Ben Franklin: Mythmaker

Topics: Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Junto Pages: 3 (1074 words) Published: December 16, 2012
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is known for his extensive list of accomplishments, including politician, printer, scientist, musician, inventor, and diplomat. He has always been proud of his working class roots after growing up in a poor family. He involves himself with public affairs and causes aimed at improving the lives of others. However, Benjamin Franklin is in no way perfect. He often manipulates people to get what he wants and becomes narcissistic later in life. He establishes myths in his Autobiography that represent American society. Although Franklin believes that he can spin the truth to achieve his goals to be more respected by society, he feels stronger about the idea that determination will lead to success and the admiration of the public. By over exaggerating stories from his childhood and adulthood, Franklin gains respect from society by achieving his dreams. He uses his Autobiography as a tool to retell stories from his childhood to make readers perceive him as a brilliant kid well beyond his years. According to Franklin, as a child he makes a proposal to “build a wharf there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large heap of stones…when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and working them diligently like so many ants, sometimes two or three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharf” (Franklin Reading 1). This story from Franklin’s past seems to be exaggerated, because as a young boy, he implausibly refers to his friends as comrades, as if he is at battle, and treats them as if he is a higher power. This power over his friends displays to Franklin’s audience that he has leadership qualities even as a child, which makes them look up to him more as a role model. Franklin also feels that he needs to embellish his accomplishments because he cares about how people perceive him. In portraits painted of Franklin throughout his life, he tends to...
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