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The Old Woman suffers more than perhaps any other character in the novel. And she knows it, too, as demonstrated by her telling us all the time. However, more than anyone else, the Old Woman expresses profound joy to be alive.
She embodies the characteristics of resilience, wit, and genuine hopefulness that contrast the blind Optimism of Candide and Pangloss. The contrast lies in the fact that she accepts that things are bad—she’s just hopeful anyway. Like Cacambo, the Old Woman suggests a strength and hopefulness in human nature.