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Choose one aphorism from Poor Richard's Almanack and dichos and explain fully what the...

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eddiemizael | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:42 AM via web

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Choose one aphorism from Poor Richard's Almanack and dichos and explain fully what the aphorism means. Explain how it may apply to your life now.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 7, 2009 at 5:51 AM (Answer #1)

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I think the best way to approach this prompt is for you to examine a list of Franklin's aphorisms, or lessons of life, and see how it appeals to you.  For example, if you recently had challenges with telling someone something of private value only to find that they have spread your privileged information to others, perhaps you would believe Franklin's quote that, "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead"  Another situation would be if you predicted something incorrectly:  "Tis easy to see, hard to foresee."  Finally, Franklin has even quoted something on the issue of marriage:  "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards."

Franklin wrote on a great many topics.  Surveying through the Almanack would invariably lead to one or two items that can speak to your experience and how your situations might apply to the aphorisms that Franklin writes.  This sounds like a essay prompt where you have to forge your own experience into the words of Franklin.  Affirm or negate, your own subjectivity sounds like it will determine the validity of Franklin's quotations.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 7, 2009 at 6:02 AM (Answer #2)

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A truly great man will neither trample on a worm nor sneak to an emperor.

This aphorism from "Poor Richard's Almanack" means that if a person is truly "great,"--that is, one who possesses integrity--he/she does not have to be cruel or treacherous to one lower, nor does he/she have to be subservient to someone higher in status. 

So often nowadays we see the sycophants at the workplace who climb "the corporate ladder" by fauning.  They are the proverbial "yesmen" who sneak and inform upon their co-workers, etc.  They steal ideas from others and pass them off as their own.  They flatter their bosses, inviting them to dinner, taking them golfing, etc.  But, the employee who has integrity is assiduous, diligent, and honest and fair in dealing with others, even those in positions below him/her.  Sadly, he/she is often passed up on promotions, or even fired as the mediocre and treacherous do not want someone around who "makes them look bad."  Still, this person is "great" because he/she retains integrity and has not "sold his soul" and become a hypocrite. 

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