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from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. from Poor Richard’s Almanack. Background . Benjamin Franklin arrived in the city of Philadelphia in 1723 at the age of seventeen. He knew no one, and he had little money and fewer possessions.

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From the autobiography of benjamin franklin

from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

from Poor Richard’s Almanack


  • Benjamin Franklin arrived in the city of Philadelphia in 1723 at the age of seventeen.

  • He knew no one, and he had little money and fewer possessions.

  • However, his accomplishments shaped the city in ways that are still visible today.

Franklin s accomplishments
Franklin’s Accomplishments

  • He helped to establish Philadelphia’s public library and fire department.

  • He helped to develop the city’s first college.

  • Through his efforts, Philadelphia became the first city in the colonies to have street lights.

  • While Franklin was a brilliant man, some of his success can be attributed to sheer self-discipline which we will explore in this excerpt from his Autobiography.

Literary analysis
Literary Analysis

  • An autobiography is the story of a person’s life.

  • Autobiography was a new form of literature when Benjamin Franklin wrote The Autobiography.

  • His work helped set the rules for this new type of writing.


  • An Autobiography presents events in a person’s life according to how that person sees them.

  • An autobiography can give personal views of history. Information about the politics, habits, ideas, and values of a society can be found in autobiographies.

Reading strategy
Reading Strategy

  • Franklin tells his readers details about his life.

  • He explains his goals and interests.

  • You can draw conclusions about Franklin and his life.

  • A conclusion is an opinion you reach by pulling together facts and details.

Drawing conclusions
Drawing Conclusions

  • Use this pattern for drawing conclusions about Franklin’s character while you read.

    • Details: Franklin changes his plan when he sees he is not meeting his goals.

    • Personal Experience: You also thought of a different way to meet a goal that was not being met.

    • Conclusion: Franklin makes adjustments to meet his goals.

Literary focus first person point of view
Literary Focus: First Person Point of View

  • Benjamin Franklin writes his story using the pronoun I – using the first person point of view.

  • A first person point of view shows events from the narrator’s perspective.

  • When a story is told from the first person point of view, two important things happen

    • First, we share directly the narrator’s thoughts and feelings

    • Second, we know only what the narrator knows.

Reading skill making inferences
Reading Skill: Making Inferences

  • Making inferences is like being a detective.

    • You use your own experiences and knowledge as well as evidence from the text to make inferences, or educated guesses, about what is happening.

Making inferences
Making Inferences

Evidence: Franklin gave

What little money he had to

Some people on the boat.


Franklin is a generous

Man. He is willing

To help people

Who need


Knowledge: Giving money is

Always generous.

My Experience: My brother

Gave me the money I needed

To buy a new CD.

Into the autobiography
Into the Autobiography

  • Franklin began The Autobiography when he was sixty-five.

  • He continued working on it off and on until his death, at eighty-four, leaving it unfinished.


  • Franklin is working on a plan to reach moral perfection.

  • He will work on thirteen virtues or qualities.

  • Franklin writes the virtues in a notebook to see how well he is doing.

    • He makes a black mark beside a virtue every time he forgets to follow it.

    • He works on a different virtue each week.

    • Franklin thinks his plan is helpful but not completely successful.

From poor richard s almanack summary
from Poor Richard’s Almanack - Summary

  • Franklin gives advice about how people should behave.

  • He presents his thoughts in aphorisms, or short sayings with a message.

  • Many of his aphorisms come from traditional folk sayings.

    • Sayings such as “Well done is better than well said” tell something about Franklin and what he values.