look into the involvement of women and the efforts, and sometimes the punishments that they receive for their actions. However, I don't necessarily agree with some of the other posts and their stance against teenagers and young adults participating in the war efforts. I believe whole-heartedly that they have every right, and possibly an obligation to put their lives on the line as well. After all, they will reap the benefits of a change in policies just as much as older generations that are already entrenched in the fight. The teenagers that were depicted in this movie, in my eyes were definitely old enough to understand their cause, and the enormity of the situation that they were dealing with. At 19 years old, I understand completely the ramifications that I would face for betraying my cause and turning over names and the locations of safe houses to enemy authorities; so I believe that the execution is completely justifiable and certainly within reason for Damien to carry out.

in response to The Wind That Shakes the Barley

I think this is a great movie that demonstrates how war has the ability to break apart families, and even gives man the power to destroy his loved ones. After Damien joined the IRA, he disappointed me through the rest of the film. The whole reason he got into the war was because he saw one of his best friends killed by the "auxies". While I understand how this can persuade a man to put his education on hold to stop the British from destroying his people, he ends up helping kill his own people, including one of his good friends.He also becomes so involved the his cause that he refuses to help his brother and save his own life. In the beginning he just wanted to help Ireland, then when the treaty came he became very passionate about the cause instead of just obtaining peace again. Damien's character is a great example of how a war can really turn a peaceful man into a killer.

Cost of War

I think Pat makes a very pertinent point. The movie appears to focus heavily on the human cost of war. From a financial perspective, Damien gives up his career as a doctor to go and fight for freedom. A situation like this raises may questions. Should Damien be a loyal countryman and support the fight for freedom or should he put his future ahead of a the war? We also witness the human cost of war when the young boy is executed. If I remember correctly Damien says, "I hope this Ireland we're fighting for is worth it," when the boy is executed. This statement is powerful because it causes not only Damien but the viewers to think about what the war is causing. Should a war cost a young man his life? Another instance of the human cost of war is when the brothers are pitted against each other. This instance sums up my entire point. Is country stronger an blood? Is it right/ethical to execute a mere teenager for following orders? What loyalty do you owe your country when it could potentially tear your life and your family apart?

Compromise and the Fight for Freedom

One of the most interesting facets of this film seemed to be the compromise that many of the freedom fighters chose after the treatise was signed. To me, those people who compromised trivialized their fight and dishonored those who had lost their lives in the struggle. It seems to me that it is human nature to have a certain point of compromise. Damien embodied the heroic figure who never compromised, even in the face of death. The conflict is very strong throughout the movie, even among the freedom fighters. I think that the execution of the young man was a tough decision to make. However, I think that his death has to be viewed on the same level as the execution of the wealthy landowner. The young man had the opportunity to lie to the British soldiers, and he decided to give up his fellow freedom fighters. If he had done nothing wrong, his death would have been a terrible thing. Killing British soldiers is not any different than killing the young man. He was younger, but he had to have known what was going to happen if he betrayed his friends.

RE: The Myth of The Wind...

In response to stone's post, I do agree that Irish rebels often resorted to brutal tactics like their British counterparts, and often against their own people. However, I think you are too quick to excuse the British from the harsh actions taken against innocent Irish civilians as a result of Irish rebellions. You have to keep in mind that Irish rebellion did not just arise in the early 20th century, and the British actions in the movie were not just a result of the Easter rising of 1916. Brutal British rule over Ireland dates back several hundred years, and the Irish fought for freedom dating back to the arrival of the tyrant Oliver Cromwell in the 1600s. For example, the British forces would enter villages, line the Irish people along the edge of a cliff, and push them off one by one-- and these were not hostile villages. The Irish rebels resorted to actions like any group of people in history whose freedoms have been threatened or limited.

You also have to take into account current Irish sentiment about the IRA, particularly the IRA that continued past the 1930's. Most consider the Irish rebels portrayed in the movie to be the "Old IRA", whereas the "IRA" that continued violent attacks throughout the remainder of the 20th century and into the 21st century to be a type of "New IRA", and not a true continuation of the rebels we see in the movie. The goals of these two factions of the IRA are very different.

