The Myth Of Success According To Benjamin Franklin's "Autobiography"

592 words - 3 pages


“The Autobiography” written over a period of 19 years (1771-1790) by Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790) and published by John Bigelow in 1868 is the main topic of this term paper. Before he was able to finish his longest and most important work, Franklin became ill and died at the age of 85 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because of that, “The Autobiography” contains only four parts and I decided to focus on the second part, especially the 13 “moral Virtues” (Franklin 284), since he lived by them for a long time.
This work does not just tell us the story of his life, but also teaches every single one of us how to become a better person and achieve great things in life. Franklin himself was born into the lower middle-class and chose to become more than just a printer contrary to the will of his brother James. As we all know, he became one of the most important persons in ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, I will show the different views concerning Franklin´s work – back then and today – to highlight the changes in society.

Benjamin Franklin – A major figure in the American Enlightenment

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 6, 1705 in Boston to Josiah and Abiah Folger Franklin into the lower middle-class.
At the age of 9 he attended school, but his parents could not afford it and so he had to quit after only two years1, but three years later he was able to start an apprenticeship at the printing house of his brother James in Boston.


Primary Literature:

Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter Seventh Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York & London: Norton, 2008. 230-292.

Secondary Literature:

Arch, Stephen C. “Benjamin Franklin´s Autobiography, then and now.” The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Carla Mulford. Cambridge: University Press, 2008. 159-171.

Gura, Philipp F. American Literature 1700-1820. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter Seventh Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York & London: Norton, 2008. 151-161.

Huang, Nian-Sheng and Mulford, Carla. “Benjamin Franklin and the American Dream.” The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Carla Mulford. Cambridge: University Press, 2008. 145-158.

Kelleter, Frank. “Franklin and the Enlightenment.” The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Carla Mulford. Cambridge: University Press, 2008. 77-90.

Lemay, J.A. Leo. “Franklin´s Autobiography and the American Dream.” Bloom´s Literary Themes: The American Dream. Ed. Blake Hobby. New York: Bloom´s Literary Criticism, 2009. 21-36.

Zuck, Rochelle R. “Chronology of Franklin´s Life”. The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Carla Mulford. Cambridge: University Press, 2008. xiv-xxii.
1 He attended two different schools in two years.

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