ENL 121: Introduction to Literature 
(Dr. Vavra)
Pennsylvania College of Technology

Voltaire's Candide, or Optimism
[See also the Voltaire Bibliography.]

Assignments are to the Norton Critical Edition, 2nd edition, 1991.

Assignment One:

    Robert M. Adams, "Summary: The Intellectual Backgrounds" 79 -84.
      Read these five pages slowly. In writing:
      1. What is the central question with which Candide is concerned?
      2. Of the eleven classical approaches to this question that Adams summarizes, in  short paragraph summarize in your own words the one that you best understand.
      3. Which of the eleven do you least understand?
      4. With which of the eleven do you most agree? Why?
    Chapters 1 - 10, pp. 1-19
      1. What is the tone of Chapter One?
      2. How does Dr. Pangloss give a maid a lesson in experimental physics?
Assignment Two:
    Chapters 11 - 22, pp. 19 - 54
      In writing:
      1. What does the Old Woman's Story (Chapters 11 & 12) add to the novella?
      2. In 50-75 words, describe the most important features of Eldorado.
      3. Why do Candide and Cacambo leave Eldorado?
      4. What do the chapters on Eldorado add to the novella?
Assignment Three:
    Chapters 23 - 30, pp. 55 - 75.
      In writing:
      1. What does chapter 25 (on Pococurante) add to the novella?
      2. What does chapter 26 add to the novella?
      3. What do Paquette and Brother Giroflee add to the novella?
      4. Why, in chapter 30, does the dervish mention mice?
      5. What is the theme of the novel? Why?

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