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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: Analysis by Slices

(refer to the title)AP Lang independent book reading project, SMIC Private School 2012 Q1, Ellim Kim (11C)

ellim kim

on 15 October 2012

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Transcript of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: Analysis by Slices

The Autobiography of
Benjamin Franklin analysis by slices Paragon Humble "Some People" Benjamin Franklin presented by
Ellim Kim 1711: Franklin left Boston after some conflicts with his brother. He settled in Pennsylvania, where worked under a printer named Keimer. 1736: Benjamin Franklin was named as the Clerk of Pennsylvania Assembly.

1737: He was appointed as postmaster of Philadelphia. Birth apprentice II multi-
career Timeline of
Benjamin Franklin
in short apprentice 1718: At the age of 12, Franklin began to work as a Printer apprentice under his brother (James Franklin) in Boston. 1724: With "encouragement" from Governor Keith, who he had acquainted in Pennsylvania, Franklin went to England. There, he worked as a printer to pay for his journey back to America. printer 1725: After returned to Pennsylvania, Franklin worked under Thomas Denham, a printer he had met in England.
1727: After Denham's death, Franklin was rehired by Keimer. 1728: He opened his own printing shop in Pennsylvania, and later he took over Keimer’s "Pennsylvania Gazette" (local newspaper). 1741: He invented "Franklin Stove."

1752: After conducing electricity experiments in Pennsylvania, he received medal from the Royal Society of London. 1754: In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin drafted Albany Plan, though it was rejected. Click to Play - the reason behind the title Style - How Did Benjamin Franklin Write? Benjamin Franklin uses simple, clear and candid style of writing to describe his life, just like a father telling his little boy a story. Below is a sample text from <The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin>:

“My Hopes of Success as I told him were founded on this, that the then only Newspaper, printed by Bradford was a paltry thing, wretchedly manag’d, no way entertaining; and yet was profitable to him. I therefore thought a good Paper could scarcely fail of good Encouragement. I requested Webb not to mention it, but he told it to Keimer, who immediately, to be beforehand with me, published Proposals for Print one himself, on which Webb was to be employ’d. I resented this, and to counteract them, as I could not yet begin our Paper, I wrote several Pieces of Entertainment for Bradford’s Paper, under the Title of the Busy Body with Breintnall continu’d some Months” (438).

Though most sentences are long, they are made up of short clauses, delivering the ideas with clarity. The conjunctions are used powerfully, hitting on the accurate notion it meant to convey. The frequent usage of commas has broken down the complicated sentence structures, approaching the readers easily. Benjamin Franklin is known for being a man of virtues. Ironically, Benjamin Franklin has kept an arrogant and subjective tone throughout the text. Most cases, Franklin glorified himself as a man of virtue, the perfect model for every man to follow; and to accentuate himself as the protagonist, Franklin attacked others who went against him and gave them bad names. Below section is taken from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and Franklin was describing his other fellow apprentices in Pennsylvania.

“He drank on however, and had 4 or 5 Shillings to pay out of his Wages every Saturday Night for that muddling Liquor; an Expense I was free from. And thus these poor Devils keep themselves always under (in poverty)” (437).

