Two Classic Novels - "Candide" and "The Great Gatsby"

Candide has been brought up in the home of a powerful Baron, given a life of privilege and learning under his wonderful tutor Pangloss.  But when it is discovered that he loves the Baron's daughter, he is removed from the household and forced to make his way in the world on his own.  He sets off on a journey that takes him around the world - through Europe, South America, and Asia - as a series of disastrous events befall him and his travelling companions.  Through all this, the optimism his tutor instilled him is put to the test.

I’ll admit, I chose Voltaire’s Candide because of it’s length.  When I think Classics, I think long books.  But this one comes in just under 100 pages.  And as I neared that mark I found myself wishing it would go on longer.  Who would have thought you could enjoy reading about misfortune!  Whether you are reading this book because you want the satire and the parody of optimism, or you just want to enjoy the adventure, Candide is an excellent choice of a Classic read.

Jay Gatsby is a self-made millionaire.  Starting out as an impoverished officer, when he returns from serving overseas he devotes himself to reclaiming the love of legendary beauty Daisy, who married the extremely rich Tom Buchanan while he was gone.  In doing this, he also devotes himself to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means necessary.  And so he throws lavish parties at his mansion, waiting for his opportunity to steal Daisy away.  But just as he grabs hold of what he’s been pursuing, it all comes crashing down.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those books that I’ve heard so much about but never actually knew what it was about.  Trailers for the recent movie version let me know that it was about a very rich man who threw very popular parties.  I’m glad I’ve read the book now.  I love the theme of illusion, characters like Gatsby who present themselves as one thing though you know something else lies beneath fascinate me both in books and in real life.   I must admit, this one took me by surprise. 


  1. I'm glad you liked Gatsby! I re-read it not long ago and I liked it even more this time around.

    I've never read Candide. I love that it's short...there's almost no excuse for my not having read it though ;)


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