Benjamin Franklin - The first self-made man in America

Length: 3 Pages 844 Words

Franklin's autobiography represents the American dream - rising from rags to riches, or as Franklin himself writes “Having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a state of affluence...” (P. 1). Franklin writes to his son, as some kind of self-help book. He hopes that through his life story people will be inspired, and find their own path to success. Almost every paragraph in the book aims to point out certain virtues Franklin has, and how much important it is. At the beginning of the second part (P. 55) he explains this with letters from friends who have read parts of the autobiography and encourage him to publish the book a model to improve one's life. He even outlines thirteen which he believes are important for successful living. But already in the beginning of the book Franklin discusses the importance of respect and family (P. 11). Out of respect to his father he does not go into the sea trade, and his father allows him to quit the family trade and apprentice as a printer under his brother in Rhode Island. He also takes his father's advice when his father notices a written discussion between Franklin and a friend and, without addressing the subject, corrects his son's writing. Fr Continue...

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Franklin does admit making some mistakes of, or errata, as he calls them. 12) Through his love for books, as well as his writings ha gains many friends and supporters. Whenever he does make a mistake, he immediately finds the good in it. His vegetarian diet saves him money and time (P. By this he shows he will not conform, and will walk his own path. Franklin describes his long and very tiresome trip to Philadelphia. All of these attributes help Franklin. Out of those images, one can get a sense of what not to do. Arriving tired, broke and hungry, with dirty clothes, he goes and buys bread. While he laughs at Keimer, one of his bosses, for not keeping his vegetarian diet, he explains the fact that he eats cod that smells good as being a "reasonable creature (P. During the trip to New-York he helps an old quaker and accepts her advice not to join two other female passengers. It is also full of contradiction, perhaps because it was written in several different periods, perhaps because this is how Franklin actually sees himself. Quitting his apprentice position with his brother, and his flirting with Ralph's girlfriend are some examples.


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The American icon of the self-made man found its first expression in Franklin. For Benjamin Franklin, that destiny proved to be greatness. (2275 9 )

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