Chapter 30 Notes from Candide

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Candide Chapter 30


The Baron's son's opposition to the marriage, along with Cunégonde's coaxing, makes Candide determined to follow through with the marriage, but he does not really want to marry Cunégonde. Candide returns the Baron's son to the galley ship. It was an enjoyable task, considering the Baron's son was such a snob and a Jesuit.

Life is not happy on Candide's small farm. Both Cunégonde and the old woman are ugly and unpleasant. Cacambo is unhappy and overworked, and Pangloss vainly pines for a professorship in a German university. Martin accepts his lot, observing that people are uncomfortable whatever their circumstances.

Candide, Pangloss, and Martin argue about philosophy and morality while they watch streams of political and religious exiles being carted over the seas. Otherwise, Candide and his friends are bored. The old woman points out that boredom is just as bad as being unfortunate.

"'I should like to know which is worse, to be raped a hundred times by Negro pirates, to have a buttock cut off, to run the gauntlet among the Bulgarians, to be whipped and flogged in an auto-da-fé, to be dissected, to row in a galley, in short, to endure all the miseries through which we have passed, or to remain here doing nothing?'" Chapter 30, pg. 145

Pangloss admits he was miserable all of his life and that he never believed in optimism.

Paquette and Friar Giroflée arrive. Martin predicted correctly that they would be more miserable with Candide's money. This inspires more philosophizing. The group consults Turkey's best philosopher, a Dervish, about the problem of evil and the nature of life. The Dervish's answer implies that God does not concern himself with human affairs. The Dervish compares humans to rats on a ship, and he says that there is no reasonable explanation for existence of evil or the nature of life.

"'What does it matter,' said the Dervish, 'whether there is evil or good? When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he worry about the comfort or discomfort of the rats in the ship?'" Chapter 30, pg. 146

The Dervish tells Pangloss he should conduct his life by holding his tongue. Pangloss is indignant. The Dervish rudely closes the door.

Returning to the farm, Pangloss, Martin and Candide learn that several high-ranking religious officials were strangled and impaled. They ask a farmer if he heard the news. The farmer prides himself on his ignorance of public affairs, saying that he is best off working and selling what he cultivates in his garden.

"'[W]ork keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.'" Chapter 30, pg. 147

Candide thinks about what the farmer says. After the farmer's children serve them wonderful refreshments, the group returns to the farm. Candide thinks the farmer is better off than the six dethroned kings he met in Venice. Pangloss responds to Candide's musings by expounding upon one of his theories, but Candide cuts him off. Candide announces that they should cultivate their gardens. Pangloss acquiesces and starts talking about the Garden of Eden. This time Martin interrupts him, saying that working was better than philosophical theorizing.

"'Let us work without theorizing,' said Martin; ''tis the only way to make life endurable.'" Chapter 30, pg. 148

The group follows this sound advice. Cunégonde becomes a pastry-cook, Paquette embroiders, the old woman washes the linens, and Friar Giroflée learns carpentry.

Pangloss gives optimism one last plug, telling Candide that, absent all the misfortunes he endured, Candide would not be enjoying his farm and eating nuts and candy. Candide agrees, but he tells Pangloss again that one must cultivate one's garden.

Topic Tracking: Flawed Logic 14
Topic Tracking: Hypocrisy 16
Topic Tracking: Optimism 18

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