We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
GO TO SAT PREP GO TO ACT PREP
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

  

by Benjamin Franklin

John Collins

Character Analysis

John Collins is one of Franklin's childhood besties, and his first writing buddy/intellectual companion. Early in the book, they have this sort of idyllic, long distance epistolary (a fancy way of saying letter-writing) relationship, where they write each other long tomes about big ideas and practice their argument skills. We know more about Franklin's letters than Collins's, but the point of their exchanges is how much they enjoy the process of improving their writing and stretching their brains out.

As young men, though, they drift apart. Franklin's excited to reunite with him in New York, but while they still share intellectual interests, Collins has become a gambling drunk. He relies on Franklin too much for money, while he himself is totally unreliable. Their friendship goes up in flames when Franklin tosses Collins off a boat, and Collins never pays Franklin back the money he owes him.

Advertisement