An Autobiography Of Ben Franklins Life English Literature Essay

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Ben Franklin's life depicts is a success story. It is a story of nothing shy of success. What makes Franklin's success great is that he does nothing compulsively, irrationally, or out of weakness, but appears to be governed by reason, moderation, and virtue. The absence of a sense of the harshness and inexplicability of life, together with his emphasis on material success is what seemed to allow Franklin to succeed. (Introduction, Woodworth Pine). The topic of this biography was his life and about his accomplishments and what he was faced growing up. This autobiography was a letter that Franklin wrote to William, his son. Reading this, I wish that it would have been more on his great accomplishments; however I don't believe he meant the book to ever be published. The main thought of his autobiography book was his hardships that Benjamin was faced with and how he overcame to become the famous man that he did. I believe that the one sentence that deals with the theme of this autobiography is a quote which Franklin once said; "I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue; but I had a good deal with regard to the Appearance of it." So with the belief that working hard will help achieve goals, Franklin also states, "If you work hard you will lead a fulfilling life."

Through this book, three major themes were found that Franklin may have written to express. Even though this novel was published for everyone to read, this first theme of the autobiography as the main theme was intended for Franklin's son to whom Franklin has dedicated this autobiography to. The first theme of the book was as a narrative of his life for his family with anecdotes that show why and to some degree how to be a virtuous person. His examples are chastity, through the story of losing a friendship by pursuing his friend's wife, and frugality, seen in the stories of his indebtedness, while others were more boastful, like his first major accomplishment, which the Philadelphia library. The second part to the theme however is much more explicit. Franklin gives less personal narratives and more explicit guidance, as in listing and explaining his thirteen virtues. So not only was this a book to read about the life of a genius but also as a guide to help others to become a better person and to shape lives like Vaughn did for Franklin. If we look at the theme in an historical context I can also see another connection. According to the introduction, America struggled to find its own identity. This theme of virtuosity was probably a response to this movement. I then drew the conclusion that Franklin was writing his autobiography to show something about who Americans are, what we should be. The connection between the three themes is the lessons of virtuosity and from this arrive to the conclusion that this is the major reason for the undertaking of the work.

This piece helped me realize just how important Benjamin Franklin really was. I used to think, "Oh the kite guy, and the U.S. Constitution signer," but now I learned that he was more then just a "kite guy." This book taught me about many facts about his life, and about how his hard work really paid off. Here I have written a few of Franklin's accomplishments that I believe were his most important. In 1727, Franklin with a number of his acquaintances organized a discussion group, which later became the American Philosophical Society. In 1729, He bought the "Pennsylvania Gazette," a dull, poorly edited weekly newspaper, which he made, by his witty style and judicious selection of news, both entertaining and informative. Later in 1731 he founded what was probably the first public library in America, chartered in 1742 as the Philadelphia Library. About five years later, in 1736, Franklin became clerk of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the next year was appointed deputy postmaster of Philadelphia. About this time, he organized the first fire company in that city and introduced methods for the improvement of street paving and lighting. Always interested in scientific studies, he devised means to correct the excessive smoking of chimneys and invented, around 1744, the Franklin stove, which furnished greater heat with a reduced consumption of fuel. Later Franklin advanced a tenable theory of the Leyden jar, supported the hypothesis that lightning is an electrical phenomenon, and proposed an effective method of demonstrating this fact. He invented the lightning rod and offered what is called the "one-fluid" theory in explanation of the two kinds of electricity, positive and negative. His final major accomplishment which I found was that in 1749 he wrote "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania" and its publication led to the establishment of the Philadelphia Academy, later to become the University of Pennsylvania. Then the autobiography ends, without even touching the facts about Franklin in America or with signing the U.S. Constitution. Though this was the reason for the end of the autobiography, the fact is that Franklin died before he was able to finish it.

This book amazed me by how a lower class son of a candle maker could grow up to become who he did. Benjamin Franklin was that man. However, it did prove points of his heritage since the book was written for his son. This information about Franklin's older generations helped me as a reader to get more insight about Franklin's family but wasn't that informative about how it didn't relate his family to what goals or influences they had for Franklin growing up, other than his father taught him manners. Even with the ambiguities, I found this book doesn't relate about his life, but about how he showed up others. This was not only a story of success but also of triumphs over the odds. I would like to recommend this book to those that believe that one person can't make a difference or that if someone was born into poverty, they can't make a difference in life. Mainly I found this book to be an inspiration towards my life and could hopefully be one for others to read.