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The Cause and Affect of Time on Benjamin Franklins Autobiography

In: People

Submitted By airbornegrunt24
Words 3434
Pages 14
Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, printer, scientist, statesman, wrote an Autobiography that poses a riddle never completely solved: How could such an incomplete, disjointed, inaccurate, mangled manuscript be so perennially popular? Translated into dozens of languages and reprinted in hundreds of editions, it continues to be one of the most successful books of all time, even though Franklin himself is sometimes viewed with suspicion by the haters of industry and frugality. An answer to the riddle of the Autobiography is partially hinted at by the ways in which it has been described, for if it has not been all things to all men, it has at least been remarkable to most men who have read it. Its most admired qualities have changed as fashions, philosophies, and needs have changed. But, significantly, the book continues to survive such changes
From the first line, Franklin's Autobiography illustrates the complex character of the man who wrote it, not only through the facts it states but also through the attitudes it reveals. The productive tension in Franklin's nature between the lighthearted and the earnest is evident by the end of the first paragraph. While Franklin starts his account as a paternal (and presumably chatty) letter to his son, he soon begins the formal statement about his worthy purposes — the rationalizations for the work to follow — which one expects of highly serious eighteenth-century treatises. But after presenting three respectable reasons for writing, Franklin appends two frivolous ones, and by doing so gently mocks the literary conventions he follows. Thus from the beginning we glimpse a man who accepts reasonable and recognized rules, but keeps a playful spirit alive while doing so.
At the age of 12, Benjamin reluctantly signed an indenture contract, to work without pay (except for his last year of service) until he was 21. But he learned his...

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