I remember being fascinated with Voltaire’s Candide when I was talking a philosophy class at the University of Utah. Think about adding the message of Candide to the words I was often told when growing up, “This red dirt gets in your blood, and you have to come back home.” Is there any question why this is Andrea and my third year to have a garden in back of Uncle Willis’ and Aunt Shirley’s (Grandma Nelson’s) house on the farm? The summary on the last page of the book says it all:
“I also know,” said Candide, “that we must cultivate our garden.”
“You’re right,” said Pangloss, “because when man was put in the Garden of Eden, he was put there ‘to dress it and to keep it,’ that is, to work; which proves that man was not born to be idle.”
“Let’s work without theorizing,” said Martin; “it’s the only way to make life bearable.”
The whole group entered into this commendable plan, and each began to exercise his own talents. The little farm yielded abundant crops. Cunegonde was very ugly, it is true, but she soon became an excellent pastry cook. Paquette embroidered, and the old woman took care of the linen. Everyone made himself useful, even Brother Giroflée: he was a good carpenter, and he even became an honest man.
Pangloss sometimes said to Candide, “All events are interconnected in this best of all possible worlds, for if you hadn’t been driven from a beautiful castle with hard kicks in the behind because of your love for Lady Cunegonde, if you hadn’t been seized by the Inquisition, if you hadn’t wandered over America on foot, if you hadn’t thrust your sword through the baron, and if you hadn’t lost all your sheep from the land of Eldorado, you wouldn’t be here eating candied citrons and pistachio nuts.”
“Well said,” replied Candide, “but we must cultivate our garden.”
Candide by Voltaire, Bantam Books, 1988, page 120.
It was very easy to come up with a personalized version of this summary.
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