An Analysis of the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

In: Historical Events

Submitted By pdmckoy
Words 631
Pages 3
An Analysis of the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


This analysis will strive to show that, this work by Benjamin Franklin was a unified

work even with the disjointed parts of it. The span of time in which it was written was

interrupted . Which meant that important aspects of his life was missing. Many

feel that this detracts from the effectiveness of the book, just as many feel it adds to the

overall theme. This is a work of memories put to paper, for this is Franklin’s life.

This analysis aims to show clearly, that this work is effective and relevant today as it

was when it was written.

Benjamin Franklin wrote his own epitaph when he was but twenty-two years old, he

often wondered what his legacy would be. He wrote that after his death his body would

be like, “Like The Cover of an Old Book / Its Contents torn Out” the “Contents will

Appear once More / In a New and More Elegant Edition, Revised and Corrected By

The Author”. (Benjamin and Deborah Franklin; 1790) Franklin was taking measure of his life,

by comparing his life to books and his body to the binding, To think that he is talking

about his Autobiography and not Heaven would be a logical assumption. He claims to be

recollecting his life because he can not relive it. He fully intended to leave the world a

work that was unified. Life itself had a say in this work in progress, and this proved to be

the disjointing factor to the unity of his Autobiography.

Franklin began this work in 1771 he died 1790 before it was finished. The main reason

He did not finish, is that he took two extended breaks one from 1771, to 1784, the other

was taken 1784, to 1789 , years were lost towards the completion of his work.

These were important years, during which he left no record, but recorded history of…...

Similar Documents

Benjamin Franklin

...Benjamin Franklin’s role in shaping the United States is mostly tied to his part in the American Revolution and his experiments with electricity. Mr. Franklin not only helped shaped the country but he also helped shape American literature with such writings such as The Way to Wealth, The Gospel Preacher a Book of Twenty Sermons, a number of different essays, and of course his Autobiography. His Autobiography was more of a self help book than writings about his life. He wanted to stress to his son and other people that what they were is not who they would always be, if they take the proper steps and kept an open mind they could achieve great things. In his Autobiography Franklin stresses the point of self-improvement through education, good health habits, good work ethics, not being argumentative, and practiced frugality among other things. Franklin’s writings influenced writers like Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey, and Anthony Robbins. Some writers like Thoreau thought his writings focused only on achieving wealth and never really appreciating the simpler things in life. Though Franklin does stress on the more frivolous things in life at times, he really only wanted for people to learn how to become all around better people. Franklin believed that education was everything. In order for out country to grow everyone, especially the youth, needed to expand their minds. He stressed education so much to his fellow Americans that he started a learning academy that is now known as......

Words: 251 - Pages: 2

Benjamin Franklin

... and didn’t see a future of reform ahead of them and were obviously displeased. William Bradford was an uneducated man and knew something had to change. It wasn’t before he came to the new land of America until he received a college education and became a successful writer. He landed, just as many others did, on the historical Plymouth Rock, Mass. on the Mayflower and from that point on his ideas touched every soul throughout the New World. He could be considered to be a self-educated man heavily involved in the Puritan theme. This new view on religion, and life itself, was the very basis for his writings and views on almost all things. Ben Franklin, whose story is completely different, was born in 1709 and while that may have been over a century since Bradford, this was still considered early times in America. As a young boy, Franklin would learn a great deal from his brother, who was a printer. Ben enjoyed reading and would pick up any book just to gain knowledge. Franklin’s brother, being a printer, published Ben’s first essay titled “Silence Dogwood.” As Franklin kept gaining knowledge, he soon began to take interest in the sciences, especially electricity. Franklin said, "people were naturally innocent, that all the mysteries that charmed the religious mind could be explained to our advantage and that education, properly undertaken, would change our lives and set us free from the tyrannies of church and monarchies." This was the spark the set fire to the...

Words: 1236 - Pages: 5

Benjamin Franklin

... education helped Franklin in many ways to write many books, outsmart other politicians, and create new inventions. Franklin knows he can’t relive his life so he decides that writing a book would be the next best thing. In Franklin’s autobiography, which he writes to his son, he tries to retell his mistakes so others will not do the same. One of Franklin’s strongest beliefs includes his religion. Franklin did not believe in organized religion and believed strongly in Deism. This shows his concern for other Americans. The phrase True American does not have a definition, although the word American does. The definition of American is belonging to or characteristic of America. It is hard to relate Benjamin Franklin to this definition of an American, but it does apply to many of his characteristics. Franklin’s loyalty to America shows greatly throughout his life in his writings and jobs. Franklin’s many jobs included being an inventor, politician, author, statesman, philosopher, soldier, scientist, citizen, and a printer. Franklin helped stabilize America by helping to write the countries declaration of independence, which is only one of his many works. Benjamin Franklin today is still recognized as one of the greatest minds in American history that help start, sustain, and stabilize America. Franklin reached the Pinnacle of his success through persistence and determination. He abides by the 13 virtues, even though at times may have seem impossible to accomplish. His wisdom,......

