Don’t Tell Me, Show Me
Let’s face it. There are some amazing books out there, but in my opinion, an awesome book consists of great imagery. If an author can draw me in with language that is explicit and can stimulate my senses, it’s worth the read. I love it when an author can show me rather than just telling me. During the semester, the class was asked to read the work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground and Voltaire’s Candide. Both literary works are written to entertain and draw the audience in. They also give the audience a good sense of visual imagery throughout their stories. In this paper, I will discuss some of the examples of visual imagery I’ve came across while reading. I will also discuss how they exemplify each author’s writing genres as well as compare their views on the human condition. Now let’s start off with a brief overview of both Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground and Voltaire’s Candide.
Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground is an interesting story of subjective human experience rather than objective truths. It tells of a spiteful and isolate man, known as the Underground Man. He is a nihilist, believing in absolutely nothing, but only what is truth to him. He has no desire to interact with others, totally dislikes society and everyone who is in it. In Part I, he explains his personality and gives his reason for living underground. In Part II, he depicts some significant events in his life. We see how the Underground Man’s unable to interact with other people and his effort to form relationships and involve himself in life end in failure, and he isolates himself deeper underground. You start to get a sense of how his way of thinking in Part I has influenced his actions in Part II. By the end of the book, he is a disturbed, spiteful, and alienated antihero.
The Parents of two children decide to shut off the automated nursery, against the childrens wishes. When the nursery is shut off, and the children go into a fit of rage, they are allowed to play in there one last time only to lock their parents in so the loins can eat the them. The parents of Wendy and Peter. They are concerned about the childrens dependability on the automated house, especially ...
Voltaire’s Candide is a story based around philosophy. Candide is the main character. He is naïve and idealistic to a tremendous degree. Innocently, he blindly accepts Pangloss’ overly optimistic view of the world as a young man, and continues to adhere to it through a wide variety of adversity. Candide is very reliant and needs others ideas to think for himself. He doesn’t completely abandon Pangloss’s philosophy until he takes on another one – such as the farmer’s belief in work as a cure-all or Martin’s pessimistic view on life. Rather than relying on one particular philosophy, Candide uses outside attitudes and viewpoints as a crutch to avoid thinking for himself. Throughout the novel, Candide surrounds himself with quick thinking, but narrow-minded individuals. Yet he is some how able to survive to the end of the book. On the other hand, in spite of his weaknesses, Candide is courageously moral and kind. Unfortunately, his gullibility leads him to expect honesty and generosity in a world that visibly lacks both. Although his ridiculous nature is funny, you can’t help but to find it also endearing. You have to sympathize for Candide. Voltaire uses Candide to symbolize innocence and blind faith.
One example of visual imagery I came across in Notes From Underground was the Crystal Palace. The crystal palace is the model utopian society that humans will be able to pull off once it has exposed all of the laws of nature. The Underground Man first brings up the notion of the Crystal Palace in Part I, when he’s speaks about how terrible things will be if we figured out all the rules of nature. He feels that humanity will lose its free will. He says this is the moment, that the Crystal Palace will finally be made.
The Underground Man discusses the dangers of instituting an ideal world. He thinks once we do, we’ll never settle for anything less. This is a fraction of the danger humanity will face because we want or anticipate a Crystal Palace for the perfect world. Humanity would eternity being disappointed if we never acquire it. Secondly, The Underground Man knows that “in the Crystal Palace, suffering is impossible.” Time after time, he’s stated that suffering is man’s best friend. We tend to enjoy suffering – Causing pain is our evidence that we have free will and aren’t obliged to the rational laws of nature. To live in a Crystal Palace would mean letting go of suffering, which would mean abandoning free will. And thirdly, especially, the Underground Man rejects the idea that he can’t “stick his tongue out” at the Crystal Palace. This is highly difficult for a man who makes it his life’s effort to mock everything. By this he means that the blind, solid faith in motive the Crystal Palace represents ignores the importance of uniqueness and personal choice. However, the Underground Man seems to feel this way only about the crystal palace as pictured by utopian thinkers, describing their palace as a “chicken coop” posing as a crystal palace. If a crystal palace does exist, it would observe truth and harmony without decreasing the complications of human nature to confining mathematical laws such as 2×2=4, but the Underground Man cannot imagine its existence.
A drowned man is anything but handsome. In the film “Castaway” made in the year 2000, the main character played by Tom Hanks pulls a drowned man who was his pilot from the sea. He is bloated and his skin is green. He is definitely not a handsome man. Why then would Gabriel Garcia Marquez write a story about a handsome drowned man? Marquez writes a magical story of a man from a faraway land washing ...
In Candide, El Dorado is one of the examples of visual imagery. El Dorado is an embodiment of Voltaire’s visions of a perfect world for the imagination. Candide settles on that it is the “best of all possible worlds” which Pangloss has instilled in him to believe. El Dorado is a place of equality, free from greed and does not endure religious contention or social inequality. Therefore, Candide is optimistic that human beings are able to create a just, peaceful society. At the same time, the kingdom is almost impossible to get to by outsiders, and that is the only way it can remain perfect. Thus, a good society is achievable only if it excludes a vast majority of humanity. Furthermore, the treasures of Eldorado stimulate common greed in Candide, who has displayed little desire for money prior to entering the kingdom. Rather than remain in Eldorado, where the jewels are of no value, Candide decides to return to the imperfect outside world. For him, the idea of being wealthy in an imperfect society is preferable to the idea of being a common man in a perfect society. Voltaire’s portrait of El Dorado is not pessimistic; rather, he uses El Dorado to convey a pessimistic portrait of human nature.
