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Voltaire’s “Candy in Hollyforest” in Modern America Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2021

Plot Summary

The new philosophical tale dwells upon a fictional country Amerigo. The book starts with the description of an average town where people are employed at several large enterprises. These are a big farm, a plant, and a factory. The protagonist is a young female, Candy, who is smart and attractive. She graduated from school two years ago but has been unable to enter a university as she does not have enough gum wrappers to go to Educado city. No one has told her that only a few miles away from their small town, there is a cheap train that could take the young woman to the city of universities for only a couple of wrappers. Every morning Candy has to go to the farm and work long hours dreaming of the things she could buy for millions of wrappers she does not have.

She often hears the talks of older people about the times when gum wrappers had gum inside, and the entire country was wealthier and happier. They had something they valued and were proud of. However, the leaders gave the gum to Hina and Dropped it a long time ago, so now they are left with silly wrappers. Those stories seem sad to the old folks, but it is absolutely irrelevant for Candy. The girl is dreaming about moving to a Parenthood district where all of her schoolmates have already settled. She has always been different as she has wanted to leave the town and learn something more than farming, using appliances, watching Hollyforest stories, reading, and counting wrappers. She also wants to fill in her jar as quickly as possible. Every citizen has a jar to be filled with silver sand. The more they produce real things (goods, children, positive emotions, aid, compassion), the quicker the jar is filled. Sometimes the jar may lose silver sands. The description of life in the country and Candy’s daydreaming is provided in the following chapters.

Several days before her moving to the Parenthood district, a team from a Hollyforest comes to the town to choose a storyteller. Candy has to cheat and trick several people in order to leave the farm and attend the meeting with the people from the land of her dreams. When she finally gets to the meeting, she sees one man who says he is a picker. He tries to seduce Candy promising he will take her to Hollyforest. The next chapters describe Candy’s travel to Hollyforest with the team. One of the most recurrent thoughts Candy has is that many people are involved in the process (not the picker alone). Candy meets several other future stars and sees their shallowness. On her way to Hollyforest, she is taught how to walk, talk, eat, and even sleep. She goes to many doctors to change some imperfections she is told to remove to become a storyteller. She also meets a promoter who becomes her mentor, teaching her how to be famous and not to be average.

After some months of training, clinical procedures, and rehearsals, Candy tells her first stories that are broadcast across the country. She becomes very famous and earns millions of wrappers. She seems finally happy spending her wrappers on houses, clothes, new clinical procedures, and many beautiful things she has dreamt of or even has never known about. She also sends wrappers to some other cities just as other storytellers do. She knows little about her charity activities, and she does not actually care about that since she thinks giving is a great virtue but thinking about the outcomes is boring. A few years later, Candy is very famous and has millions of wrappers, but she is unhappy. She wants to move to a Parenthood district, but Hollyforest does not have this part, as there is only a Kidland district.

Candy also tries to travel to another place, NewOrc, where she tries to become a partner in a large corporation. She meets people who have millions of wrappers for cheating and trying to sell goods they do not produce. They seem happy, but she soon meets Mrs. Gobs, who tells the whole truth about these multimillionaires who are miserable and fixed on an idea. She marries a man from the city of Sportivo who also has all men would want to have. However, all these people’s jars are often almost empty.

The last chapters describe Candy as a middle-aged woman who tries to live in beautiful houses among beautiful things, but her jar is still almost empty. She is very unhappy and has to visit different therapists. She cannot understand why she feels so bad as she follows all the recommendations her doctors provide. Eventually, she meets a storyteller who commutes to Hollyforest from a town where she lives with her family. The girl is happy as she does her job (tells stories), and although she does not have millions, she earns just enough wrappers to be happy. She is not stalked (unlike other storytellers), and the young woman tells the stories that make others act. She tells about opportunities young people have, and she shows the way to the places they want to live. The girl recommends Candy to read Voltaire’s Candide. The book ends with the description of a party hosted by Candy, who writes something down in her diary and walks to the guests. The final lines of the book are the final sentences in Candy’s diary: “I wish I could just cultivate my farm.”


The summarized book mainly deals with the problem of overpayment that has quite a negative effect on society. The primary target is Hollywood with its overpaid celebrities (actors and actresses) who earn too much for bringing to life some characters. Of course, this kind of job should be paid well as any other job, but paying millions for this kind of work is inappropriate. Likewise, sports stars and top managers have high salaries, but their input in the development of society or even business is often rather limited and overestimated. The book points at the shallow existence of the vast majority of these overpaid people who are self-indulgent.

Notably, the present philosophy tale focuses on the perceptions of the celebrity and her unhappiness, which may serve as a warning to those young people who could dream about Hollywood or other ways to win easy money and glory. The book does not explore the reasons for these payments and people’s readiness to give their money away to obtain the products that are high-priced (movies, brand things, and so on). It is acknowledged that athletes receive high salaries as they attract people to sports games or related products and services (Yaldo and Shamir 35). However, the money these people receive seems unfair and makes other people (creating something real) less motivated. The book in question touches upon the issues related to the American currency, the national debt, and the country’s economy. Finally, the peculiarities of charity are also addressed as it is clear that the protagonist gives the money in order to maintain a positive image. She does not actually know what happens to her money, and she does not care, which is often the case with many donors.

Work Cited

Yaldo, L., and Lior Shamir. “Computational Estimation of Football Player Wages.” International Journal of Computer Science in Sport, vol 16, no. 1, 2017, pp. 18-38.

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"Voltaire's "Candy in Hollyforest" in Modern America." IvyPanda, 8 June 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/voltaires-candy-in-hollyforest-in-modern-america/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Voltaire's "Candy in Hollyforest" in Modern America." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/voltaires-candy-in-hollyforest-in-modern-america/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Voltaire's "Candy in Hollyforest" in Modern America'. 8 June.

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