Words: 510 - Pages: 3

Benjamin Franklin

...Bellanger The Age of Reason The Eighteenth century led to a new age of thinking. It has became known as the Age of Skepticism, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Neoclassical Period. The Age of Reason meant that traditional Christian ideas were no longer accepted on just faith. The Age of Skepticism produced a nation that doubted everything. Science, because of its solid results, became strong and with this strength deism was born. Although not everyone accepted these new ideas, many did. Benjamin Franklin was definitely a product of this new age. Benjamin Franklin at the age of sixteen accepted deism as his religion. Franklin believed in the perfectibility of man. By altering his lifestyle he removed morals from religion in believing one should do good because it is useful in this world, not the next. Without having to consider original sin from Adam and Eve, which would have made it impossible to achieve perfection. Unlike Puritans who believed they had to reach moral perfection to please God. Franklins deism allowed him to strive for this perfection. His strategy for accomplishing his goal was by following his thirteen virtues. He made a little brown book so he could recorded the faults he had that day. In his Autobiography Franklin hints at his secularization of virtue, “vicious actions are no harmful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful”(818). Franklin did not feel that he truly reached this perfection, mainly because, “inclination......

Words: 304 - Pages: 2

Benjamin Franklin

...Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17; in 1706.He was the tenth son of a soap maker. He received a bit of education from school, but was mainly self-taught. After working as an apprentice for his father for two years, he worked for his half-brother James, who was a printer. In 1721, they founded the New England Courant, the fourth newspaper in the colonies. Benjamin secretly wrote 14 essays for it, his first published writings. In 1723, due to disagreements with his half-brother, Franklin fled to Philadelphia, where he was able to find employment as a printer. He spent one year there and then sailed to London for two years. After his return to Philadelphia, he rose gallantly in the printing industry. He published The Pennsylvania Gazette (1730-48). His most successful literary venture was the annual Poor Richard’s Almanac (1733-58). It gained popularity in the colonies, and its name spread to Europe. In 1730, Franklin got married to Deborah Read, who was on a schedule to give him a son and a daughter, and he, also, had children with another unknown woman out of wedlock. By 1748, he was financially independent and got recognition for his philanthropy and the efforts he made to public causes like libraries, educational institutions, and hospitals. He,also, made time to pursue his interest in science, as well as to enter politics. Franklin worked as a clerk (1736-51) and a member (1751-64) of the colonial legislature and as deputy postmaster...

Words: 913 - Pages: 4

Benjamin Franklin Autobiography Response Paper

...Benjamin Franklin was extraordinarily famous for many accomplishments. He was an author, politician, printer, and one of America’s Founding Fathers. Franklin also discovered electricity, and invented bifocals, the lightning rod, Franklin stove, glass harmonica, odometer, and jokingly, daylight savings time. Franklin, living in Paris at the time, joked that the French slept in too late, that they wasted all the daylight. In Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, Franklin displays a subtle sense of humor throughout different forms of set pieces in the book, including his father’s religious devotion, using an alias, and his probable pride in humility. In Part One of the Autobiography, Franklin jokes that while all nine of his older brothers became protégés of craft occupations, his father intended “to devote me as the Tithe of his Sons to the Service of the Church” (14). Franklin pokes fun at his father by implying that instead of donating a tenth of his income to the church, he is donating a tenth of his sons. He presents himself as a young man on the road to fame by showing he is different that the rest of his family and the only one of his brothers earning an education. At such a young age, he felt his education gave him superiority with his family, but his older brothers thought differently. Franklin started working as a trainee for his brother’s printing shop, which he thought he should be running. Franklin also uses a confident humor as he makes himself the laughingstock...

Words: 697 - Pages: 3

Benjamin Franklin

...Questions: (choose one) ….3-4 page paper, 900 – 1200 words. 1. One of the over-arching themes in Franklin’s Autobiography is that of self-improvement. Franklin intends for his own experience to serve as a model for others. Discuss key ways that Franklin presents his story as an illustration of self-improvement. Is he successful in the attempt? What motivates him toward this attempt? Does he strike you as a self-promoter or a genuinely benevolent man desirous of helping others? In your answer, use specific examples from the book to illustrate your points. A: Opening Franklin Autobiography intention of self improvement B Key ways Franklin presented his story as illustration of self-improvement 1) Stressed education a) Read numerous books b) Improved his writing through self inflicted exercise c) Taught himself about subjects that peaked his interest d) Taught himself French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin 2) Stressed health a) Implemented a vegetarian diet b) Practiced temperance in food and drink c) Discouraged heavy drinking 3) Good work ethic a) Always kept a job even when young b) Always excelled to be best at whatever trade he undertook 4) Never acted hastily always had plan a) Made plans and kept to them b) 5) Mindful of company he kept (friendships, acquaintances) a) Stayed out of bars, and questionable establishments b) Interacted with people that kept the same interest to education, reading...