... done to improve the living conditions and to relieve the human plight depicted. Candide: The Pupil of Optimism Voltaire reflects the rejection of Optimism ... believed that there existed a supernatural being who created and controlled the world. He further espoused that this being was perfect ... by Leibniz that God could have imagined and created all kinds of worlds. But being a just and gracious God, he ...
Now we have reached our first question, “How do these examples exemplify the authors’ writing genres?” Let’s take a look, shall we? Dostoyevsky’s writes in an existentialist point of view. This can explain why the Underground Man doesn’t think that a utopian world could successfully exist. The existentialists’ believes that no matter what you do, nothing will change. Voltaire’s writing genre is a satirical parody. He satirized the folly of optimism. He takes shots at faith and the church, but he really questions the philosophies and how reliable they are to person’s life. He uses the character of Pangloss to satirize the philosophy of Leibniz.
Both author’s have views on the human condition. Dostoyevsky’s view on the human condition was this. In Notes From Underground, the Underground Man has an existential nature. Dostoevsky thought the human condition was creating, not what humanity should become. Voltaire, Voltaire believes human condition is impossible because governments are so vicious and organized religion is so corrupt that they ruin the lives of millions through war and exploitation. Candide asks whether it is worse to be beaten, starved, have a buttocks cut off, walk a gauntlet, live through murders, earthquakes and have your goods stolen or, on the other hand, to live a dull life.
Voltaire’s views were shaped by some of his experiences. But his satire of the philosophy of Optimism is because he was furious that Leibniz and other enlightenment could claim that the apparent senseless violence and mayhem created by disasters, war, disease, man’s evilness, etc. was actually only a part of the ‘best of all possible’ universes. He could not agree that the existence of any evil in the world was a sign that God was not entirely good or very powerful. Here is where humanities and Christianity really start messing with each other in all kinds of obvious ways. To Voltaire, God is perfect if you if you believe that God exists. Therefore, his creation, the world, and man must also be perfect. According to many enlightenment philosophers, people perceived imperfections of the world only because they do not get the plan. This is a teleological idea of the world. Now obviously Voltaire does not accept this theory, or that God or any god has to exist. Therefore, he makes fun of the idea that the world is completely good. Much of the novel is a satire addressed to optimists who witness countless horrors and unbelievable injustices, will always find a way to make sense of it. They will say, “This must be part of a plan.” Everything happens for a reason.” Pangloss, the philosopher of story, is always trying to find some explanation for the terrible things that he witnesses. The arguments that he makes seem to be more meaningless. For instance, Pangloss states “Syphilis needed to be transmitted from the new world to Europe so that Europeans could taste new world delicacies.” Voltaire would view that as extremely ridiculous.
"The unexamined life is not worth living""Know thyself " The great philosopher Socrates stated these ideas and made it his duty to fulfill his own reasoning. He knew that as human beings, we are a complex system of nature's product that is still very enigmatic to our selves. Thus in order to fully comprehend one self as an individual, one must look inward and seek the cause and function of one's ...
He criticizes the whole hypocrisy of religion. In the book, there is a parade of corrupt hypocritical religious leaders who are like the Pope that has a daughter. Wait! Isn’t the Pope supposed to practice celibacy? This is an example of some of the humor within the book. How is it, a Franciscan monk who should have vowed a life of poverty is a jewel thief? Here Voltaire provides numerous examples of the immorality and hypocrisy of religious leaders. He does not really condemn believers per say, but he actually wants to attack church leadership and hierarchy. For example Jacques, who is an Anabaptist is arguably one of the most generous and humane characters. But drowns trying to save someone’s life
Voltaire also criticized wealth. Money can cause corruption. It seems that the more money Candide obtain, the more problems he had. Things get worse and he becomes unhappy. For Example, watching his money slip into the hands of deceitful merchants. This tests his optimism in a way that no amount of beating could. In fact, Candide’s optimism reaches the bottom of the barrel, after being cheated by the Vanderdendur. At this point, Martin becomes his travelling companion. As Candide becomes wealthy, the more miserable he becomes. Although being poor and powerless is awful, it is clear that wealth creates at least as many problems as it solves.
Voltaire's Candide is a novel which contains conceptual ideas and at thesame time is also exaggerated. Voltaire offers sad themes disguised byjokes and witticism, and the story itself presents a distinctive outlookon life. The crucial contrast in the story deals with irrational ideasas taught to Candide about being optimistic, versus reality as viewed bythe rest of the world. The main theme which ...
In conclusion, I hope my examples of imagery gave you a gist of the ideas behind both literary work, Both Dostoyevsky and Voltaire express their concerns for the human condition within the books Notes from the Underground and Candide. Both try to use to draw the audience with stories that are entertaining as well as question the belief of the human condition. What ever you decide is your truth, remember to question everything. One shouldn’t believe everything that is said or created by society. Instead, try to discover what is true for you.