Sunday, August 28, 2011

Benjamin Franklin- Autobiography

In the beginning of Chapter One it seems like that the Autobiography is being addressed to Benjamin Franklin by maybe his father. The author states little things that try to jog Benjamin's memory about things they did when he was younger when he was with his father. I do not really understand what the author is trying to talk about in the first four paragraphs of this autobiography. In the last four paragraphs Benjamin is talking about how he felt feverish and sick as he started his journey to Philadelphia for a better job. He described the journey there as kind of a nightmare because it was raining and he was already feeling sick before he approached the boat. Once he arrived in Burlington he was taking in his surroundings and getting used to the area in which he was about to look for a job in. He mentioned a doctor who knew a lot about the area and helped him with minor details about Burlington. In the end of Chapter One he states how he found somewhere to sleep that night at a local inn and how he felt poor because he hadn't found a job yet. Chapter One was a bit confusing to me in the beginning and I didn't really understand what the author was trying to tell me. Can anyone help me with the first four paragraphs?

In Chapter Two Benjamin starts to wander the town and figure out where everything is. He stops along his journey to buy him some bread in which he gives two pieces away to a mother and child, like such a gentleman. He then eventually finds the printer shop in which he is looking for a job. The first printer shop doesn't have any work available so they send him to the only other printer shop in the town. Benjamin begins to wander around the town and starts to become a friendlier person and mingle with others. He meets a Quaker man and by their dialogue you can tell that they have a different way of saying things. For example he says in paragraph three of chapter  two "If thee wilt walk with me, I'll show thee a better." When reading the text throughout the autobiography, Benjamin doesn't speak in that dialect. Throughout the second chapter Benjamin stays at a different inn during the week. They feed him well but also questioned his background to make sure he isn't a stranger from another country. The owner of the final printer shop doesn't have anything for him to do as well that is permanent but he gives him a few minor jobs to do to occupy time until a position becomes available. When Benjamin went to Keimer's he figured out that the shop wasn't as professional as he expected. He soon learned that the printers were very "old school" and that Bradford and Keimer didn't really know how to operate them, so they job was left up to him. Once Benjamin had become acquaint with the town he began to become accustomed to the people that lived there and get along with everyone. He received a letter from his friend that he kept in touch with saying that his absence from Boston was a change and they were offering him a position to come back and work there, but Benjamin politely declined.

In Chapter Six it starts out with letters to Benjamin Franklin from people that seem to admire him and his abilities to affect society. When reading the letters I did not really understand what the men were trying to tell Benjamin at first but as I read farther down into the letter they were trying to persuade him to be a better person and not to change the way he was due to the opinions of other people. In the first letter I was really confused at what the author of it was trying to tell Benjamin. In the second letter it seemed like the writer looked up to Benjamin as a role model and wanted him to pursue his goals in life. Benjamin proceeded to write after the letters ended that he hadn't really had time to read the letters and respond back but he would try his best to do so. Benjamin then describes his environment around him and the workk he participated in. He mentions how poor people were back then and didn't have enough money to start much of any type of ongoing business. Benjamin then goes on to describe his home life and his family and how expensive things were and in what small demand they were in back then. The way money was portrayed then really is completely different from the way it is now. Benjamin also describes his religion and what he believes in and how it affects his life. Religion was a very important aspect of life back then and it defined who you were and how you got along with society. He states that he didn't attend service regularly but he paid his dues and practiced the 13 virtues that followed the characteristics of being Presbyterian. The 13 virtues resemble the 10 commandments in a way but they also go along with what you as a person think is right and what is wrong. Benjamin describes how he came up with this chart to record the virtues and how he focuses on one and let the other ones ease by. I don't really understand his process in how he determines this chart. Benjamin goes on to describe how he uses the 13 virtues in his everyday life and which ones gives him the most trouble. In Chapter Six, I had trouble figuring out the concept of the last few paragraphs and what Benjamin was trying to express to the reader. The way people talked back then is completely different from how it is now and it's a little confusing to understand when your not used to reading things that aren't from the 21st century. Can anyone help me on this?

1 comment:

  1. Looks good so far, Khrystal. Make sure you write down specific questions to ask in class on Wednesday - for instance, in paragraph one, what does Franklin mean by... What did you find most interesting in Franklin? Why?