Theme Of Laughter In Candide

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Thoughtful Laughter For centuries satirical novels have inspired audiences by using wit and humor to ignite thoughtful laughter. This thoughtful laughter implements comical sarcasm to highlight prominent issues in society. Voltaire’s Candide and Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens both use satirical techniques such as tone, irony, litotes, hyperboles, and, parodies to criticize stereotypes, greed, and corruption. Both novels are centered on their main characters plight, with Candide’s dangerous adventures and the beauty contestants ‘struggle for survival. However, the tones of the novels contradict the setting as the tones are playful and bubbly. In Candide, Candide blindly admires a philosopher, Pangloss. Throughout the novel Pangloss insist…show more content…
In Candide, irony occurs as the clergy, the Inquisitor, executes citizens for opposing philosophical views. "Moral" and trusted religious leaders engage in sinful acts with mistresses, thieves, and homosexual activities. In addition, The Pope, a renowned religious leader, has a daughter despite his religious vows of celibacy. Voltaire uses this irony to ridicule the hypocrisy and corruption he viewed in the church. Bray's also uses irony in which Taylor added a superficial statement during prayer for safety. “And we pray that…and can tell our story to People magazine. Amen.” Ending the prayer with a statement about their possible story in a magazine exemplifies their shallow concerns for fame and popularity rather than having concerns for survival. Bray uses this irony to mock the media’s exploitation of rescue stories while also ridiculing the shallowness associated with beauty queens. In addition, Bray uses situational irony when Tiara states “I am going to be so super skinny by pageant time” (11) in response to the notion that they might not have food. Tiara being content without food simply for the sake of being “super skinny” illustrates how women, especially in beauty pageants, are brain washed into believing that they have to be skinny to be beautiful or wanted. Bray criticizes the stereotype of beauty and weight placed on women and young…show more content…
Voltaire mocks “coming of age” novels which were popular during his time. Instead of the main character experiencing efficient and necessary experiences, Candide faced horrific situations and circumstances. Furthermore, Beauty Queens is a parody of novels centered on survival of the fittest, usually with men as the characters. Mary Lou said, “I’ve been thinking about that book about the boys who crash on an island” (303). “Lord of the Flies?” responded Adina (303). Instead of the beauty contestants focusing on how to survive on the island, they practice for their pageant , however , they are soon hit with the reality of their plight and begin to evolve into strong survivors. Even though Candide and Beauty Queens were written almost three centuries apart, both novels implement similar rhetorical devices such as tone, irony, litotes, hyperboles, and parodies to covey thoughtful laughter. This thoughtful laughter welcomes the reader to a laugh while also rendering them to question social issues such as exploitation, stereotypes, and
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