The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Essay

1063 Words5 Pages
In The Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin recounts the many paramount experiences throughout his life that shaped him into great American figure he was known to be. On the opening page, Franklin reveals the book’s epistolary format by writing, “Dear Son,” going on to admit that he’s made some mistakes in the past and to recollect that past is a way to relive it. By divulging his desire to “change some sinister Accidents & Events” (Franklin 3) the author indicates how important it is for his son to observe as he amends his mistakes. Pride, virtue and vanity play a pivotal role in Benjamin Franklin’s life and the way he portrays himself to others. Instances occur where the author is shown gloating about his great accomplishments and he puts…show more content…
Mather’s essays with emphasizing his enjoyment while reading Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Fascinatingly enough, the story depicts the Average Joe’s epic journey to release his feeling of torture over his sins. The author’s choice to include Pilgrim’s Progress in his list of influential texts is an obvious hyper textual parallel to Franklin’s own journey to absolve himself of his sins. Most people attempt to amend their mistakes soon after they occur, yet Benjamin Franklin differs in his great desire relive his life through The Autobiography in an effort to rectify past missteps. In Part 2, Franklin tells his son of his Quaker friend who questioned the author’s humility and suggests an addition to his list of virtues. Franklin, then a quasi-scientist of virtue, made a point of illustrating charts that mapped his progress in “acquir[ing] the Habitude of all these Virtues” (81). This Quaker insinuates that Franklin is too proud, which shakes the author’s hubris enough to inspire him to prove the Quaker wrong. After a mediocre effort to achieve Humility, which he could not “boast of much Success” (89), Franklin concludes that there is no harder human trait to suppress than Pride and it will inevitably show itself. Even though Benjamin’s willpower is portrayed with great

strength, he chooses to acknowledge Pride’s role in his life and accept defeat in his attempt to practice total Humility. His choice to acknowledge pride
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