UNIT 3 disc THREADS ENG241 - Thread Franklin and the...

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Thread: Franklin and the Autobiography ------------------DONE Franklin dedicates this Autobiography to his Son, but is this real audience? Who do you think is the audience for his Autobiography? And what do you think his purpose is? How does Franklin's life reveal a dependence on Human Reason? How does he use Reason to improve not only his own life, but society in general? What is Franklin's "world view" and how is it different from the Puritan writers we encountered earlier in our readings? What episodes in his Autobiography do you feel are particularly or revealing? Explain. Discuss your personal reaction: Did you enjoy this reading? What is your personal reaction to Franklin's story? What parts of the story do you find most interesting? Benjamin Franklin was the tenth son in a family of fifteen children. He grew up to become an apprentice, businessman, writer, inventor, scientist, and minister. The audience of the reading is not just his son. The audience is the general public, or the reader. However, Franklin mentions that the first part of his autobiography is dedicated to his son. “William was later to become governor of New Jersey and a Loyalist during the Revolution; Franklin addressed the first part of his Autobiography to him” (456). The purpose of his autobiography is to record his memories, achievements, and the experiences he had in major historic events. “Thing most like living one’s life over again, seems to be a recollection of that life; and to make that recollection as durable as possible, the putting is down in writing”(482). Franklin knew a lot about people, and what they expected, especially in the area of business and commercialism. “Franklin had an uncanny instinct for success and knew that the new commercialism demanded that anyone in business assume a public persona that best served his and his client’s interests, even if it masked one’s true self” (456). He used human reason to improve his life by wanting to be known for his qualities and skills. “He taught himself French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin and yet was shrewd enough to know that people did not like to do business with merchants who were smarter than themselves” (456). Along with his thoughts on human reason, Franklin also had his own world-view. Franklin emphasized that education was important, and could change the lives of every individual. “Franklin believed that people were naturally innocent, and that all the mysteries that charmed the religious mind could be explained to our advantage, and that education, properly undertaken, would transform our lives and set us free from the tyrannies of church and monarchy” (456). He had illusions about the errata of humankind. His world-view is different from the Puritan writers because, he does not stress the power of God. Franklin believed that we could change our past in a way that the word sins does not (456).
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