Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Franklin's Autobiography and the American Dream" Reflection

Actually, I thought the article was fairly interesting. Every single part of it was well thought out and clearly organized. Lemay did a wonderful job writing this criticism. Despite its extreme length, I was very happy to read "Franklin's Autobiography and the American Dream." Lemay gave both very detailed information and some information that should probably be deemed unnecessary, such as "Most sentences in Franklin's Autobiography are unrevised..." (Lemay). This has nothing to do with the rest of the paragraph as he goes on to say "and he carefully reworked it," (Lemay) which is a clear redundancy. The style of writing is also extremely advanced. Lemay uses many words with more than just five letters, sometimes spelling out such words as "obscurity," "theological," and "voluntarism." I, for one, did not know the definition of "voluntarism" until i looked it up - the theory that the will rather than the intellect is the ultimate principle of reality. Lemay was also not one to skimp on any details. Everything he thought about saying would come out on paper, it seemed. For instance, it seemed necessary for Lemay to state that "Franklin's Autobiography is the first great book in American literature." (Lemay). If that is not a good way to start the paper, I do not know what is. Even the details not pertaining to the meat and bones of the paper are still, naturally, included. Also, that statement in itself is quite bold, despite its placement and reasoning. Yes, it certainly does promote Franklin's Autobiography, but it simultaneously puts down pretty much every single other book written before it. By saying that it is the first "great" book, Lemay is saying that he is not a big fan of all the other books written before this one, including, possibly, European writers who wrote about America and in American styles. Many of those European writers could have been writing hundreds of years before Franklin, leaving room for a whole lot of books to be written in that time. Also, I really liked how Lemay described the American Dream because, like I said before, he did not leave any room for misinturpretations (yes, that is a big word). His description of the American Dream really helps readers better understand the American Dream as it is according to Franklin. Unfortunately, however, Lemay's description is too long to fully describe in a five hundred word blog. Once again, Lemay wrote this essay to be extremely informative, but also very dull and monotonous. He explained the American Dream in his own terms and in Franklin's terms in a total of five aspects. Each aspect bounced off of the last, but they were all distinct in explanation. It is quite amazing that Lemay is able to sit down and write that entire thing mainly because he was interested in Franklin. I am happy to be enthusiastic, but he took it to the "know-it-all" level. If he ever writes something like this again, Lemay needs to concentrate a little more on keeping the audience's attention by changing up the tone every once in a while. I got really bored really fast, but I still certainly learned a whole lot.

Works Cited

Lemay, J.A. Leo. "Franklin's Autobiography and the American Dream." InThe Renaissance Man in the Eighteenth Century. Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 1978. Quoted as "Franklin's Autobiography and the American Dream." in Bloom, Harold, ed. The American Dream, Bloom's Literary Themes. New York: Chelsea Publishing House, 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. (accessed October 14, 2010).

1 comment:

  1. Excellent insights throughout - I like the way that you supported your points with specific examples. Well done!

    I also appreciate that you looked up the words that you did not recognize.