Words: 1020 - Pages: 5

Benjamin Franklin

... until he was twenty one. This would spark a never-ending feud between the two brothers. James took the role of Benjamin’s apprenticeship too far. In many different accounts, notions of hitting Benjamin are found as “Franklin’s older brother, exploiting and sometimes beating the younger apprentice”was common. This feud would be the deciding factor in Benjamin’s final decision to leave Boston. In Benjamin’s autobiography he discussed the altercations in detail. Benjamin explained, my brother was passionate and had often beaten me, which I took extremely amiss. I fancy his harsh and tyrannical treatment of me might be a means of impressing me with that aversion to arbitrary power that has stuck to me through my whole life. The actions between the two brothers made Benjamin’s determination to be his own man that much stronger. Benjamin had made up his mind that he would travel to Pennsylvania to start his own printing press that was better than his brother’s. He had already been a self educated man but the abuse of power by James made Benjamin look like he was less than a man at all. Benjamin thought James degraded him in the request he made him fulfill. The two brother’s would never got along. Franklin felt his brother acted like his master, degraded him, and thus made him like a slave. During Benjamin’s political life he was opposed to the idea of slavery as “his last act was the signing of an anti-slavery petition to Congress as President of the......

Words: 3813 - Pages: 16

Benjamin Franklin

...Benjamin Franklin The information I am going to share will be a big surprise to you. Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is a well-rounded and productive figure. His distinguished contributions vary from field to field, for he is not only a famous author, diploma, and political theorist, but also a postmaster, printer and scientist. Is it incredible or just stunning? Unquestionably it is. However, to be honest, He is worthy of such titles. Now, let us make an all-round acquaintance of him in detail. As a scientist and inventor, he had made great contributions to the American Enlightenment and the history of physics. He conducted a many of experiments and discovered lots of new things such as the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. Moreover, He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university. As an outstanding author and spokesman, he exemplified the emerging American nation. He earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity. He was also foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, and community spirit, and he was opposite to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. As a successful newspaper editor and printer, he published the Pennsylvania Chronicle with his two partners, a newspaper that was...

Words: 450 - Pages: 2

Benjamin Franklin Autobiography

...LIBERTY UNIVERSITY THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ESSAY SUBSITTED TO MS. LENNON HISTORY N221 D49 SYLVIA MORAN ORRUM, NC 11/14/2011 Benjamin Franklin was born on January 6, 1706 to Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger. His father was a tallow chandler who relocated his family to the New England Colonies about 1682 in search of religious freedom. Benjamin Franklin started working for his father at a very early age which he hated. At age twelve he was bound as an apprentice to his brother, James, who owned a print shop where they quarreled often. His brother published the New England Courant and treated him as though he was a slave and often times beat him. During this period in his life a desire to improve himself and be free of the restraining ties which bound him was born within him. Through the help of a friend he was able to secure passage on a ship bound for New York. Thus began his journey of seeking to improve his circumstances in life and himself. Benjamin Franklin never received much of a formal education. He started school at the age of eight and ended at ten years old. His father intended to send him to college for an education and then dedicate him to the service of the church, but because of the financial difficulties of raising such a large family this proved impossible. Benjamin Franklin had developed a love of reading at an early age and therefore he began to educate himself through books. After arriving at his...

Words: 996 - Pages: 4

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

...Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin An autobiography is the life history of a person that is written in a book and the history is written by the same person. Autobiography mainly centers its focus on the times and life of the person writing it. The autobiography nature is very subjective and therefore the writer should be able to recall memories promptly so that incorrect and false information should be avoided. Some autobiographies are fictional whereby people write the autobiography as if it were them as seen in some novels. Benjamin Franklin was born January 17,1706 in Boston. He attended school for only 2 years despite his passion for reading. When he was 12 years old, he joined his brother James to become an apprentice at the print shop. He wrote his first newspaper in Boston when he was 15 years. He wrote several letters and finally announced that he was the writer when the letters became a hit. He ran away to Philadelphia at 17 when his brother was furious about his writing (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 1). He was amongst the naissance fathers of the United States. He was an inventor, a representative, a scientist, a principal writer and above all, he was a theorist. He loved doing experiments and this was well shown in the experiments he did regarding power and lightning after experimenting on kites in an event of a lightning storm. He also published “Poor Richard’s Almanac’’ and the Pennsylvania...

