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Andrew Yoon

P. 5
The Dangers of Illusions
Dreams, the idealized creations of the mind, give people the hope to endure through their
hardships. The two books Candide, written by Voltaire and Brave New World, written by Aldous
Huxley, feature protagonists who spend their life believing in an ideal dream but find that their
dreams are nothing more than illusions and that the reality is far from ideal. Though dreams
provide comfort and hope, it is important for a person to stay within the grounds of reality and
cherish the trials of their journey, because often reality does not meet the expectations.
In Brave New World, John believes that civilization is wondrous and perfect due to Linda
telling him about the wonders of that world. Because he is unable to see the realities of the
world, he constructs a preconceived image within his mind. During his life in the Savage
Reservation, his happiest times were when [Linda] told him about the Other Place, (Huxley
127) or London. Right after Lindas description about London, John also states that he has
learned about the myths of the Savages. Huxley is highlighting the fact that like these myths,
Johns ideal image of London only exists within his head. When John gets the opportunity to
travel to London, he declares O brave new world that has such people in it (160), a quote from
Shakespeares Tempest. John would be able to explore this ideal society which remained in his
dream ever since he was a child. His dream came true. However, when he reaches London, it is
quickly apparent that there is an endless divide between reality and imagination. John is able to
see the lifelessness and the robotic mechanisms of society. Everything has been left to

technology and the happiness of people is controlled through brainwashing and drugs. There is
no individuality within London and there are no passionate emotions felt by the people. Sex, the
culmination and climax of love between two people, is treated as something casual and normal.
Complete bliss can be obtained with just a pill. Though everybody is happy, they are unable to
experience the struggles of life that John values. Because of this, John rejects the society that he
once idealized.
Candide, the protagonist of Voltaires Candide, experiences a similar disappointment with
his love, Cungonde, and his belief that the world is the best of all worlds. In his arduous trials,
Candide gains strength through his conviction that he will be able to rescue Cungonde and that
they will be able to live a happy life forever. One of the reasons why he turns away the
opportunity to live in El Dorado, the epitome of a utopia, is so that he can meet Cungonde
again. Candides desire for Cungonde is so strong that he rejects the best of all worlds that
Pangloss taught him about. However, once he finally reaches Cungonde, he finds that she is
ugly and ill-tempered, shattering his dream of his ideal woman. In his travels, Candide also finds
that the world is far from the best of all worlds. People kill each other in the name of war,
which Candide calls heroic butchery (8), two words that are the complete opposites of each
other. Hypocrisy is rampant within religion, with the Grand Inquisitor, who should be the
embodiment of morality, trying to take Cungonde for himself. People are abused in order to pay
for the happiness of others. The extent to which humans exploit each other is sickening to
Candide to the point where he gives up Optimism. Though Candide has gone through arduous
trials, he realizes that what he has fought for is far from perfect and that he should value the
journey and trials that he takes rather than his dream.
John and Candide both believed in an ideal that gave them hope and awed them. Both

come to the realization that dreams often lead to false hope. However, when John sees the
horrors of civilization, he chooses to reject it and becomes a hermit. As a hermit, he chooses to
punish himself for his sins of being attracted to Lenina while Linda was throwing her life away.
John fights against the idle happiness of society because he wants to live for his own values. On
the other hand, Candide chooses to stay within civilization. By working in a farm with the others,
he is able to create a society that resembles the ideal society that he once believed in. Everybody
has a place and there is no abuse of power. When faced with the realization that his dreams were
only dreams, he decides to live on and cultivate our garden. Though Candide and John both
experience the harsh reality underlying their dreams, they cope in different ways. John chooses
to fight against this reality while Candide chooses to accept this reality.
Upon achieving their ideals, John and Candide find that their trials are far more valuable
than their dream. Indeed, this can be seen throughout the world. When dreams are reached, they
often are less glamourous than what was previously imagined. Instead of focusing solely on this
dream, it is essential to cherish the journey to this dream as well. Looking at these two
characters, a single message is clear: do not look into a dream for inspiration; instead, be focused
on making the most out of the present.