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Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Based on the evidence in Candide, what does Voltaire know about the world's climate and geography? Are these physical facts related to human customs? Do the best locations and climates contain the best societies? How do humans interact with the natural world in Candide?

Although he is exaggerating human customs, what does the satire reveal about Voltaire's awareness of other cultures? Or, what does Voltaire think about the New World—both its indigenous populations and its colonizers?

Voltaire's grasp of scientific knowledge is far above the average person's of the time. Based on the book, surmise the extent of the knowledge of the day of anatomy, physics, and chemistry.

Voltaire subtly attacks the theory of progress. What is that theory, and do we still believe in it? Is it a good belief?

Why is satire such an effective method of critique? As critiques, why are satires so often categorized as children's books? In the late twentieth century, why is animation the most appropriate medium for satire?

Doing a little research into Voltaire's hopes for humans, what do you think would most excite or surprise him if he were alive today? What would depress him?