are perfectly right, said Pangloss; for when man was put into the
garden of Eden, he was put there ut operaretur eum, so that he should
work it; this proves that man was not born to take his ease. —Let’s
work without speculating, said Martin; it’s the only way of rendering
life bearable. The whole little group entered into this laudable
scheme; each one began to exercise his talents. The little plot
yielded fine crops . . . and Pangloss sometimes used to say to Candide: —All
events are linked together in the best of possible worlds; for,
after all, if you had not been driven from a fine castle by being
kicked in the backside for love of Miss Cunégonde, if you hadn’t
been sent before the Inquisition, if you hadn’t traveled across
America on foot, if you hadn’t given a good sword thrust to the
baron, if you hadn’t lost all your sheep from the good land of Eldorado,
you wouldn’t be sitting here eating candied citron and pistachios.
is very well put, said Candide, but we must go and work our garden.
This is the final passage of the novel.
The cure for the crushing boredom described in the previous quotation
has been found in the hard work of gardening. As Pangloss points
out, this cure recalls the state of mankind in the garden of Eden,
where man was master of all things. On their small plot of land
in Turkey, these characters seem to have a control over their destinies
that they could not achieve in their lives up until this point.
Instead of living at the mercy of circumstances, they are—literally—reaping
what they sow. It is, of course, surprising that this fictional
argument against optimism should be presented as a happy ending.
Given this ending, the reader might for the first time be inclined
to wonder whether Pangloss is right in claiming to live in “the
best of possible worlds.” But that claim and all arguments against
it are proscribed by the lifestyle the characters have discovered.
As Candide implies in his final line, gardening leaves no time for
philosophical speculation, and everyone is happier and more productive
as a result.