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The Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin220px-benfranklinduplessis.jpg

Get to know the author

Benjamin Franklin was born into poverty in Boston. He eventually quit school to earn a living. AS a teenager he worked as an apprentice. Franklin became a prosperous merchant at age twenty-four.

Benjamin had hope and peace about preventing war with London and Britain. He was very popular in London for many years but the stress of Britain overcame Franklin and set out for the Colonies in 1775.

1776, Franklin helped Thomas Jefferson draft the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolutionary War had been fought, he discussed the treaty in Paris which brought the French into war. When the war ended Benjamin helped referee the peace. He served as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. On April 17, 1790 Franklin passes away. About 20,000 people attended his funeral.

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Literary Focus


Franklin’s Autobiography demonstrates his own strengths and weaknesses of human nature. It gives his illustration of his own ideas and thoughts through what he is telling the reader about.

An autobiography is when a writer tells the story of his or her own life. The word comes from the Greek words meaning “self,” “life,” and “writing.”

About The Autobiography

Franklin started this novel when he was sixty-five and worked on it for years. He never completely finished it and it was not published during his lifetime. The selection begins with Franklin’s arrival in Philadelphia.

Arrival in Philadelphia

Franklin arrives at Philadelphia and is poor of money and friends. He purchases some bread and eats it in the street. While eating he has a glimpse of his future wife. As he kept walking he joined many cleaned-dressed people, who were Quakers in a meetinghouse. The first house he was in, in Philadelphia.article_ls_chart.gif

Arriving at Moral Perfection

Benjamin creates a list of thirteen virtues. He sets up a chart to focus on one value per week, eventually hoping to perfect them all. He kept his small book with him at all times to keep track of his success and fails. He also develops a daily planner to help him acquire Order. Franklin finds many faults at first but over time he manages to correct most.

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

  1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

  2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

  3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

  4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

  5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

  6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

  7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

  8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

  9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

  10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

  11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

  12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

  13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates

Benjamin Franklin meant to be humorous about achieving “Moral perfect”. He knew no man could be perfect. But he did write that these virtues would apply to anyone with any religion. That the virtues could make better to life and bring happiness.

Important Piece

The Autobiography is an important piece to read because Benjamin Franklin was a very important man to science, history, and the United States. To read about his ideas and ways of life can educate each and every person. He has bettered our lives because Franklin has created the first bifocals, odometer, Franklin stove (early furnace), a rocking chair that could swat flies, and a type of harmonica. He always shows how a poor boy can become successful if he works hard. Franklin became owner of a print shop, and publisher of The Pennsylvania Gazette. He helped found the Academy of Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society, and first public library of U.S.franklin.jpg

Benjamin tried to better society. He’s a huge part of our country and to reading this novel gives us the insight of his triumphant life.

Works Cited

Franklin, Benjamin. "The Autobiography." 2009. Elements of Literature. 164-70. Print. Fifth Course.

"Franklin's Autobiography: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin of 81." Web. 05 Oct. 2011. .

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