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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
Benjamin Franklin's autobiography is a real story set in eighteenth century America. Franklin's childhood was spent in Boston; but from the time he was seventeen to the end of his life, he lived in Pennsylvania. The text, as he wrote it, shares his life experiences centered and located in Pennsylvania. It was a time when people from European countries came and settled as colonists in America.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Josiah Franklin - Benjamin's father. He came to New England and settled with his family. A man of great integrity and strong moral principles, he advised people regarding moral issues in his parish. He worked as a tallow chandler to provide for his family. He took care that his children became good citizens and excelled at a trade. Benjamin inherited Josiah's traits of a just and persevering man.
James Franklin - Benjamin's brother who owned a printing press and a newspaper entitled the "New England Courant." He apprenticed Franklin and trained him in the printing/newspaper trade. The government found James' newspaper offensive, stopped it from being printed, and sent James to jail. Later, James continued his paper under the ownership of Benjamin, but James never allowed any freedom to his younger brother. For this reason, Benjamin revolted, left the job, and ran away to Philadelphia. Much later in life, Benjamin reconciled with his brother and repaid him by training James' son as an apprentice, much like James had trained him. James was instrumental in shaping Benjamin's life. Had it not been for his disagreements with James, Benjamin would have never left for Philadelphia or undergone radical changes.
Samuel Keimer - a printer who was Benjamin Franklin's first employer. Keimer had neither civic sense nor any art in his speech or behavior when in the company of respectable people. He used Franklin's skill in the trade but behaved rudely towards him. Since Keimer was not an industrious man and failed to develop good relations with his workers, his business failed, and he left Philadelphia. Young Benjamin learned the wrong way to do business from Samuel Keimer.
Governor Keith - the governor who had no integrity and made false promises. Initially, Franklin was impressed by Governor Keith, especially when he recommended Benjamin to his father. Governor Keith also advised Franklin's father to support Benjamin in setting up a printing house.
Hugh Meredith - Franklin's business partner, who gave him a real start in the printing business. Meredith and Franklin started their own printing house, which was financed by Meredith's father. Unfortunately, Meredith was not a good worker and took to drinking. He soon realized that the printing business was not meant for him, and he left the whole business to Franklin on certain terms and conditions. Meredith left Philadelphia and took up farming in Carolina. From there, he wrote Franklin letters that carefully described the countryside, the soil, and the climate.
Andrew Hamilton - a good friend from whom Benjamin learned the value of friendship. Hamilton was a well-known and respected lawyer of Philadelphia. While in London, Franklin found out that there was a plot being hatched against Hamilton and managed to save his friend. In return, Hamilton helped Franklin in the Assembly.