I would agree with you only to the extent that I believe the movie is less concerned about depicting a collective look at the Irish rebellion and all of the complexities involved, and it is instead focused more on the human cost of war. For example, there were numerous political factions at the time, more than just the rebels and the Free-State supporters. The political environment was extremely complex, and it was different in throughout the many counties of Ireland. In the movie, we only see the state of Ireland in County Cork through the eyes of the Irish rebels. While the movie does seem to sympathize with the Irish rebels, we get a sense of both the violence of the British toward the Irish, as well as a clear look at the Irish rebels' hostile action toward their own people.

Overall, I think the movie is a powerful look at the inner turmoil people face when their freedoms and way of life are threatened. Damien's decision to oppose the treaty was not a simple decision. He was beginning a new life with Sinead, and he had to choose between a somewhat normal life with a continued eminent threat of losing his freedom (with British forces still very much in control), and a chance to pursue absolute freedom from British rule.

Response to Capital Punishment

I too found the execution of the boy to be the most striking scene in the movie. I agree that no minor should ever be executed or take part in war. This portrays the lack of morality and laws during time of war. I also find it disheartening that the United States, along with Iran, are the only two countries to execute minors. If we, as a nation, execute minors, will we start sending minors to war? Many Americans are opposed to a draft, myself included, but if it prevents minors from participating in the war, I would be all for it. Under no circumstances should innocent minors be forced to fight in a war. Although disturbing, this movie did address major issues, and was overall a good film.

Execution; good movie

Overall, to me the movie was very interersting. I want to agree with Sabir, in regards that I too was surprised that it was directed by an English man. The movie for me started off alittle cloudy, because I hadn't yet picked up the plpot of it. I finally picked up when I found out the government ran a lot of what went on around the country. The first attack, (after the guys had got finished playing that sport with the sticks), showed me how ruthless they were, not only toward the men but also women. Then the very next seen was the same group of soldiers attacking a train that was idle in the train station.
There were a lot executions in the movie which did not surprise me considering the time era of the movie. It just shows me how far we've come (although we've not come far enough), as regards to capital punishment. The little boy who got executed for giving up the location of his friends was wrong in every sense. In his mind, he had to do the best thing for him and his family, and it takes me back to the story of Civil Rights discussed by someone in the class who did their research over that project.
But in the end, the entire movie goes to show how unpredictable war is, and how much of an impact it can have on a family tie. With the execution of one's brother might go on today in 2nd and 3rd world countries as we speak, and it just could be that this movie was long overdue.

Fight For Freedom

I just finished watching the movie and I'm still shocked by what went on in the movie. In our society we are don't really hear much about other countries' struggles for freedom and equality. We always hear about our freedom from Great Britain and that's pretty much the only fight for freedom we are taught, besides maybe Mexico.
The fight for Irish freedom was vividly reenacted in the movie. Seeing the boy being killed for protecting his and his familie's well-being was shocking, men being sentenced to death for carrying a firearm, women being taken out of their homes and having them set on fire, all of these things were just outrageous. The most shocking of all was Teddy ordering his soilders to kill his brother. It just shows what the fight for freedom can do to people within a country and even within a family.


I found it surprising that the movie was directed by an English director, Ken Loach. Similar point made in Candide about freedom comes up in the movie. Strong lack of political freedom is demonstrated by the execution of an Irish man when he tries to fight back to the English soldier, without weapons. I think it is interesting that although Irish are dominated by the English, it was not a total domination. The soldiers came to Sullivan’s home, and threaten to wipe them out rather than just doing it. Does this reflect that the English Soldiers do not have complete freedom as well, or is it just them trying to inflict more pain that way?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Capital Punishment

I agree with Joe. The most striking part of the movie was when the boy was executed. He was a minor doing what he thought was best for his family. Even though this was a war-like time, I found another correlation to one of the letters that was presented in class on Friday stating that the United States and Iran are the only two countries in the world that execute minors. This matter is incredibly disturbing. Whether in a time of war or not, no minor should ever be executed, let alone fight in wars. Thoughts?

