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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

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Setting

Franklin begins his story in Boston, MA and ends it in London, England, but spends most of his story in Philadelphia, PA. In the Autobiography, Philadelphia's development into a "grown-up" city par...

Narrator Point of View

This is a traditional autobiography, so the author, narrator, and main character are all the same person. Seems obvious, right? Let us explain why it's complicated. See, there's Franklin as author,...

Genre

Franklin's book defines itself as an autobiography in its title and we're sticking to that. Traditionally, an autobiography can be basically defined as "a connected narrative in which an individual...

Tone

More than anything, we think Franklin's tone is smart and self-deprecating. He's the first to say when he screws up (for example, borrowing money or ditching his girlfriend), he's pretty aware of w...

Writing Style

Franklin's writing style is plain and pragmatic, almost journalistic. When describing the events he includes in the Autobiography, he's direct about what happens to him and how he feels about it. I...

What's Up With the Title?

As titles go, this one's straightforward. That's fitting for a man like Franklin, who seems like a pretty upstanding, plainspoken sort of guy. Reading his book, we get the sense that Franklin's a s...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of Franklin's Autobiography is kind of a problem because, well, there isn't a proper one. Franklin was in the middle of writing Part 4 when he died, and at that point he's only just fini...

Tough-o-Meter

At first reading the Autobiography seems pretty straightforward. Franklin's not a fancy guy, and he's self-educated. It's not like the book is full of Latin phrases or peppered with allusions, like...

Plot Analysis

As a kid, Franklin's apprenticed to his brother, but he hates working there and runs away to Philadelphia.Like any good fairy tale hero, Franklin's stuck in a bad family situation and wants to stri...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Rags to Riches

Franklin hates being apprenticed to his brother and runs away to Philadelphia.This beginning is about as traditional as you can get: as a kid, Franklin's pulled out of school, which he loves, to wo...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Franklin grows up, becomes a Philadelphia printer, and gets involved with politics. He's trying to make his state a better place by developing things like schools and a military when the French and...

Trivia

Franklin invented swim fins and the glass armonica. (Source)Try playing the glass armonica online. He also invented bifocals. (Source)Franklin came up with the phrase, "An ounce of prevention is wo...

Steaminess Rating

As Franklin describes himself, he's frugal and full of virtue, so there's not a lot of steaminess in this book. While he makes a few asides about spending time with prostitutes – he says he's...

Allusions

Geneva Bible (1.6)Leviticus (1.51)Exodus (1.53)Psalm 18 (1.53)Philippians (2.1)James II (2.56)New Testament (2.12)Cotton Mather, The Wonderful Work of Christ in America (1.8)John Bunyan, Pilgrim's...
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