08.11.2019 in Book Report
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s work has been widely read over the ages and it has had allot of insight on the young individuals who are wondering on which direction to follow in pursuit of their dreams. An analysis of his writing style and the manner in which he presented his autobiography is important in shading light to young writer who has interest in the field. It is also important since through it ideas, styles, methods and techniques he uses can be critically analyzed to help understand the history he presented better. This is significant in that, it gives an in depth understanding of how he presented his ideas in manner of describing his life and how it all started and ended. The focus of this paper is a critique of Benjamin Franklin’s work, evaluating the autor’s ideas, presumtions and techniques of writing, drawing from the content of the work. 

Presentation of the Critique

In Benjamin’s work, his skilfulness is shown by way he introduces his autobiography, where he gives the audience a background of his life. As an individual who has achieved a lot in life, he does not start by telling the readers of the achievements he made. Instead, his style takes the readers back to his foundation. The aim he has, in this case, is to show that he did not start from a void, but from an origin not associated with his life achievements. 

For instance, at the beginning of his writing, there is sturning illustration of first his interest in life, the things he wanted to attain, those he was passionate about, as a child and latter on as a youth. However, it was unclear whether he did achieve them or not. This is quite satisfying since he addresses the topic that his thesis has presented, and that is to tell us what kind of life he lived then. The author is also bold enough to put it down in writing by telling the audience he is writing to, that despite the fact that he had his own life interests, the society and his close allies also had their expectations on him. This is shown at the beginning of the autobiography when Franklin states that “being that his father was poor and had huge family, seventeen children, he wanted him to be a minister”. But after realizing the few opportunities in the field the father, Josiah, thought that trade will be a better place for his son. This is quit complicated since he was interested in reading and writing. So Franklin had to be apprenticed to his brother James who was a printer. This then contradicts his first statement in the beginning that every individual is bound to pursue what he or she wants in life. Therefore it can be said that at some points his work deviates from what him personally believes in.


In this manner, the author tries to drive his point home in his autobiography that in life there are those put there to shape our lives to what we have been destined to be. Through this means a keen reader can identify that he is trying to present idea of order and reason which are the main things he staunchly believed. Apart from this his style of presenting his initial ideas can be countered with arguments that, autobiography can also be written by presenting the achievements first and that needs of bombarding the audience with background of an individual seems unnecessary. Therefore, it should be presented at the concluding stage of the writing.

When comparing his achievements and the goals that he had in life, a precise conclusion can be made that. He was aware of what he wanted in life and he began to make a chase of the same at a very early age. This can be seen in his statement that “his desires to attain moral perfection in life, downed on him during one of his long voyage”. Conversely, that was the trans-Atlantic voyage. With this it can be said that the author is on his channel to achieve what he wanted to present in his writing. And this is to tell people how his life was, and this is not only the present prosperous life but right from the beginning.

It is apparent that, with close analysis, goals and themes that the author is presenting are properly matching with the he expresses and in this case it to give a narrative of his life, the experiences he has accumulated over time and lessons learnt during the period. Therefore logically speaking it, it is clear that his achievements, step by step leads him to his destination and desires in life. This can be seen by finding himself from one situation to another. And all of them he is required to exercise what he believes should be done (order, reason, human perfectibility) which he is pursuit of. After retiring from business in 1748, he becomes a civil servant and here he finds himself in many occasions needed to strike a balance between warring parties and ensure that order exists between them.

Despite of the proper analysis he gives about his background and their family when they were growing up. The author is not providing enough information on his own family. This leaves the audience in suspense. He tells his readers whether he did marry or not. Whether in his marriage he managed to get children or he failed to. As a result it can be said that, the author is majorly concerned about is career life and not social life as well. This is therefore inadequate information to most of audience, leading to conclusion that there is a failure to attain the goals and theses of his writing.

Even though he proves his arguments on why he found himself in the exact path that he longed for, it can be said that this is not adequate enough to justify his writing as a well detailed writing since other subjects like his education are left unattended to. The writer after letting his audience know his background he bothers not to tell them where did he acquired that education which made him that prosperous and how.

About providing evidence for some of his writings and achievements, it appeared that he properly dates them to the exact time that these events took place. This gives interested readers to have the ability to make reference on accuracy of such events. For instance while telling us of Admirals death and what happened that led to his son William obtaining a land in North America. The author associates it with such events like English civil War which took place between 1642 and 1649.

Therefore, the author utilizes his evidences and resources he uses in his literal work in a way that is convincing. By providing exact dates of the evident, it implies that he is aware of what he writes about and not making gaze on his work. The other is not in any way using sophisticated methods of work presentation since his work does not require such methods. He therefore keeps his literature simple so that any reader can conveniently read and understand without need of interpretation.

On his moral argument, Franklin postulates that, whoever is inspired by an inbuilt force to make change will always see thing in a different perspective in his environment. And that every encounter that he or she comes a cross is an opportunity to exercise. He could make use of any situations in his environment and create things out of it. For instance he records that when he was a boy he had the need to propel himself through the water, so he fashioned a swim fins to help him do that. This is clear in his record as an aged man, he managed to combine his two pair of glasses into one to enable him see distance things as well as help him in reading. He also shapes his work in an intellectual and philosophical way just to justify the field he dedicated his entire life as Gordon Wood postulates.

He attends to issues of society and the classes that exist in it, he sees rulers or those in authority to be better placed to determine most of the daily activities and evident of the society. In this regard, he sides with most of the writer who have spoken how the society is stratified and manner in which inequality exists in it. In his approach, he suggest that, those lower in rank or otherwise the economically challenged in the society cannot break from their cocoon by not struggling to tear apart the forces that holds them there. In his perspective, he sees that curiosity, struggle and desire to be major forces driving people`s achievements.


In summary, the author’s arguments are explicitly presented in a way to suggest that, possession of power in the society gives other people advantage over others. However, the view is that those dominated by realizing their potentials they can as well build their powers and come out of the domination. It can also be held that the work is perfectly presented in his style but has similarities with other literal works in manner it approaches the subject stated in the thesis and how they are attended.

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