Autobiography On Ben Franklin Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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likewise for his readers). Although Franklin focuses on learning rhetoric as the instrumental means of persuading men, he does so in order to better accomplish ends that benefit society at large, ends that may not necessarily benefit himself. Regarding religion, Franklin notes that he “grew convinc’d that Truth, Sincerity & Integrity in Dealings between Man & Man, were of the utmost Importance to the Felicity of Life” (Lemay 1359). Here Franklin claims that happiness comes not merely through one’s own hard work, independent of teachers, pupils, or peers, but rather through one’s loyal relations with others. Though Franklin considers this far forward of his discussion of his formative years, it is clear that Franklin places religion, which has the potential to be

intensely personal, in a thoroughly social context. Many readers may have trouble recognizing the moral worth of Franklin’s blatantly self-aware Autobiography. Franklin at times can seem merely self-serving. But by going through each major scene of Franklin’s early life in the first part of his Autobiography, we recognize that Franklin maintains a firm awareness of others. He sees others not as just gawkers at the great and mighty Franklin, which some are, but as people with their own ends, indispensable members of a nation being built collectively. His readers best learn from Franklin’s own self-awareness and efforts at self-improvement, and Franklin is pleased when they do start to take initiative in matters larger than themselves. Franklin conveys a concern for others

that at times even eclipses his concern for himself. As moral descendants of Benjamin Franklin we find profound moral worth in his extraordinary combination of self-serving and other-serving. Benjamin Franklin is simultaneously a friend of self and a friend of society.