The Ingenu Essay

1194 words - 5 pages

By: BJM Le Connaissance Nouveau de L'Ingenu Francios-Marie Arouet's, assuming the pen-name of Voltaire, L'Ingenu is a satirical story that begins in 1689 when a ship of English merchants are coming to France to trade. This is when the Ingenu is first introduced. The French are most intrigued by his appearance. Because of a picture believed to be the brother and sister-in-law of the Abbe de Kerkabon and Mademoiselle de Kerkabon, the Kerkabons felt that they saw a resemblance and take him in as their nephew. This is only the beginning. With no set beliefs, the Huron comes to live with these people of France and is taught to live as they do. Under appearingly unfortunate circumstances, he becomes imprisoned and able to educate himself. He learns of the French society on a hands-on basis by feeling their cruelty. This Child of Nature symbolizes John Locke's "blank tablet". The Ingenu, also known as the Child of Nature, Becomes enlightened through his experiences with French society by having no prior worldly knowledge of his own, being taught by the French, and disregarding everything they have taught him to learn for himself the lessons of French society. The Child of Nature comes into the French society with no worldly knowledge of his own or beliefs. He is a spontaneous, curious young Huron and is viewed as quite naive. The French feel that they can easily mold him into their society. All he has are his youthful charming looks, "HE was hatless, and hoseless, and wore little sandals; his head was graced with long plaits of hair; and a short doublet clung to a trim and supple figure. He had a look about him that was at once martial and gentle" (Voltaire, 190) and an awkward manner of being courteous to the Kerkabons "all with such a simple, natural air that brother and sister both were charmed" (Voltaire, 190). When asked countless questions, "the traveler's answer would be very much to the point" (Voltaire, 191). Instead of in a roundabout way in which was inevitable if their roles are to be reversed. "The Huron did not turn a hair" (Voltaire, 191). But does speak his mind when the questions were coming too fast. He simply and clearly tells them, "Gentlemen, where I come from, people take it in turns to speak" (Voltaire, 191). Upon questioning him, they find out that he has no particular religion. He isn't Catholic as they had felt that the Jesuit Fathers might have converted him to being. This is when they ultimately decide "We will baptize him" (Voltaire, 194), and were ready to make him one of them. Taken aback, the Child of Nature lets them know "that in England they let people live as they pleased" (Voltaire, 194). Upon preparing to depart, he leaves the Prior and Mademoiselle with his most valued possession, a little trinket that "consisted of two rather poorly drawn little portraits tied together with an extremely greasy strap (Voltaire, 195)". The Kerkabons think he is their nephew because the people in the portraits looked like the brother...

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