The Voice of Benjamin Franklin: Miss Polly Baker

Hilary Parker
16 March 2013
Heather Green
En 209- 001
The Other Side of Ben Franklin Benjamin Franklin is famously known for using his knowledge to conquer many life achievements such as discovering lightening, co-signing The Declaration of Independence, and establishing the first American library, but all of his ultimate accomplishments would not have been established if he had not have found his niche for writing. In his younger years, Franklin rejected attending grammar school and following after his dad in becoming a “tallow chandler and soap boiler,” so he had no other choice than working with his brother as a printer (Norton 455). He there found his place for books, reading, and writing. What makes Franklin’s writing so interesting and different is the fact he started out writing in the point of views of non- fiction people, which this opposes non-fiction novels because the letters and essays serve as a deeper, personal view of society. He would make up different characters with different opinions; his most famous voice are letters by “Silence Dogood” which Franklin’s brother published these letters not knowing they were by Franklin. Franklin’s accidental discovery was sparked by the immediate interest of the public. His true struggle from rags to riches in reach of the “American Dream” makes his essays even more authentic and believable in which people could receive a strong opinion towards a social or political issue. One of Franklin’s essays,
“The Speech of Miss Polly Baker,” effectively accomplishes this idea of expressing a strong opinion towards a social issue, in this case about a woman who gives birth to five bastard children. Polly Baker’s ultimate goal in the essay is to justify her actions towards the court in order to opt out of punishment for her sins. Franklin captures this woman’s opinion primarily from personal experience. Franklin, himself, had a son out of wedlock but took responsibility from his actions by adopting his son when

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