Benjamin Franklin Rhetorical Analysis

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I chose The Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin. I am very familiar with it because I did a project on it, so I will be able to explain it in greater detail than if I had chosen another story. It was quite enjoyable and informative, too, so I find it interesting to discuss. The Autobiography is about Franklin’s journey to become a better person. He originally wanted to become perfect, but he was never able to achieve this goal.
Franklin was trying to reach perfection, and this excerpt documents that struggle. Many people try to reach a higher level of humanity, but none are able to achieve it. People will alway be flawed, no matter how they may wish this was not the case. “...I believe this [is] the case of many, who, having, for want of some
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He uses several allusions in order to bring other events and people to mind. Franklin wants to “...Imitate Jesus and Socrates” (143). He is also basing his methods of self-examination on Pythagoras’s. These historical figures are well-known by the general public. Mentioning these figures helps audiences know that Franklin wants to be wise, kind, and humble, and that he also is going to be orderly and self-reflective. Franklin also uses an anecdote in order to make a point about humanity’s acceptance of imperfection. By telling the story of the smith thinks “‘a speckled axe [is] best,” (145) he makes audiences reflect on their own actions in the past, and how they might change their behavior in the future. However, Franklin, albeit unintentionally, uses the black and white fallacy. Franklin seems to believe that imperfection is a bad thing, and that perfect people are the only good ones. The reality is far less simple. There are good people and there are bad people, but none of them are perfect. Perfection is impossible in this world, and, by failing to recognize that, Franklin presents the world in far simpler terms than what would do the world
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