English Composition I
October 11, 2012
A Clear Look into the Life of Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin has themes of enlightenment, hard work, nature, and intelligence. A person’s attention may not be drawn toward these ideas at first glance, but after reading “The Allegory of the Cave” by Plato and “The American Scholar” by Emerson, it is difficult to stray away from connecting the three works.
“The Allegory of the Cave” presents enlightenment in an intriguing way. A figurative scenario within a cave occurs. In this scenario, a group of people are living in a cave where they have been put in all types of restraints only allowing them to look forward at the wall opposite of the light. The light casts shadows onto the wall. At some point in time, a shadow appears and to some, a voice is also heard. The shadow is then rumored to be god. No one in the cave argues this idea of god because they do not yet know any better, or they have not yet been enlightened. After a while, one person is taken from the cave and is shown “god”. This person is the enlightened one. They now know that what they believed to be true is actually false. Once placed back into the cave, the enlightened one can no longer see. This person no longer shares ideas with those of the cave. When the enlightened one attempts to create a paradigm shift by revealing the truth, people get upset and argumentative.
The cave scenario is a phenomenal way to describe the ideas of enlightenment. The scenario illustrates that one cannot be enlightened if they refuse to step out of the formalities of their everyday life. To Plato, the concept of enlightenment is belief in a new truth and leaving old thoughts behind. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin includes many ideas of enlightenment from literal to figurative. Franklin was literally enlightened every time he took another step up in his career. Starting out as a printer and a writer, and...