This essay The Grin That Apes A Smile has a total of 526 words and 2 pages.
The Grin that Apes a Smile
"Optimism, n. The doctrine, or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly,
everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by
those accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with the
grin that apes a smile. It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious," writes Ambrose Bierce in The
Devil's Dictionary. Optimism is more traditionally known as the belief that everything will get better, and
that all things are for the best. Unfortunately for the characters of Candide, nothing ever works out for the
best, despite the great optimism they exhibit. As a result, they become sophisticated enough to accept
things as they are. Optimism cannot survive in the real world.
The impracticality of optimism is exhibited in many different characters and events throughout the
book. To begin with, Voltaire makes constant sardonic references to the phrase "all is for the best,"
throughout the narrative. In just four pages, he is able to use this phrase four times when describing the
horrible events that happen to Candide. Also, the idea of optimism is shown to be unrealistic when the Old
Woman states that everyone thinks they have the worst life in the world. This makes the point that one
cannot be optimistic when there is so much suffering going on around them. Additionally, optimism is
proven to be illogical when Candide is finally able to marry his love, Cunegonde, after spending much time
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