WORLD LITERATURE II (ENG
UNIT 1: Activities for
Dr. Diane Thompson, NVCC, ELI
Select the Activity question you wish to respond to. Make a copy of
the question to begin your Activity. Post your response to the
Activity 2: Candide Forum. I will comment on your Activity on the Forum, and send your grade to you
privately, by email.
|Do you think this is "the best of all
possible worlds? Why or why not? Explain in some detail, and support your ideas by using
a number of specific examples from Candide as well as from your own experience.
|Look at the different kinds of gardens in
starting with Candide's original happy home in Germany, moving to the New World
(Eldorado), and then to the little group's final garden. What is the point of these
gardens? What is the role of work in each one? Is there anything better in life
than a good garden?
|Examine The Age of Enlightenment and The Enlightenment: by
Paul Brians. After looking through this material, discuss the
Enlightenment and the role of the Philosophes. Who were they? Where and when were they
active? What kind of activities did they engage in? What were they "enlightened"
about? Can you find positive (or negative) examples of
"enlightened" thinking in Candide? Give solid examples to support your main points.
|Do a WWW search, or use an encyclopedia to look
up the eighteenth century idea of "optimism." Read briefly about the "great
chain of being" and the concept of "plenitude," which are closely related
to this optimism. Explain these concepts briefly and then discuss why you think Voltaire
hated this "optimism" Be specific and use examples from
support your main ideas.
|Do a WWW search or use a book to look up and
explain the concept of Deism in the eighteenth century--what it is and how and
where it operates in Candide. Is God anywhere to be found in the story? If so,
where and how? Use specific examples to support your main ideas.
|Discuss ideas about politics and revolution in
Was Candide a political person? Was he an activist? Can you imagine Candide involved in a
revolution? Remember that a few years after this story was written (1759), the
American Revolution (1776) started a whole series of revolutions, which continued into the
next century and beyond.
|Discuss the role of slavery in
What was the status of slavery in 1759 (in Europe as well as in America)? Explain
why you think Candide behaved as he did in relation to the suffering slave. Be specific
and use examples to support your ideas.
|Do a WWW search or use a book to look up the
myth/concept of Eldorado. What was it, where was it, and what was the point? Now, look
closely at Eldorado in Candide. Is it a model of possible human happiness? How
does Eldorado affect the characters in the story? Why do they leave this happy
place? Be detailed and use specific examples to support your main points.
|Discuss the style of Candide and how it
adds to the force and wit of the story. Does this style help to distance us from the
characters? Does this style help us to read about terrible things and yet keep our minds
on the ideas, not the gore? Give some specific examples of the style as you see it, and
explain how it works on us as readers.
|Find a definition of satire
that you like, quote it, and then discuss how Candide fits the definition of a
satire. Is the satire in Candide revolutionary, or is it criticizing the world as
it is and will always be? Be thorough and specific and use examples from the text to
support your main points.
|Discuss the use of reason in
and Tartuffe. Is the "reason" the same or different in these two texts?
Which characters are reasonable? Are they the same as the people who use pure reason
(logic)? According to these two satires, just how much use is reason, anyway?
|Double Credit: First, read the selection from
Monkey in the textbook (Volume D, 8-70) or acquire a copy
of the Whaley translation of Monkey
(it is the one
volume version of the story and you should be able to get an inexpensive
paperback copy pretty easily online).
Monkey is a
marvelous Chinese novel about a
monk, Tripitaka and three strange creatures, Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy (a dragon), who
travel from China to India to acquire sacred Buddhist scriptures. Now, think of some
interesting way to compare this odd group's journey to the journey of Candide and his
little group. You will, of course, support your ideas with plenty of examples from both
stories. Write it up, making it substantial enough for double credit and if you do a good
job, this can be worth up to 100 points.