Candide and Great Expectations: Comparing Candide and Pip


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Candide, by Voltaire, and Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, are two novels written in different periods of time and by authors with different backgrounds. Their main characters are consequently not identical to each other. The fundamental difference between Candide and Pip as characters is that Candide shows us only his outer countenance while Pip lets us know the deepest of his feelings.
Candide is one of those "follow the leader" type characters, that doesn't do much thinking for himself. Most of Candide's opinions and actions match those of his philosophy teacher Pangloss. Pangloss firmly believes that he lives in the best of the worlds and that everything that happens is for the best and Candide has learned to apply this believe to all the events he goes through. Candide relies so much on Pangloss and other characters that the reader is not able to figure out Candide's inner thoughts nor his true personality.
Pip, on the other hand, shows an internal struggle whenever he has to make a decision. Pip also has an image of a father imposed on other male characters throughout the progress of his life: first his brother-in-law Joe, later the lawyer Mr. Jaggers, and finally his secret benefactor Magwitch. But the relative importance that each of them hold on Pip's opinions is rather little compared to the effect of Pangloss' word upon Candide. Pip is always open to suggestions coming from any of the individuals around him, and he really cares about the judgement of any of these, but he is always left with freedom when concerning an ultimate decision.
Candide and Great Expectations have much dissimilarity by themselves. Candide is narrated in third person by an omniscient voice, but Great Expectations' narrator is Pip as an adult: the story is told in first person retrospective.

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The pace at which each of these novels develop is also important in the formation of characters. In Candide the pace at which different events happen is very rapid: Candide travels from one country to another in a couple of pages. In Great Expectations, however, the author provides with every single detail of all episodes. It is shown that different types of characters show us the different types of novels that they play a role in.



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