The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Topics: Virtue, Benjamin Franklin, American Enlightenment Pages: 3 (1058 words) Published: November 1, 2012
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin’s life made a huge impact on the history of America. He also was an influence for many citizens. Since Franklin lived during the eighteenth century, a period of growth for America, he also played a part in the political founding of the United States. To help future generations, Franklin wrote an autobiography of his life. An autobiography is a piece of literature about someone’s own life. He separates his into four parts, each one depicting a different phase of his life. In The Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin, the author uses his life events to describe values and ways of life that every man should believe and follow.

In part one, Franklin examines his adolescent years. During this time, he apprenticed underneath his older brother. This shows his desire to succeed, a popular quality of his time period. This part of The Autobiography describes his “rags-to-riches story, a chronicle of one man’s rise from pennilessness to power” (Moss and Wilson 26). His story supports the belief that people of that time period were clever and strong-willed. Franklin wrote part one in 1771, and it is the most personal out of the four parts. It talks about his motivations for writing an autobiography and his mistakes and accomplishments. For example, Franklin wrote part one to provide a model life for his son, William, and future generations. This portion creates an image of a hard working, independent young man for Franklin. This image reinforces the period in which he lived, the Enlightenment period. During the eighteenth century, many men were similar to Franklin; therefore, they had a deep desire for success. Part one focuses mainly on Franklin’s character and its formation. Through his adolescence and growing into a young adult, he matured greatly. He began his successful career and The Autobiography describes, briefly, his venture into founding the public library in Philadelphia. Overall, Franklin’s first part of...

Cited: Franklin, Benjamin. “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.” Penguin Edition. The American Experience. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. .Print.
Pannapacker, William. “Autobiography.” American History Through Liturature 1820-1870. Ed. Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer. Vol. 1. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. 61-66. Gale US History In Context. Web.
Santa-Maria, Philip. “Virtuous victims of an enlightenment paradox.” Nebula 6.1 (2009): 66+. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web.
Moss, Joyce and George Wilson. “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.” Literature and Its Times. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 22-29. Print.
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