American Literature

Ben Franklin

Note how Franklin frames “The Way to Wealth.” He opens upon Poor Richard, eavesdropping on a village elder, called Father Abraham, who has been asked a question involved with civic matters: “Won’t these taxes quite ruin the country?” (443). But does Father Abraham provide a direct answer to that question? Indeed, does he even speak of civic matters at all? Endlessly quoting Poor Richard, Father Abraham addresses what sphere of human activity? Why? Does he persuade the people? What does his answer mean? Answer and discuss these questions with detail. Defend your answers!
Re-read “The Way to Wealth.” Then, select any three of Poor Richard’s maxims, and write “imitations” of them; that is, “plug in” your own words at the appropriate points. Example: for “He that hath a trade, hath an estate,” one could write, “She that hath a husband, hath a curse.”
What is the main argument Franklin is making through Polly? Where and what are the double-standards Franklin identifies through Polly’s speech? If his argument more or less effective argued through the lens and voice of Polly or would he have been more rhetorically successful had he argued as himself or created a male character? Why?
How does Franklin’s “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North Carolina” relate to cultural relativism? The definition of satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Where do you see instances of Franklin’s use of satire and what point is he making with it?
Describe the last line, “You see they have not yet learned those little good things, that we need no meetings to be instructed in, because our mothers taught them to use when we were children; and therefor it is impossible their meetings should be, as they say, for any such purpose, or have any such effect: they are only to contrive the cheating of Indians in the price of beaver.


Approximately 250 words