Friday, January 25, 2008


The part of the movie that got my attention is when they executed both the boy and the man. I felt that the man set up the "freedom fighters" and used the boy to lead them to there hideout. The boy afraid and scared felt no choice since he knew that his boss could make economic hardships on his family.
I don't think the boy was a coward or a trader just an innocent boy who was scared and trapped in the liberation.
The man however was a bad guy from the beginning and I felt that his beliefs would not change.

The boy's execution is in direct correlation to the letter I wrote about on human right violations. "The Red Hand Campaign" is what I advocated and I feel those under the age of 18 should not be allowed to engage themselves in warfare.

Close-Mindedness Again

Just as Voltaire points out the close-mindedness of political oppression in Candide, the Wind that Shakes the Barley does the same. The movie is extremely powerful from the start. Killing someone for not telling his name in English is outlandish! In this case the closed-minded view that Britain implants in its soldiers minds drives these soldiers to kill at will. There were two parts of the movie were strongest to me. One is the main male character, I can't recall his name right now, believes so strongly about independence for Ireland that he shoots one of is very good friends. Also, at the end, the main male character's older brother was brainwashed by the British so much that he gave the orders for his brother to be shot. To kill a friend or kill a brother is just mind-boggling to me. These actions are just examples of the senseless close-mindedness of war and political oppression.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Response to "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"

The movie was overall disturbing. It definitely showed the tragedy and violence of terrorism and war. There are two ideas that I would like to bring up that co-inside with the movie and Candide. The first is the idea...can justice exist in any form during war? I got this idea from the scene in the movie where they are arguing whether or not to uphold the court's decision to penalize the wealthy man for using usurious interest, but letting him off just because he helps finance the war. The second idea I started by getting from the book on page 5 about how the countries burned each other's villages according to the "strict accordance with the laws of war." From watching this movie, is there "laws of war"? Is war and terrorism really just chaos and decisions made on the whim? Or is there supposed laws to all of it? I say no, there are no laws. If there were fair laws in place, then innocent civilians would never be killed in combat. Also, no one would be killed if they were unarmed and/or had not done anything wrong (like the guy in the beginning who was killed just because he would not say his name in English).

The Myth of The Wind that Shakes the Barley

At the risk of sounding callous, I would just like to point out that the Irish independence fighters, glorified for their “noble” sacrifices in the film, were and are little more than an unorganized rabble of terrorist insurgents, who murdered innocent civilians to advance their cause. The depiction of the quest for Irish independence in the film was greatly skewed, and the actions of the British military forces, stationed in Ireland, were taken completely out of context. The film would have viewers believe that the British military were little more than armed thugs, pillaging the countryside, without cause or provocation. In reality, the decision of British commanders to employ such brutal tactics was taken in response to the Easter Uprising of 1916, wherein Irishmen rebelled against the British Crown. Also, many of the atrocities, mistakenly attributed to the British military by the film, were, in actuality, carried out by Irish loyalist armies, not the regular Army of the United Kingdom. Additionally, this film only tells a small part of the Irish rebels’ story. Though honorably intentioned at the start of their campaign, the Irish rebellion soon began to target innocent men, women , and children both in Ireland, and in Great Britain. Over the course of the 20th century, and into the beginning of the 21st, the Irish Republican Army murdered over 2,500 civilians and military personnel in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and England, and caused a tremendous amount of damage with their bombing campaigns. The glorification of such inhuman actions is a disgrace and a dishonor to the memory of the thousands of innocent civilians and armed military personnel, brutally murdered over the last century by the IRA in their campaign of violence and terrorism.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Voltaire in Totality

I just got finished reading the entire book (it was yesterday), and I have to tell my fellow class mates that the book was much more interesting then I thought it would be. Coming into the book, I didn't know what to expec from a book titled Candide, but I enjoyed it. I'm not going to talk about every espect in the book that there is like we've been talking about in class, but I do want to point out one characteristic which is gender. I wanted to see what you guys thought about monkeys chasing females and snippping at their buttocks as if to flirt with them. At first reaction, I would ahve done the same thing Candide did, which was shoot the monkeys, but evidentally the females thought differently. Is having monkeys (primeapes; the closest thing in the animal world to humans), chasing after females a disrespect to the male figures? Not to sound all "mushy" or anything, but I also sort of connected with the book. On the way to becoming a successful garderner, Candide went through a hell of a lot of trials and tribulations, and in the end everything sort of turned out like Pangloss had said it would. Not only did Candide get the girl, (which he didn't even have to do that), he proved doubters wrong by marrying her as well.

