The Role Of Masculine Identity In Frankenstein And Benjamin Franklin

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A large amount of literature is narrated from the perspective of men with grand ambitions. Two such men are Victor Frankenstein, from Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein and Benjamin Franklin from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The construction and representation of masculine identity in these two works are vastly different. In this essay I will be arguing that Benjamin Franklin’s construction and representation of masculine identity is that of trust and sincerity while Frankenstein’s is rational yet highly emotional. The narrator in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, follows in the traditional autobiographical format, first person, and central point of view. What this means is that the narrator of the text is also the main character…show more content…
Franklin uses this type of narrator in order build up the readers trust in him so that they see him as sincere and honorable. Franklin constructs his autobiography as a letter to his son in order for him to “know the circumstances of my [Franklin’s] life, many of which you [his son] are yet unacquainted with” (Franklin 1). Even though it is constructed as a letter to his son, Franklin’s use of “you” allows general readers to experience him speaking directly to them as well. Franklin wrote that “truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings between man and man, were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life, and I [aimed]…to practice them ever while I lived“(1.89). In the autobiography Franklin constructs his narrator as a person who lives by these traits. There are several passages devoted to portraying Franklin as a man that is deserving of people utmost trust. Even when Franklin has done something he knows was wrong, such as stealing, his narrator instead of not mentioning the incident, tells the readers about it. He calls these moments or wrong doing the “errata of [his] life” (1.48). Franklin’s narrator acknowledges these errors and thus proves himself as trustworthy and sincere because he could have just as easily portrayed himself…show more content…
This autobiography is written in clear plain language that most people regardless of class in 1793 would have understood. In addition to the plain language of the text, Franklin also utilises a firmly organized grammatical structure, insuring that his sentences are compact and clear. This specific writing style represents masculine identity as plain and straightforward which benefits Franklin’s attempts at conveying truthfulness and sincerity in the text. By writing so directly, Franklin gives the impression that his narrator has nothing to hide. There is barley any figurative language to hid double meanings in and the text comes off as more trustworthy because of it. An example of this clear writing style is found on page…where Franklin writes, “But when I had attained an acquaintance with the French, Italian and Spanish, I was surpris'd to find, on looking over a Latin Testament, that I understood so much more of that language than I had imagined; which encouraged me to apply myself again to the study of it, and I met with the more success” (3.12). This passage is written in short, matter of fact bursts. It reads like a list in a sentence format, culminating at the end with its intended meaning. Writing in this direct and plain way constructs masculine identity as

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