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Character Role Analysis

Benjamin Franklin

As the hero/central character of the Autobiography, Franklin has lots in common with the traditional protagonist figure. Some critics even see him as the hero of a bildüngsroman – the story of a young person's growth – like David Copperfield or Jane Eyre. Considering that we meet Franklin as a young boy in poor circumstances and follow him through his education, as well as conflicts big and small, this makes a lot of sense. Along the way, we watch him make what will become a modern city. We don't see his story come to a complete conclusion, like what a fictional work's protagonist might experience, but the lack of a proper "end" to his journey doesn't take away from the beginning or the middle. Like we say in our "Character Analysis" of Franklin, he really is the center of this book, almost entirely the sum of its parts. Without him, this book has no raison d'être, or reason for being. If that's not a good position for a protagonist to be in, we don't know what is.