Voltaire's Candide versus Gronniosaw's A Narrative

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Although Voltaire and Gronniosaw are similar in that their quest for enlightenment and individuality, they are also very different. Candide is a philosophical satirical novel that ingeniously shakes the misinterpretation of doctrinal optimism. Whilst A Narrative of the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw written by himself, (For the purpose of this essay described as, ‘A Narrative.’) is an autobiographical, spiritual account of Gronniosaw’s travels. This essay will look at the narrative techniques, and the distinctive features, of the language used in both extracts. Compare and contrast the context of each texts, philosophy and religion, and ask, ‘would a rational and well regulate world include human suffering, and divine providence, and would moral choices alter the pattern of our lives?
Voltaire satirizes the philosophy of optimism using juxtaposition, and irony through the speeches of his mentor, Pangloss. The perspective of the novel Candide is third person omniscient, which is a wide-ranging and authoritative, and allows the writer the voice to enter the consciousness of any character, to be aware of their actions, and how each character thinks and feels. This point of view gave Voltaire the ability to switch viewpoints, with clarity and effectively use satire, irony, wit, and humour to shape the narrative. These techniques were vital in lightening the tone of the story, particularly as some of the scenes exposed tales of extreme depravity, and cruelty. It also gave Voltaire the opportunity to voice his personal point of view on certain subjects, such as philosophy, and religion, and to denounce the views of eminent enlightenment theorists of the period notably, Pope and Leibniz. Candide is an episodic novel, and is sim...

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..., and live in a world where villains prosper whilst good people suffer. Whereas Gronniosaw believes that, ‘God is perfect by definition, and therefore can do no wrong. Gronniosaw is truly optimistic and believes that his God will save him as he chooses to be good. ‘At length GOD heard my prayers and raised me a friend indeed.’ ( pp.280-1)
To conclude, we note that both Voltaire’s Candide and Gronniosaw’s A Narrative, are individual searches for true happiness and acceptance of Life’s disappointments, and how they are eventually reached through different perspectives, albeit philosophical and spiritually. We see through both narratives and through history that we must experience life before we can begin to understand and accept life’s destiny, and through choices albeit good or evil, we must accept whatever destiny that choice brings and deal with the consequences.

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