what did candide mean when he said "let us cultivate our garden"?  

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The entire plot of Candide follows Candide as he searches the world over for confirmation of Dr. Pangloss's teaching of ultimate and all-inclusive optimism in every situation. Candide's experiences lead him to eventually renounce the optimistic attitude that "this is the best of all possible worlds," but he still continues to search for the place and situation that makes sense of the experiences he encounters.

After incredible adventures and surviving situations of extreme danger to himself and his companions, Candide eventually finds himself and the people who have become important in his life (for various reasons) together on a farm - not a very glamorous setting after all he has seen and experienced. However, Candide comes to understand that the activities necessary to sustain life on the farm provide for a safe, constructive and sustainable lifestyle - which is a good reason for the group to decide to "cultivate our garden" in what is, if not the best of all possible worlds, at least  acceptable.