Candide's Racism

Throughout Candide Voltaire discusses racism through his characters. The old lady is the first to reveal some sort of racism and/or close-mindedness. The old lady tells of her journey and how she arrived at the point that she is now. She tells that she had been had my European men and by angry negro pirates. When discussing rape, one would think that any person who is raped would think of the person that committed the act as a deviant or a criminal. As the old lady discusses it she talks as if the Europeans were just in their actions of raping her. In Chapter 11, The old lady also talks about the temperate weather of European nations and how the Europeas have milk in their blood and how the Africans have heat in their blood. This is basically saying that all the white men of Europe were cool and all the black men of Africa were angry. This shows close-mindedness as well as racism.


Sorry for the delay but this assignment slipped my mind, so here it goes.

After reading the final chapters of Candide I originally felt let down as a bad ending, Candide was poor, his wife ugly and he couldn't go home to Westphalia. While this to was a horrible way to end an adventure that contained so many highs and lows, I did enjoy the final sentence by Pangloss which almost made his theory of living in the best of time almost believable. "All events are linked together in the best of possible worlds, for after all, if you had not been driven from a fine castle..., (Pangloss mentions most of the adventures), if you hadn't lost all your sheep from the good land of Eldorado, you wouldn't be sitting here eating candied citron and pistachios."Page 75

This notion strikes me as extremely perplexing, in that all life is but the product of all of our other past experiences. And if we happen to be living in a particularly happy portion of life, built upon suffering, who cannot say that all the previous suffering was not for the best, if in the present we find enjoyment in life.

Voltaire's Candide

One thing that I found very interesting about Candide is the satire and the method that Voltaire uses to apply it. The story is filled with abused women, racism hierarchy, and hipocracy. While these are the emotions and tribulations that the characters experience, we are actually hearing Voltaire's critical comments on the fact that this is how the world actually is, and its not a good thing, no body gets the big picture and everyone is too ignorant to even speculate what that answer is. Through the use of 1st-person perspectives from several characters we really get a chance to see into their personal feelings and beliefs of themselves and society, which is the method in which Voltaire used to personify the wretched ways of people everywhere from all walks of life.

Women in Candide

Women in Candide seem to suffer more torture and blame. In the conversation between Candide and Martin in chapter 22, they talk about nobody knowing his place in the society and times spent in useless quarrels. They mention useless quarrels as of wives against husbands. While many men that die are killed in the battle, women actually are raped and tortured before they have a chance of dieing . The old woman mentions in her story in chapter 11; 'my captive companions, their captors, soldiers, sailors, blacks, browns, whites, mulattoes, and at last my captain, all were killed, and I remain half dead...'


I thought Voltaire did a nice job of using irony throughout his story, Candide. One can find examples of it included in most of the book's chapters, but there were two examples that stuck out to me the most. The first example of irony comes in Chapter 4 when the Anabaptist drowns. As we discussed in class, it is a customary baptismal ritual for Anabaptists to submerge their whole bodies under water when they are adults. Since Jacques drowns in the story, it seemed that the only explanation for this occurrence was Voltaire's use of irony. The second example of irony that stuck out to me comes from Chapter 21. After Candide is duped and robbed by the Dutchman, we learn that the Dutchman's ship was attacked and sunk with all of Candide's treasure aboard. It seemed ironic that karma would circle back so quick, but as Candide always said, "everything is for the best."
-Dante Rau

