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What were Benjamin Franklin's character traits in his autobiography in part one?

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akinker | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2008 at 11:44 PM via web

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What were Benjamin Franklin's character traits in his autobiography in part one?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 27, 2008 at 11:15 PM (Answer #1)

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Some of the things that I notice when I read this wonderfully entertaining work is that he is wise and very intelligent, and writes with a distinct sense of humor.  I love how he looks at faults in humanity by admitting that many of us are guilty of the things we point out in others.  One way he does this is to say things such as: Indeed, I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity I may say," &c., but some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves...

Franklin also displays a good work ethic.  He is not afraid to work and work hard.  He had a good many jobs from cloth dyer and candle making to being apprenticed to his brother as printer.  Even if he disliked the work, his work ethic and pride would not allow him to do the job poorly.

He loved reading and discovered early on he had a talent for writing, although he failed arithmetic.

From early on his leadership skills were obvious.  He comments:I was commonly allowed to govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.

He was also from very early on considered a free thinker and of independent mind.  This is proven in his choice to try out a vegetarian diet.

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