He went to school as a child with the intent of becoming a minister, as his father, Josiah, intended. However, that idea was dropped after Franklin showed a keen interest in reading and writing.
Much of her recent work applies evolutionary theory to imaginative representations of human experience—in fiction by Sherwood Anderson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Zora Neale Hurston, for example. She is the author of Border Lines: Evolutionary Biological Issues in her Fiction April 29, Abstract Working from the assumption that wealth and status are goals motivating much human striving, Franklin insists that these evolutionarily critical objectives can be achieved only in a cultural context.
He details his shrewd exploitation of prevailing environmental conditions, demonstrating the crucial importance of cooperative strategies in building both wealth and reputation: His confidence in the efficacy of cooperation reflects his benign conviction that self-interest and community interest inevitably coincide.
It is the story of an individual, rooted in a specific time and place, wrestling with universal human problems.
Though very much a man of his own time, Franklin convincingly presents himself as a man for all times. His extraordinary career depends on his ability to assess his eighteenth-century colonial environment perceptively, responding in a canny way to its expectations and opportunities.
Though focusing thus on his own individual interests, he demonstrates that his individual goals can be achieved only within the framework of a human community. In his optimistically prosocial model of human life, then, distinctions between selfishness and altruism tend to blur.
As he presents himself—and in this respect it is impossible to disagree with him—Franklin is a highly effective social animal.
Indeed, autobiography exercises a special fascination precisely because it offers more than description: It would be possible to undertake biosocial examination of his life as lived, with results almost certainly different, at least in some respects, from those that emerge from this examination of his life as written.
Indeed, most twentieth-century discussions of the Autobiography note factual inconsistencies between the life and the book. The discussion that follows treats the Autobiography as a product of conscious design and interpretative intent: Never denigrating, disguising or disowning his ambitions, Franklin expends no energy on self-justification.
He does not pretend, for instance, that the wealth and status he achieves are unsought, or mere by-products of intellectual, ethical, or spiritual questing; he presents them, rather, as deliberately formulated and unquestionably worthy ends. The adaptive value of material prosperity and social status has been demonstrated repeatedly by sociological and anthropological research Buss Resources are obviously an essential component in the successful rearing of human offspring, who undergo a long period of dependency and require instruction in a host of skills, often complex, that will enable them to survive in their physical and social worlds.
In consequence, as David M. Because access to goods and services depends to a considerable extent upon status, furthermore, a quest for dominance tends to go hand-in-hand with efforts to accumulate wealth. Such men are likely to exercise economic control in their social groups and thus prove able to provision offspring and long-term mates exceptionally well.
Because it has been selected for throughout human evolutionary history, the inclination to acquire resources and achieve status exerts a powerful effect on human behavior even in the absence of conscious thinking about the likely pay-off in terms of fitness.
This remains true whether or not he articulates the ultimate evolutionary function of his objectives. In taking for granted their universal desirability, moreover, he evinces awareness of their fundamental importance in human endeavors. He acknowledges the centrality of genetic continuity indirectly by formulating his autobiography at the outset as a letter to his son.
He devotes several pages of his book to family history, attempting to define himself and his descendents in the context of preceding generations. Other references to family, scattered throughout the narrative, subtly reinforce the importance of kinship.
Franklin expresses grief at the loss of a young son to smallpox, for instance, and he makes use of the occasion to offer advice about inoculation to other parents: In helping a young relative to prosper in life, he helps himself—by maximizing his own inclusive fitness:The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin.
Home / Literature / The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin / Tools of Characterization ; The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin / for a book like the Autobiography, which is so focused on virtue and self-improvement, actions really do carry more weight than words.
Summary. Born in Boston, Benjamin Franklin was the 15th of his father's 17 children. He went to school as a child with the intent of becoming a minister, as his father, Josiah, intended. Benjamin Franklin himself answers in his Autobiography with a quotation from the Bible, which his Calvinistic father drummed into him in his youth: 'Seest thou a man diligent in his business?
He shall stand before kings" (Prov.
xxii. 29). The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin study guide contains a biography of Benjamin Franklin, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters. William Franklin - Benjamin's son and royal governor of New Jersey in when Ben begins writing the work.
Ben begins the Autobiography as a letter to William with the intent of telling him about his life. Benjamin Franklin The author, writing his Autobiography in his old age, reveals himself to be something of a "renaissance man," skilled in many fields: business, science, public affairs, and diplomacy.
He believes in hard work, honesty, and the capacity of all men to improve themselves.