Pangloss' Philosophy

All of the characters in Candide face adversity in a cyclical manner. They all suffer for a period of time and have a brief pause before engaging in the cycle once more. Each character replies with their individual conviction that helps justify or explain the situation. Candide’s philosophy, as taught to him by Pangloss, is flawed and unsatisfying for him as he suffers. The formula explains cause and effect with a result that it is for the best. However, the formula seems to observe an effect and then create the cause to the situation. The cause is that everything is perfect and it will be for the best result. The entire story does not have a best. Pangloss’ philosophy seems to answer the question why is this happening to me? There is no answer to why. However, the solution is to lead a productive life; to do what is within your individual control.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Throughout the story, it seems that Voltaire shows contempt for every philosophy, religion, or social structure that he can fit in. At the end, with all the characters back together at the farm with each one having a special talent that they can use. Voltaire criticizes everything, but when it is time for all the characters to finally become enlightened they are just stuck on some poor farm doing menial labor for the rest of their lives. Is this more noble and exciting than what the characters have gone through? The old woman asks this question, and there is no answer. Voltaire, throughout the story, showed little disdain for Martin and his philosophy. According to Martin, mankind either suffers greatly or is greatly bored. Even in the end, Pangloss admits he never believed a word of what he was saying. Voltaire seems to be extremely pessimistic and is really quite depressing. In the end, Voltaire contended that everybody was wrong in what they believed, but himself never gave a viable alternative. This was extremely effective, however, in getting me to think about a number of different philosophies.

Everything is NOT always for the best

It truly amazes me that throughout all of his adventures, trials, and tribulations, Candide still remains optimistic and is still faithful to the teachings of Pangloss. After everything Candide has endured it seems unfathomable that there is any way he could possibly believe everything that happens is for the best. He is tossed from the castle of Thunder-Ten-Tronckh, beaten, humiliated, forced to endure the hardships of war, re-united with friends numerous times only to have them stripped away yet again, and becomes the most wealthy man in the colonized world only to see that too stripped away from him by the greed of a Dutch sailor. His life is run through unimaginable hardships, and yet he presses on to be with the only woman he has always loved, but even the glory of his love is stripped from him not only by the barron, but by Cunegonde as well because of the grotesque features of her face. Candide's resilience should certainly be applauded, but he is definately not a very witty man.
I think P.J. brings up a great point about the role of money in Candide. Often we think that money changes people. In Candide's case, I did not see this to be the case. As P.J. pointed out, he got into just as many troublesome situations as he did before he was wealthy. I found it particularly interesting that Candide did not seem to think of himself as moving up in class due to his new found wealth. If you consider the large sum of money Candide possessed and how he used it, he could have done much more than just buy his way out of trouble. By the end of the book, he, Martin, the Baron, Pangloss, the old woman, and Cunegonde live a life of boredom. If Candide had used his money to buy land, or even power, he could have easily set up his following for a life of luxury.

A point I didn't think of in class

One of the events that was brought up multiple times in class was the killing of the English Admiral, and the reason behind it, namely he wasn't ruthless enough. Beyond the political implications of this, and given what else we know about Voltaire, it would not be a stretch to say that this passage is also meant to make fun of religion. In the Book of Samuel, in the Old Testament, we get the story of Saul, the first Israelite king. God instructs Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, one of the neighboring tribes of the region, down to the women, children, and animals. Saul is not to take prisoners. Saul is able to crush the Amalekites, but his soldiers take women as concubines, take animals as prizes, and leave the buildings standing. This displeases God, and God takes his revenge by violently deposing Saul through David.
It should not take much of a stretch of the imagination to see the parallel between Saul's story and the story of the admiral. The admiral also had his career violently shortened by allies because he was not ruthless enough to the enemy. Voltaire could well be using this story to point out how we react poorly to the English pulling much the same stunt as God, but not many in his day would dare question the will of God, even when the actions are so equivocal.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Money and Power Do Not Mean Happiness

Being so interested in money myself, I couldn't help but notice Voltaire's views on money and power.  When Candide left Eldorado with fortunes beyond belief, it appeared that he had bought his ticket to happiness.  Candide obviously found out the hard way that money cannot buy happiness, overcoming countless injuries, threats, and trickeries.  Voltaire uses many examples to illustrate the falsities of money.  When Candide was robbed, he seemed to be very unhappy, more so than he was at any other point in the story.  He also met the Count Pococurante who was a wealthy man.  Look what money did to him.  Nothing can please the Count now and it would seem that money has caused him to sulk into a state of boredom.   Throughout the story after Eldorado it seemed that Candide, though he could often buy his way out of situations, seemed to be in just as many troublesome affairs as when he was without money.  In my opinion, the wealth brought more unhappiness into his life and maybe this is Voltaire's point.  