He looked down at his fellow apprentices with contempt, calling them “poor Devils” and the drinks as being “muddling.” Instead of attempting to help the others, Franklin rather expressed his feeling of luckiness, attempting to impress the readers by highlighting himself as a frugal and righteous man. Tone - How Did Benjamin Speak His Words? After Benjamin Franklin wrote his Thirteen Virtues, he expressed his will to publish this under the title of "Art of Virtue", as he wanted teach others how to obtain the virtue. He used a well-known allusion to the Bible (James II, 15-16) to imply that the action of those who only spoke of virtues but never made efforts to create practical guidelines for gaining virtues was as hypocritical as only giving empty words to the Naked and the Hungry. The familiar simile created by through the allusion easily convince the reader to support Franklin's sentiment. Analysis by Slices “I should have called my Book the Art of Virtue, because it would have shown the Means and Manner of obtaining Virtue; which would have distinguish’d it from the mere Exhortation to be good, that does not instruct and indicate the Means; but is like the Apostle’s Man of verbal Charity, who only, without showing to the Naked and the Hungry how or where they might get Clothes or Victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed” (468). Example #4 “I went on pleasantly, but poor Keimer suffered grievously, tired of the project, long’d for the flesh-pots of Egypt, and order’d a roast pig (...) he could not resist the temptation, and ate the whole before we came” (432). Example #3 The text showed contemptuous attitude toward the Ironmonger who took Franklin's Stove into sale. Franklin called the Ironmonger making “little Fortunes.” The word “fortune” not only contains the meaning of “wealth” but also conveys the sense of “luck.” As his own life being an example, Franklin believed that success comes from diligence; therefore a mere “fortune” made by the Ironmonger, the text asserts, is despicable.
After criticizing the Ironmonger, Franklin explained the reason he did not claim back his rights was because he believed that everyone should benefit from technological development; this, compared to the greedy Ironmonger who was busy making some money, erectly set Franklin as a paragon of virtues. Analysis by Slices “An Ironmonger in London, however, after assuming a good deal of my Pamphlet and working it up into his own...got a Patent for it there, and made as I was told a little Fortune by it” (486).
“(...) as we enjoy great Advantages from the Inventions of Others, we should be glad of an Opportunity to serve others by any Invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously (…) I never contested, as having no Desire of profiting by Patents myself, and hating Disputes” (486). Example #2 Through the comparison of his brother and other apprentices (who are much older than him) squandering their golden time into eating and Franklin himself devoting every available moment into polishing himself, Franklin set himself as the paragon of “temperance in eating and drinking.” Analysis by Slices “My Brother and the rest going from the Printing-House to their Meals (…) I remain’d there alone, and dispatching presently my light Repast, (which often was no more than a Biscuit or a Slice of Bread, a Handful of Raisins or a Tart from the Pastry Cook’s, and a Glass of Water) had the rest of the Time till their Return, for Study, in which I made the greater Progress from that greater Clearness of Head and quicker Apprehension which usually attend Temperance in Eating and Drinking” (p. 417). Example #1 Franklin had believed to the words of an untrustworthy Governor Keith and went to England. It must have been quite embarrassing for Franklin, as in the later text his acquaintance laughed at Franklin for believing the words of the Governor. To be an honest man, rather than distorting the facts, Franklin decided to record this event as it had happened. However, to justify his stand, Franklin artfully used a rhetorical question: “Yet unsolicited as he was by me, how could I think his generous Offers insincere?” Here, instead of admitting his carelessness on trusting other people, Franklin shifted the arrow of blame to Governor, and made himself an innocent victim of deceptive Governor. Analysis by Slices “Yet unsolicited as he was by me, how could I think his generous Offers insincere? I believ’d him one of the best Men in the World” (430). Example #5 “The flesh-pots of Egypt” is a biblical allusion of ungrateful Israelis complaining to God, quarreling with Moses to go back to Egypt. This asserted Keimer’s lack of patience, and portrayed him as an unwise man who, like Israeli, became short-sighted for immediate physical discomfort. As Israelis had to wander through the desert for forty years, Franklin was also suggesting that Keimer would not be successful in the future and would not arrive at Canaan. (Indeed, Keimer’s newspaper Pennsylvania Gazette failed and was taken over by Franklin). Analysis by Slices …was different from others. His principle of life “The Officers meeting chose me to be Colonel of the Regiment, which I this time