History

 

In Voltaire’s tale, Candide travels across the known world witnessing the horrific brutalities that humans commit against one another in the name of religion, power, or simple greed. Having witnessed and experienced this violence, which puts into doubt Candide’s belief that life has purpose and is primarily good, Candide comes to the conclusion that he and his friends must devote themselves to cultivating their garden. What does Voltaire mean by the phrase “cultivate our garden?” How effective of a response is it to the incredible violence and despair present throughout the rest of the book?

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