Candide vs. Martin

Throughout the story Candide has traveled with many companions, however it took 20 chapters to meet his exact opposite when he decides to travel with a Manichee named Martin. Martin is everything that Candide is not and visa versa. Throughout the book they continue to verbally spar on different issues such as life and whether the world should exist or not. There was one exchange between the two that really got me however:

-I hope, said Martin, that she will some day make you happy; but i very much doubt it.
-You're a hard man, said Candide
-I've lived, said Martin

Martin believes that he is the older wiser man, however Candide has been though much more than the average human and still has a love for life and an optimism. My question is since Candide has lived as much as Martin and been through many trials and tribulations and still continues on, doesn't Candide's optimism work just as well, if not better than Martins pessimism?

Everything is for the best

Voltaire satirizes a number of things (Religion, Government, Stealing, etc...) in his novel Candide. Two of the things he is satirizing that we seem to have overlooked are innocence and ignorance. Why is Candide so steadfastly ready to believe that "everything is for the best"? It is because "little Candide listened to his (Pangloss's) instructions with all the simplicity natural to his age..." So Pangloss has been teaching Candide his philosophy for years, so this "everything is for the best" belief is ingrained in Candide's mind.
When Candide is kicked out of the kingdom, he is innocent and ignorant to the ways of the world. He doesn't even know of the things that are going on in the world. For example, Candide does not know whether or not the Pope is an antichrist. Another example of Candide's ignorance is when he allows the skipper from Surinam to continue raising the price of his transportation to Venice. It's obvious the man is swindling him, but Candide does not catch on because he has not been exposed to this kind of behavior until now.
Throughout the novel Candide keeps a companion with him because without a companion he would be dead because of his ignorance. His companions get him out of many bad situations. A few examples include: the situation with the Oriellons, the situation with Miss Cunegund 's Brother, the situation with the officer, and the situation with the inquisitor. Without his companions' timely advice and wits he would have been eaten, killed, or in a dungeon. Candide's companions are able to get him out of these situations because they are not innocent or ignorant to the secular ways of mankind.
Voltaire cleverly disguises this satire throughout this novel. Voltaire wants people to get out of their comfort zone and travel places to learn new things because in reality everything is not for the best.

Voltaire's Sense of Humor

The use of irony and ironic situation in Voltaire’s Candide serve many purposes. As discussed today in class, they serve to both add an element of humor to the story, as well as to lampoon the society and cultural norms of the 17th and 18th centuries. However, an element that was not thoroughly discussed was, what Voltaire’s motives could have been in using irony to communicate his ideas, criticisms, and philosophies. As Aaron motioned today, this could have been motivated by fear of potential repercussions from the aristocracy or religious leaders who dominated society in Voltaire’s day. Perhaps this assumption is correct. However, would someone as outspoken as Voltaire really feel the need to temper his protests with humor? Perhaps, the irony found in Candide was, rather, more motivated by Voltaire’s own unique sense of humor than his sense of self preservation and fear.

Candide's change in attitude

One of the most interesting things that I observed over the course of the novel is the way that Candide's attitude, especially with regards to Pangloss and his philosophy on life, change over the course of the novel. At the novel's beginning, Candide is skeptical of Pangloss's philosophy. Although he admires Pangloss greatly, he can't help but wonder how all the horrible events that happen could somehow all be for the greater good. However, as the novel progresses, Candide more or less adopts the philosophy of Pangloss and assures himself that everything will work out in the end. However, at the book's end, he realizes that all does not work out for the best necessarily. He is extremely dismayed with Cunegonde's sudden ugliness and the loss of his immense fortune. As Pangloss begins to philosophize in the last two pages, Candide appears to reach the realization that life is much too complex and inconsistent to develop a constant theory on it, as Pangloss has attempted to do. In response to Pangloss's lengthy philosophic speeches, Candide merely responds, "we must cultivate our garden." In stark contrast to his optimistic attitude during the novel, Candide has now realized that it is silly to waste time philosophizing about life or a higher order, because all that you can really control is your own simple, Earthly duties such as cultivating the garden.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I am seeing a continuous pattern in Candide's story. He always seems to find his way in to some kind of trouble or misfortune, then seems to always get his way out of it. He has put himself in several life threatening situations, and always seems to escape death. I also find it interesting in how close minded Candide seems to be. He seems to believe only one way of life, and that was is that of which Pangloss taught him. So far it is very interesting, and I am anxious to see if Candide's luck runs out.

