Benjamin Franklin was extraordinarily famous for many accomplishments. He was an author, politician, printer, and one of America’s Founding Fathers. Franklin also discovered electricity, and invented bifocals, the lightning rod, Franklin stove, glass harmonica, odometer, and jokingly, daylight savings time. Franklin, living in Paris at the time, joked that the French slept in too late, that they wasted all the daylight. In Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, Franklin displays a subtle sense of humor throughout different forms of set pieces in the book, including his father’s religious devotion, using an alias, and his probable pride in humility.
In Part One of the Autobiography, Franklin jokes that while all nine of his older brothers became protégés of craft occupations, his father intended “to devote me as the Tithe of his Sons to the Service of the Church” (14). Franklin pokes fun at his father by implying that instead of donating a tenth of his income to the church, he ...view middle of the document...
Franklin is trying to have us believe that he is already a fantastic writer even though his older brother does not give him the credit. Franklin uses his humor by writing fourteen letters under his alias name Silence Dogood, and he thoroughly enjoyed doing this until he revealed himself after he was tired of his own joke. The image of Franklin in this passage presents him as a young man on the road to fame by proving that his letters were not only accepted, but also “made up the earliest essay series in America” (23). Some of the letters were also very humorously critical of different aspects of life a young Franklin had already encountered.
As Part Two comes to a close, Franklin seems to be giving advice on Pride to his audience. He not only jokes that no matter how much you “Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself”, but also humorously comments about how humble he has become, “For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my Humility” (88). Franklin is trying to make us believe that he is a humble person even though he is very successful and obviously proud of his success. His humor enables him to get this point across by advising his readers to embrace the pride of their accomplishments whether they are great or minor, as he has done. Franklin’s goal of presenting himself as a young man on the road to fame is exemplified by him stating that he has already accomplished so many goals and how he has learned to take pride in this work. Even though he tries to stay humble, his pride still projects from time to time.
Benjamin Franklin’s sense of humor is widely spread throughout his Autobiography. He not only makes fun of his family, but also himself. Although he talks about his accomplishments and his life, he also shows that he had a good time living it. Franklin is not necessarily known for his sense of humor, but it is a major part of his life and his Autobiography. His sense of humor and style of writing definitely show a difference side of Franklin other than the one that is read about in textbooks.