Essay on Ben Franklin's autobiography, comparing it to a work by D.H. Lawrence and an excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"

Essay by MagicMan32High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2006

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Ben Franklin was one of the greatest men in our nation's history. His Autobiography shows his drive for improvement and self-betterment. It is also important because it is one of the first literary pieces to ever show the American Dream and how it is fulfilled. In his Autobiography, Franklin shows how he rose from a middle-class child to one of the most revered and respected men in the world. It is indisputable that Franklin's Autobiography provided inspiration to other famous writers, most notably F. Scott Fitzgerald and D.H. Lawrence. Franklin's Autobiography is an archetype of the American dream and his ideas serve as the basis for Fitzgerald's views in the Great Gatsby and as a point of ridicule in Lawrence's Studies of Classic American Literature.

In the excerpt I read from F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", Fitzgerald praises Franklin for his ingenuity and his adherence to a strict code of self-discipline.

Fitzgerald writes about an old man who is talking about a boy, Jimmy, who is successful at the time of the book. The old man takes out a journal in which there is a schedule and a list of general resolves. This journal is basically a facsimile of Franklin's list of virtues and his daily schedule. The fact that Jimmy put in such things as working out, studying and practicing in his journal shows his devotion to self-improvement, just like Franklin. The schedule also shows "Save $5.00" crossed out in lieu of "Save $3.00", which shows that Jimmy kept this journal for practical reasons; he actually used it, instead of just having it for show. The old man then says, "Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this...Do you notice what he's got about improving his mind? He was always great for...