The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
How would you describe Franklin writing style?
What does the Autobiography tell us about the 18th century?
What is the purpose of the Autobiography, and how does that purpose change throughout the work?
Franklin often struggles to strike a balance between promoting humility and promoting his accomplishments. How successful is he in maintaining this balance?
Discuss Franklin's optimism as a young man versus the diminished optimism he has as an adult looking back on his life. How do the two work together?
Franklin intended the Autobiography to be a unified work; he drew up an outline and tried to stick with it. In what ways does the book seem to be unified? How can one tell that the book was written over the course of 18 years?
What motivates Franklin? Why does he choose to spend so much of his life making things better for his fellow countrymen?
How does Franklin employ humor in the Autobiography? Pick several instances and comment on them.
What are some of the major flaws in the Autobiography? What problems does it face and how do those problems come about?
"Franklin was a shameless self-promoter with numerous achievements, almost all of which were accomplished primarily to gain himself fame and bragging rights. Moreover, he was blindly idealistic, and did not concern himself with Americans not as lucky as himself." Defend or refute this statement.
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