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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
Candide is a novella. It is shorter than a regular novel. Though it is longer than a short story, some critics prefer to categorize it as a ‘Conte’ or a short story. Voltaire preferred writing short stories rather than follow the rigid literary rules of the classical tragedy or the epic poetry.
Voltaire was against the norms and ideas in the society of his time. He has exposed his rebellious thoughts through the veil of humor and imagination. There is a realistic message in the novel that remains lurking in the reader’s mind long after he or she has finished reading it. The novel is skillfully constructed.
Candide the hero is often personally involved in incidents. From total innocence he moves into the world of experience and maturity. Voltaire has carefully planned his journey throughout the novella. Candide initially moves Westwards in search of a New World. However, he finds that it is as bad as the old. He reaches Eldorado, which is like a paradise on earth. He soon goes away in search of Cunégonde. He moves eastwards till he finally reaches his goal. Finally, he decides to live on his farm and make his life reasonably happy through hardwork, honesty, and practicality.
Candide’s emotional development lends shape to the novel. In the beginning of the novel he is a terrified and helpless young man. He gradually develops courage and independence. He finally refuses to succumb to the threat of the Baron’s son. He politely but firmly disagrees with Pangloss. The highly sensitive Candide is able to take control of his emotions towards the end of the novel. He becomes much calmer and settles down to work.
The exposition of this novella begins in Chapter 1. The reader is introduced to the Baron and his family, Candide and Pangloss. At the end of the chapter Candide is thrown out of the castle by being kicked. He thus enters a world of harshness and goes through many adventures throughout the novella. The climax of the novella is reached in Chapter 29, when he finally finds Cunégonde and is not separated from her. By now she has become extremely ugly. Yet he is determined to do his duty. He does not reject her.
The outcome of the novel is seen in Chapter 30, which is the last chapter of the novel. Realization of reality dawns on the characters present in the last chapter. They realize that life cannot be all-pleasant. The world is not a Garden of Eden. Yet people can be reasonably happy by taking responsibility and working hard. Thus they work nicely and take responsibility on Candide’s farm. These people are influenced by the Dervish’s teaching who tells them that work drives away three great evils-boredom, vice, and poverty. So far as the reader is concerned, the outcome of reading this novella is this wonderful message given by Voltaire through the teaching of the Dervish.