Monday, January 14, 2008


To open up a different area of discussion, Wednesday's reading presented us with a new character, Martin, who appears to be the pessimistic equalizer to Candide's severe optimism. Candide asks Martin whether or not he believes, "that men have always massacred each other?" Martin responds with the rhetorical question asking Candide if he believed, "that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they could get them?" The point and area of debate that I think the author is attempting to push is whether we believe humans are innately good or are innately bad. Though the author has yet to reveal his point of view, it seems that Adams would lean towards humans being innately bad since he makes use of characters like Martin to point out all of the bad in everyone. However, the Christian religion that he is criticizing would agree that humans are innately bad, which is why they are in need of a higher being, God, to account for their sins. Perhaps the author is not totally out to disprove Christianity, but picks and chooses his points to refute.

Within Intellectual Backgrounds

Mike you made a good point in class earlier today. It is quite ironic that the sea that saves one, according to Anabaptist beliefs, is also the sea that takes his life.

The existential question, " -how can He be absolved of the charge of deliberate malice toward His creatures?" This thought not only confronts Christianity, but Candide and the torment that follows him through his journey.

In my opinion, Candide's ethnocentrism/ignorance is due to the Occasionalistic belief that Robert Adam critics about in his summary. Adam refers to God as a remote clock-maker, and humans serve only a pre-determined role in His operation. It is sad to think that all actions humans do were premeditated by an omnipotent God.
Makes me wonder, if true, if I actually know anything of my own..

Racism is underlined while the old woman tells her story of when she was held captive on a pirate ship and was raped by an "abominable negro". She then contrasts those of Morocco to Europeans and chastises those not of her own. When she is saved by a "white man", he is by her tainted view "rather attractive". This is evidence that racism fuels to the ethnocentristic view that the character holds.

Black vs. White, Evil vs. Good, Hell vs. Heaven, Satan vs. God. The correlation between the two are covert statements of race and religion within the text.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quite the satire...

Voltaire must have hated predestination and Calvinism. I found these first seven chapters to be a response to several different religions post-Protestant reformation. Voltaire definitely showed how absurd predestination and optimism were when the Anabaptist was swallowed by the sea, and he said that the sea was created for the Anabaptist to drown in...that is ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

All for an open mind

I agree with Joe. This will be very interesting. I just finished the reading of Candide for Friday and it is definitely interesting. Does it seem to anyone else that it is like coincidence or irony that in the end Pangloss' theory about "everything is for the best" is correct, yet in the middle it seems like complete rubbish?

An Open Window for Thoughts to Flood

This should be interesting...


Welcome! This is a website created for and by Wabash students who are reading non-Anglophone texts in their World Literature in Translation course. The themes of this course—political violence, ethnic cleansing, colonialism, exile, and freedom—are intertwined with each other, and they point to other issues tackled in the texts we’ll be reading this semester: neocolonialism, globalization, propaganda, gender inequality, hybridity, institutionally sanctioned violence, and terrorism. We will examine a variety of texts from all over the world to determine how people in non-Anglophone nations have defined freedom and what paths they have followed to achieve or maintain it. Is humanity trapped by powerful forces of nature, biology, and unpredictable political turns? How do we transcend laws and rules limiting our freedom? Why? Can we privilege one culture’s understanding of freedom over another? How do postcolonial authors define their identity and the identity of their nations after decades, sometimes centuries, of oppression? We will talk and write about personal freedom, freedom of nations, moral choices, human rights, class divisions, and other relevant themes.