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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


by Benjamin Franklin

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Smart and Self-deprecating

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 what's going on in his own head, and he's usually found working on improving either himself or his surroundings. Let's be honest: Franklin's got tons of achievements and, if anyone has a right to be cocky and egotistical, he fits the bill. However, giving voice to his pride in himself and being all puffed up about it all the time wouldn't make for a very fun book. Instead, by being open and straightforward, and showing he's not afraid to poke holes in his own self-image, Franklin draws his readers in. We sympathize with him, we smirk at his one-liners, and we'd like to get coffee with him sometime.

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