Benjamin Franklin was an extraordinary person even before he was a recognized figure in society and history. Benjamin Franklin was a man who took full advantage of life's opportunities. Franklin knew what he wanted in and out of life and pursued those things. He lived according to what he believed in his own heart to be true and even today that is a rare thing.
When answering the question, was Franklin typical or exemplar of colonial life, I would have to say he started out typical. He was born into a family of seventeen brothers and sisters. His father was a candle/soap maker which would have put them in the class of "common folk". At this time in America the social classes were about the same as they were in England. They generally went like this: wealthy land owners, land owners, merchant/artisan, indentured servant, and slave. Franklin and his large family were typical in the fact that Ben only finished two years of formal schooling and he was to be an apprentice for his older brother James.
Doing this would have made Ben Franklin stay in the same social class his whole life.
Ben Franklin had other dreams for himself, so at the age of seventeen he ran off to Philadelphia to make it on his own. These are the years when Franklin sets himself apart from the people of his social class. Everyone who came to America had the same hope of being their own people and making more money than what they were making or destined to make in England. To go to this new land of opportunity and have a fresh start. To have your life be what you make it not what you were born into. Ben Franklin actually broke out of his pre-set and life...