Benjamin Franklin's "Arriving At Perfection" Essay

1341 words - 5 pages

Perfection? Can any one person be perfect? Benjamin Franklin believed that he could accomplish this task. Benjamin Franklin was known for being a cognizant and diligent perfectionist. During his lifetime, many people were concerned with correcting themselves of any fault that they may have had. Benjamin Franklin did have an interesting way to proclaim how he, could show everyone how to be perfect. He believes that he can make himself perfect. Even though his ways of being perfect are not the same as everyone else's ideas, he still tries to show them he can be perfect. In his essay "Arriving at Perfection" Benjamin Franklin tries to tell everyone how he will be perfect and how he is going to actually accomplish this task.

The tone of the essay is pretty straightforward. Benjamin Franklin means what he writes and thinks. There is no pun or sarcasm in this piece. He does however seem to put an apostrophe where the "e" of the past participle goes. This is something that they did during his lifetime. It is something that the audience can recognize right away because it catches your eye right off the back. An example of this is "...that I conciev'd the bold and..." Benjamin Franklin lists his virtues in a numerical order of their importance. A person could also think by looking at Benjamin Franklin's essay that it could be more of a science lab report. The way it is written could look easily like that because it has a list and a table and steps on how to be perfect.

Benjamin Franklin begins his essay with the following statement: "it was about this time that I conciev'd the bold and arduous Project of arriving at moral Perfection." Reading this sentence, a person could wonder what the word "arduous" means. According to Merriam-Webster Online, it basically means that it is hard to accomplish or difficult. Understanding this sentence, a person would wonder now what this "bold and arduous Project" is all about. The next sentence tells us that Benjamin Franklin wishes to live without any faults in his life. He even states that he "had undertaken a Task of more Difficulty that I had imagined." Of course this was going to be difficult. Did he believe that this "Project" was going to be an easy task? When Franklin states this sentence, "Habit took the Advantage of Inattention," he is telling the audience that his habits happened whenever he was not paying attention to the acts that he was doing. If a person has habits, of course they will happen if a person is trying to break them but fails to pay close attention to them. Benjamin Franklin states in the next sentence, "Inclination was sometimes too strong for Reason." The meaning of this sentence is basically that your natural disposition does not always agree with reasonable limits. He then goes on by saying that good habits must be acquired to replace the old habits. His final sentence of the paragraph tells the audience that he has thought up and made a "Method." What can this "Method" be?


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