Words: 920 - Pages: 4

Benjamin Franklin

...John Eed English 1102-008 April 9th, 2012 Jim Burnham The Bible of the Middle-Class American *** Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography has an impact on the readers in some way. Middle-Class people go through similar problems Ben went through and learn from the parables and advices he throws in. The Autobiography is uniquely American because it communicates to all people who live in the United States, especially the Middle-Class Americans. Franklin would fit in our society now because he lived a similar life back then. Also, Franklin thought about life in a modern way, making his way in life on his own at a young age. Franklin, like most Middle-Class teenagers now, had to work in order to live (58-59). He also traveled on his own to Philadelphia to find a job and to make a living (71). *** What makes the autobiography relevant to people is that Ben was not raised in a rich family. His dad dropped him out of school because he could not afford Ben to go to school (53). It was also really difficult for his father to raise the family since he had 17 children. When Middle-Class people read this, they could relate in everyway and feel the same way he felt. Ben, being the author, writes what he feels and what he went through. If it were another author, it would have been much different because no one feels the same feeling unless they are in the same situation. Sample * * # of words: 120 ASL = 17 # of independent......

Words: 268 - Pages: 2

Benjamin Franklin

...Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, into a devoted Puritan household. (The Puritans were a religious group that stood against the practices of the Church of England.) In 1683 his family had left England and moved to New England in search of religious freedom. Franklin's father was a candlemaker and a mechanic, but, his son said, his "great Excellence lay in a sound Understanding, and solid Judgment." Franklin also praised his mother, who raised a family of thirteen children. Young Franklin was not content at home. He received little formal schooling and by age eleven went to work making candles and soap at his father's shop. However, he hated this trade—especially the smell. Franklin eventually left his father's shop and went to work for his brother James, who was the printer of a Boston newspaper. While learning the business Franklin read every word that came into the shop and was soon writing clever pieces that criticized the Boston establishment. He loved to read and even became a vegetarian in order to save money to buy books. When authorities imprisoned James for his own critical articles, Benjamin continued the paper himself. In 1723 at age seventeen Franklin left home and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By this time Franklin had begun to embrace the ideas of such Enlightenment thinkers as the physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and the philosopher John Locke (1632–1727). The Enlightenment, which began in the sixteenth...

Words: 1573 - Pages: 7

An Analysis of the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

...An Analysis of the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin This analysis will strive to show that, this work by Benjamin Franklin was a unified work even with the disjointed parts of it. The span of time in which it was written was interrupted . Which meant that important aspects of his life was missing. Many feel that this detracts from the effectiveness of the book, just as many feel it adds to the overall theme. This is a work of memories put to paper, for this is Franklin’s life. This analysis aims to show clearly, that this work is effective and relevant today as it was when it was written. Benjamin Franklin wrote his own epitaph when he was but twenty-two years old, he often wondered what his legacy would be. He wrote that after his death his body would be like, “Like The Cover of an Old Book / Its Contents torn Out” the “Contents will Appear once More / In a New and More Elegant Edition, Revised and Corrected By The Author”. (Benjamin and Deborah Franklin; 1790) Franklin was taking measure of his life, by comparing his life to books and his body to the binding, To think that he is talking about his Autobiography and not Heaven would be a logical assumption. He claims to be recollecting his life because he can not relive it. He fully intended to leave the world a work that was unified. Life itself had a say in this work in progress, and this proved to be the disjointing factor to the...

Words: 631 - Pages: 3

Benjamin Franklin

...uestions: (choose one) ….3-4 page paper, 900 – 1200 words. 1. One of the over-arching themes in Franklin’s Autobiography is that of self-improvement. Franklin intends for his own experience to serve as a model for others. Discuss key ways that Franklin presents his story as an illustration of self-improvement. Is he successful in the attempt? What motivates him toward this attempt? Does he strike you as a self-promoter or a genuinely benevolent man desirous of helping others? In your answer, use specific examples from the book to illustrate your points. A: Opening Franklin Autobiography intention of self improvement B Key ways Franklin presented his story as illustration of self-improvement 1) Stressed education a) Read numerous books b) Improved his writing through self inflicted exercise c) Taught himself about subjects that peaked his interest d) Taught himself French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin 2) Stressed health a) Implemented a vegetarian diet b) Practiced temperance in food and drink c) Discouraged heavy drinking 3) Good work ethic a) Always kept a job even when young b) Always excelled to be best at whatever trade he undertook 4) Never acted hastily always had plan a) Made plans and kept to them b) 5) Mindful of company he kept (friendships, acquaintances) a) Stayed out of bars, and questionable establishments b) Interacted with people that kept the same interest to education, reading, etc. c)......

Words: 304 - Pages: 2