Posted at 10.04.2018
Voltaire's work, Candide, uses powerful satirical narrative to represent slavery in the eighteenth century, the meant Get older of Reason, and Candide's epiphany, displayed throughout the span of the draw out. The passage follows the journeys of Candide and his fellows to Buenos-Aires, in search of his beloved Cunegonde. After five days and nights of travelling, he occurs, with Cacambo, beyond your town of Surinam, where they come across a mutilated slave.
The theme of slavery is displayed most effectively through the information given by the characters, rather than the physical description of the picture provided by the narrator. A slave or 'nЁgre' is found on the floor. His physical position, 'etendu par terre', reflects his social school and the degradation of slaves. The slave's garment, 'un caleon de toile bleue', is scarcely weather-proof or durable, highlighting the poverty endured by slaves and the ruthless frame of mind of their experts. Voltaire withholds the name of the slave, emphasising the disregard for individual life implied within society. 'NЁgre' can be used to represent the complete slave human population. This pejorative term further shows society's attitude. However, it's important to note that Candide first message or calls him 'mon ami', indicating his open aspect, perhaps a reflection of Voltaire's view of slavery.
Whilst the masters of slaves are extremely disrespectful of these slaves, the 'nЁgre' calls his keeper 'matre', displaying a profound esteem. To add to master's grandeur, the slave recalls his position in modern culture, qualifying it with the adjective 'fameux'. Within this paragraph, the depiction of slavery is brutal, with the tragedies of the work place and punishment discussed with a banal approval. The terminology used when the slave details how 'la meule nous attrape le doigt, on nous coupe la main; quand nous voulons nous enfuir, on nous coupe la jambe' gives a feeling of breathlessness and the futility of his attempt to escape. This explanation of enduring 'draws accurately on legislation regarding delinquent slaves set out in in the 1685 Code Noir'. The explanation also draws a parallel between the relationship between the slave and his expert. Voltaire's use of 'restrictive adverbials', such as 'neque' show the physical ramifications of cruelty on the slave. The terminology used by the slave is resigned, with a recurring use of passive set ups such as 'on nous'. The slave then coldly says, 'c'est ce prix que vous mangez du sucre en Europe'. This simple affirmation highlights the corruption, not only in slavery, however in all degrees of society.
Leibniz's philosophy of Optimism is apparent in the representation of slavery. The slave's resigned consideration shows an approval of life distributed to those who follow the notion of Optimism. Leibniz claimed that both individuals and moral evils were part of a greater good. This is further emphasised by the certification of slavery by the mother of the slave as 'un honneur'. The slave gives a good 'cependant'; this immediate element of bathos reinforces Pangloss' 'meilleur des mondes' lifestyle. This positive view, personified through Pangloss, contrasts greatly with Candide's viewpoints after witnessing the problem. The absurdity of Optimism, with reference to the slave-trade, is shown when Cacambo asks, 'Qu'est-ce que qu'optimisme?' Cacambo has not used an article before optimism, emphasising how little he cares for this. With regards to the novel all together, Optimism is only mentioned directly in this passage. As soon as it is stated, it is denounced. Further to the slaves consideration, he compares his situation recover of 'des chiens, des singes et des perroquets'. The pets might possibly symbolize the different sociable classes within population.
The passage emphasises how slavery was represented in monetary terms; the slave was sold by his mother for ten 'ecus patagons', the currency of Spain at the time. Additionally, throughout the slave's bank account of how he came to be in this position, it appears that slavery was symbolized in a different way in the Western world from the homelands of the slaves. The 'nЁgre' recalls how his mom told him 'ils te feront vivre heureux', talking about it as an honour to benefit 'nos seigneurs, les blancs'. It really is interesting that the masters are classed as 'les Blancs'. Voltaire divides culture not only by public category, but also by competition. It really is clear that the people of Guinee were disillusioned by the idea of slavery.
The dilemma is further emphasised by the spiritual theme central to the passing. The lexical field of faith emphasises the spiritual values of the slaves, a central theme in their African culture. Evidently, the slave is religious, as he attends cathedral 'tous les dimanches'. However, Voltaire features, yet again, the corruption within modern culture by rendering it clear to the audience that the slave had been modified. The Pasteur promises that they are 'tous enfants d'Adam, blancs et noirs'. This contradicts his early assertion of the experts being 'les blancs'. Like his clothes and culture, his religious personal information has been stripped from him. Here, Voltaire is criticising the public system of the time. It is clear that the slaves are educated what they know not to be true, yet they recognize it as it's the way of the world in which they live.
Despite Voltaire's thought-provoking depiction of slavery in the passing, it is interesting to look critically at Candide's frame of mind to the situation. When he first encounters the slave on the highway, he addresses him in an agreeable manner, symbolising his naivety and lack of understanding. Voltaire's portrayal of Candide's naivety is referenced even in his name. Candide is taken from Latin and connotes 'whiteness, openness, naivety, innocence and, more adversely, inexperience and credulity'. The passive terminology of the slave throughout his explanation of his horrific ordeal is a primary juxtaposition with the organic emotion portrayed through Candide's reaction.
The imperfections in Pangloss's optimism are obviously highlighted, especially during Candide's discourse. W. H Barber suggest that the heroes 'help Voltaire in his reason for parodying the episodic excursion novel [making it possible for the audience] to see heroes and narrative as it were externally, and therefore critically to be alert to the caricature and exaggeration, the deliberate implausibilities, the bathetic contrasts'. Despite Candide's denouncing of perception, he does indeed little else to react to the situation. Candide merely commences to cry, giving the slave where he found him. The audience criticises Candide for not assisting to free the slave from his bind in world. Voltaire is provoking this response in the reader to explain the consequences of passivity. He also 'seems to respect the condition as so large and horrifying that  one can only weep and continue one's way, or presumably, continue to eat sweets with a guilty conscience. '
Throughout this passing, irony plays very little part. However, other narrative techniques are used. Personal deixis is utilized when Candide is speaking with the slave. He asks, 'que fais-tu l , mon ami, dans l'etat unpleasant o№ je te vois?'Here it is impossible for the reader to understand the situation and the horrible declare that the slave is within without reading into the context of the question.
The theme of culture can be carefully analyzed in this passage. Conversing 'en hollandais', Candide emphasises his Western european background weighed against the African culture of the slave. Division within contemporary society is plainly illustrated when the slave tells Candide that his mutilation is the purchase price that he has paid to consume sugar 'en Europe'. Voltaire demonstrates that the world is divided. Interestingly, the slave knows Candide's Dutch, highlighting their cultural awareness, the importance of communication and the enforcement of other civilizations after slaves. The cultural toleration of the slaves is juxtaposed with the attitude of Western civilisation. African culture appears to be more family-oriented in comparison to Candide's upbringing. The slave refers to his mom, 'ma mere', exhibiting his admiration for the advice given to him by his family.
Throughout this passage of Voltaire's Candide, slavery is represented in several ways, especially by the description provided by the slave himself. Furthermore, Candide's attitude highlights the idea of Optimism that Voltaire aspires to go over throughout the complete book. It is stated that 'the narrative of Candide is [. . ] a vehicle carefully designed to convey a philosophical conversation of topical concern both to the author and audience'. To conclude, Voltaire has applied a palette of narrative techniques to enrich this passage of the publication.
Word Count= 1, 490
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