accepted (…) [The people] would salute me with some Rounds fired before my Door, which shook down and broke several Glasses of my Electrical Apparatus” (509). Example #1 “Mine happen’d to be prefer’d, and with a few Amendments was accordingly reported” (495). Example #2 Benjamin Franklin was appointed as the leader of the Academy Trustees, and he used only one sentence to tell the readers why he was appointed. With a simple adverb “merely,” Franklin had artfully trivialized his virtue of honesty, appearing himself to be modest; at the same time, this sentence revealed Franklin’s most reverent and upright virtue of honesty. Also, if he had explicitly described why he was the fittest for the office, then the readers would have considered Franklin being ostentatious; however, through this understatement, Franklin cunningly escaped the mention his other adroitness and skills that made him the leader; Analysis by Slices “At length one mention’d me, with the Observation that I was merely an honest Man, and of no Sect at all; which revail’d with them to choose me” (487). Example #1 Franklin rarely described his feeling or his reaction in some triumphant moments of his life. Sometimes he chose to move to another topic swiftly, like a shy child who "escapes" the podium after receiving an award. However, even without Franklin's stress on his achievement, the readers are well aware of the significance of his glories, and also that Franklin is deliberately skipping the description, and they conclude that Franklin was being modest.
When Franklin was appointed to be the Colonel of the Regiment, he plainly wrote: “The Officers meeting chose me to be Colonel of the Regiment, which I this time accepted” (509). Instead of describing the exciting moments of people hailing and saluting to him, Franklin chose to write a trivial event, of his glasses getting broken. By intentionally omitting his personal feeling or detailed description on the glory he received, Franklin effectively made him a modest man to the readers. Analysis by Slices …very professionally. He went off topic During the Continental Congress, the delegates chose and passed Franklin’s Albany plan, and Franklin again used another understatement. The word “prefer’d” suggested that all other resolutions had the equal or similar values as Franklin’s, but it was just more favored; also, the word reflected Franklin’s self-effacement at the same time, for lowering himself under other delegates at the Congress. Analysis by Slices …was used to praise him. His understatement An acquaintance who he did not name had tempted Benjamin Franklin to playing chess with him. As Franklin realized he did not have enough time to read and study, he proposed a bet to his acquaintance: the winner each chess game can impose a task on the loser (474). Example #2 After seeing his skilled and well-educated friend Collins declining from a Post-office Clerk with steady income to a drunkard and a gambler, Franklin learned the perilousness of intemperance (428-429). Example #1 Blaming Quaker’s pacifist principle of “no kind of War was lawful”, Franklin gave a vivid imagery of a man blinded by fogs, who believed what he was seeing was a perfectly clear sight. This simile is easy to perceive, for most people would had had experiences of trapping in the fog at least once. Comparing the Quakers (who spoke against the revolution) to a man who was not aware of any dangers because he could not see any, Franklin was, at the same time, warning the people that those who escaped the inevitable war (American Revolution) would face disastrous outcome. Analysis by Slices “Like a man traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, tho’ in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them” (485). Example #2 This simile brought out Keimer’s envy, as in many folktales and fables a pig is thought to be slothful and greedy. The word “poison’d” is also an excellent choice, creating striking imagery of a poisoned pig which cannot eat anymore even with the desire to do so. Franklin had, though not explicitly, well portrayed the jealousy of Keimer when Governor Keith had came to visit Franklin. Analysis by Slices In this incident, Franklin had wistfully saved himself from wasting time on chess game without offending his acquaintance; this anecdote illustrated Franklin’s canniness and productiveness, on contrast to his acquaintance who spent his free time in useless entertainment such as chess games. Analysis by Slices The lesson Benjamin Franklin learned from his old Friend Collins gives a classical moral: liquor ruins your life. While the moral of the story is well-conveyed with simple style, the tone of the selection is overall blaming Collins and defending Franklin. For example, after Franklin threw Collins into the river at night (because Collins refused to row for his turn), Franklin immediately wrote: “I knew [Collins] was a good Swimmer,” as if trying to escape the blame of putting his friend in danger. Analysis by Slices …that make Franklin look good, again. Little anecdotes “I was not a little surpris’d, and Keimer star’d like a Pig poison’d” (426). Example #1 …were used to compare and contrast. His similes American Dream

