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Candide Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Use this lesson plan to review Voltaire's book 'Candide' with your students. Students will read a text lesson, critically discuss the book, and take on the role of a character in a fun playacting activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize Candide by Voltaire
  • describe each of the main characters in Candide, including one in great detail

Length

60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3

Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.

Instructions

NOTE: This lesson is best utilized after a reading of Candide by Voltaire. Students will need at least a basic understanding of the main characters.

  • Begin the lesson by briefly reviewing the work Candide by Voltaire with your students. Have them take turns telling the main plot points to refresh their memories.
  • Distribute the text lesson Voltaire's Candide: Summary & Analysis.
  • Have students ignore the first section for now (in which all the characters are described). Instead, skip directly to the Analysis section.
  • Have students read the 'Genre' subsection. Discuss the following questions as a class:
    • What genres are often attributed to Candide? Why?
    • Do you agree with these classifications? Why or why not?
  • Have students read the 'Purpose, Audience and Tone' subsection. Discuss the following:
    • What purpose was Voltaire theorized to have in writing this piece?
    • Who was his supposed audience?
    • What was the tone with which he wrote?
    • Do you agree with these assessments? Why or why not?
  • Have students read the remainder of the lesson. Discuss:
    • What controversy still surrounds this work?
    • What is your take on these controversies?

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