The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin
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What details or type of information typically expected in an autobiography are missing from or very scarce in Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography? Why?

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Franklin leaves out a lot of the details about his life that might be considered unflattering, and he also leaves out a great deal of personal and emotional details. For example, he addresses his book to his son, William, but he does not mention that William is illegitimate. He also does not mention his daughter, Sarah, and only glancingly mentions that his other son, Francis, died of smallpox when he was very young. Franklin does not speak much about his wife, except that she practices thrift, and he does not include his emotional response to events such as his younger son's death. In hiding his older son's illegitimacy, Franklin glosses over anything about himself that could be considered less-than-ideal and, in general, makes his life one of model values, save a few youthful indiscretions. He leaves out these types of details to make himself seem successful in reaching his own project of "moral perfection." The intention of his autobiography was in part to give an account of his plan to reach this type of moral perfection, and his intent was not to give an emotional or realistic account of his reactions to the events in his life. 

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