Ideal Virtues

Began Alone, Ended Accompanied

Power of Communication Why Did
Benjamin Franklin
Write This? In the beginning, it seemed impossible for Benjamin Franklin to succeed in society - his father was a poor candle maker in Boston with 17 children and two wives to take care of, and he could not afford Benjamin to go to school; after only learning to read and write on the basic level, Benjamin Franklin began to work at the age of 12, and he left Boston penniless when he was 17. However, despite all the difficulties, Franklin had succeeded as a printer, a scientist and a political figure. The victorious life of Benjamin Franklin set an example of American Dream - that no matter what background one is from, as long as one works hard, it is possible for him or her to live successfully. Franklin wrote the book to teach his son - and other readers - of this principle, encouraging them to be diligent and passionate on their works and improve themselves, because the opportunities are always waiting for them. American Dream The most famous part of this autobiography is Franklin's "Thirteen Virtues." Although it is not possible for one to be perfect (as Franklin himself had acknowledged), it is still possible to live virtuously with less mistakes. After reading about how Franklin trained and polished himself to be a man of virtue, the readers are also encouraged to take references from his guidelines to develop their own virtue
Through various examples, Franklin praised frugality and temperance as the most valuable virtues. Franklin asserted his belief that a civilized man must have control over himself, and in doing so he also attempted to preach the readers to learn to behave themselves rationally than instinctively. Ideal Virtue Benjamin Franklin began his own career after he left Boston from his family, alone. However, he could not have been the "Benjamin Franklin" as we know today if he was all alone throughout his life. Without helps from anyone, Franklin would not have succeeded: if he had not met Bradford, then he wouldn't have settled in Pennsylvania; if he had not been to England, then he wouldn't have the chance to opened his own printing shop; if he hadn't met friends in Junto (debate group), then he wouldn't have acquired broad range of knowledge; and there are more of such examples.
Throughout the book, Franklin showed his deep gratitude to some people who had influenced or assisted him greatly in his life. These acknowledgments of Franklin suggested that society is a complicated network of dependency, and that people can begin independently, but at last they will need helps to accomplish something bigger. Began Alone, Ended Accompanied Just like other people influenced Benjamin Franklin, Franklin himself had influenced other people's ideas, through his newspapers and pamphlets. Franklin was well aware of the power of communication, as he was carefully in choosing what to write on his newspaper and pamphlets. In some events, Franklin's words were used as a powerful tool to mobilize people (helping Dr. Thomas Bond to build hospital), while in some events his words were used against him (his pamphlets were fulminated for containing atheism ideas). Using his life as an example, Benjamin Franklin had warned the readers to use the power of communication wisely and carefully. Power of Communication The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was overall an enjoyable reading, and I especially learned a profound lesson from Franklin’s thirteen virtues. Deeply inspired by Franklin’s daily schedule, I decided to adjust my sleeping time – apparently, I realized, I have spend too much time on sleeping. Now I am sleeping at ten and getting up at five, following what Franklin did (of course, with some difficulty). The process of poor boy Benjamin Franklin growing up to be a prestigious figure of America encouraged me very much as well; for me, the story of his life is sending a message to me: “Just like me, you can also start from the last and be the first at last.” I have been worried that my Korean language skills will never improve, but not anymore; I may have begun late in learning Korean Literature, but I will catch up with most Korean students.
However, I would have liked the book more if it was more polished - the lengthy sentences sometimes hindered me from comprehending the text, dates of some events are inaccurately cited with wrong figures, and most importantly – the book is not finished!
Though these factors made sometimes confused and frustrated, overall, I was delighted in reading such a great book that gives motivations and incentives to work harder, and I would certainly recommend it to my fellow classmates. Personal Response When the printer made an erratum, he would adjust the printing press to fix it; when Benjamin Franklin made a mistake, he would correct himself.
Franklin delivered such message that like a typo on a paper, a mistake is always correctable. Can he correct an Erratum? “The breaking into this money of Vernon’s was one of the first great errata of my life; and this affair show’d that my father was not much out in his judgment when he suppos’d me too young to manage business of importance” (429). Erratum #2 The first erratum Franklin recognized was him signing a Term that granted his brother, James Franklin, to continue printing newspaper – now under Benjamin Franklin’s name. It was a mistake for Benjamin Franklin, because he then was under the danger of being arrested (if the newspaper contained false information), and he could not be freed from his brother’s printing shop. He recognized the Term as a hindrance to his own dream. Because the Term was not contributing to his future, he considered it as an erratum. Analysis by Slices Franklin refers to certain incidents in his life as “errata.” Considering him being a Printer, and the significance of those incidents, it can be inferred that his “erratum” means unnecessary part of his life, which did not make his life smooth and almost ruined his prestige. Wait - what is an erratum? “At length, a fresh difference arising between my brother and me, I took upon me to assert my freedom, presuming that he would not venture to produce the new indentures. It was not fair in me to take this advantage, and this I therefore reckon one of the first errata of my life” (421). Erratum #1 “Mr. Vernon, about this time, put me in mind of the debt I ow’d him, but did not press me. I wrote him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment, crav’d his forbearance a little longer, which he allow’d me, and as soon as I was able, I paid the principal with interest, and many thanks; so that erratum was in some degree corrected” (449).

Instead of trying to escape his erratum (debt to Mr. Vernon), Franklin faced the problem directly, solving the problem step by step. Correction #2 noun. (pl. -ta)
a printer’s term for error in printing. erratum Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, 1706. His father was a poor candle-maker. Symbolism http://ishare.iask.sina.com.cn/f/34233634.html How did Benjamin Franklin express himself louder? Download your test with the answer key at: Thank you for viewing this prezi. You have finished!
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