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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin

Education Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

My early Readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read) and the Opinion of all [my father's] Friends that I should certainly make a good Scholar, encourag'd him in this Purpose of his [of sending Franklin to school]. (1.9)

These words seem to convey a desire for readers to know about Franklin's precocity. His ability to read is tied up in his memory of and knowledge about himself. He can't recall a version of himself that couldn't read. It's interesting, too, that the root of "readiness" and "read" is the same – this connection helps us associate the qualities of eagerness and preparedness with the act of reading, just as Franklin seems to do throughout his text.

Quote #2

From a child I was fond of Reading, and all the little Money that came into my Hands was ever laid out in Books. (1.15)

If there's one thing we get out of this book, it's how much Franklin likes to read. To which we say: great! Us too. Here Franklin is also connecting money to education, though. The act of reading, through purchasing books, becomes a reward for working for and saving money. Reading and education become prizes for industry and thrift. It doesn't hurt that education, as a kind of self-betterment, can also be seen as a virtue. Instead, it leads to a cycle where education brings out good qualities, which lead to the desire for more education.

Quote #3

Often I sat up in my Room reading the greatest Part of the Night, when the Book was borrow'd in the Evening and to be return'd early in the Morning lest it should be miss'd or wanted. (1.16)

Franklin loves to learn so much that he's willing to lose sleep over it. Because he's been working a traditional day job since he was a pre-teen, he's constantly making up for lost time. He also doesn't have a lot of money. This scene, then, shows his resourcefulness and determination. He makes use of every possible spare moment, by reading when he should be resting, and borrows books instead of buying them.

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