Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography: the Role of Keimer Essay

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In Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Samuel Keimer is a character who represents the antithesis of Franklin. The development of Keimer not only improves the reader's understanding of the minor character, but also of Franklin, the major character. Franklin makes a point of showing the reader each of Keimer's faults and contrasting them with his own merits.<br><br>When Keimer is first introduced to the reader, he is in very much the same circumstances as Franklin; they are two young men trying to make a fresh start in a new town, the only difference being Keimer's economic, and thereby social, advantage. In comparison to Franklin, however, Keimer is a flawed and immoral man; this difference is what makes him the ideal model for Franklin to…show more content…
Franklin, however, eats and drinks little and often goes on vegetarian diets; he has been quoted as saying, "Eat to live, and not live to eat."2 Also, when Franklin resolves to do something, he always follows up and does it, including his resolutions to start his own printing house, to become a morally perfect person, and to correct his errata. <br><br>The second virtue is Silence; Franklin has many opportunities to speak libelously against others, especially against Keimer, but often chooses not to, except against certain political issues published anonymously. Keimer chooses to use the scene outside of the courthouse as a medium to emphasize his superior position in their relationship; it is Keimer's complete disregard for this value that leads to Franklin's resignation. Keimer also has trouble with the third of Franklin's virtues, Order, as Hugh Meredith reminds Franklin "that Keimer was in debt for all he possess'd, that his Creditors began to be uneasy, that he kept his Shop miserably, sold often without Profit for ready Money, and often trusted without keeping Account. That he must therefore fail" (BFA 44).<br><br>The sixth virtue, Industry, is of tremendous importance to Franklin's success; he states repeatedly that time should never be wasted: "I never went out a-fishing or shooting" (BFA 54).
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