Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
FRANKLIN and HIS CAREER
There arises a rift between Benjamin and his brother James, who tries to control the young apprentice in all he does. Franklin, stifled by his lack of freedom, waits for an opportunity to move away from his brother. James is then arrested and put in jail for offending the government in his newspaper; he is no longer allowed to publish the paper under the name of James Franklin. As a result, the young Benjamin is made owner of the paper and gains some small amount of freedom. Franklin, however, decides that he must escape the tyranny of his brother once and for all. His father supports his decision to go to Philadelphia. At the age of seventeen, Benjamin arrives in the city he is to call home throughout his life. Soon after his arrival, he meets Dr. Brown, an innkeeper and their acquaintance continues for the rest of their lives.
Franklin gives many details about his entry into Philadelphia, which has significance throughout his life. Upon arrival, the young Benjamin is tired and hungry, but he soon goes to search for employment. He seeks out Mr. Andrew Bradford, whom he has met in New York. Since there is no work with him, he is directed to Mr. Keimer who has recently bought a printing house. Since Keimer is new to the printing business, he eagerly hires Benjamin and soon depends entirely upon him to make his business flourish. Benjamin is successful in his work. He lives frugally, works hard, and makes many good friends. He is content with his life in Philadelphia.
In this section, Franklin reveals how he is mature enough at the age of seventeen to make his way in the world. He travels to Philadelphia alone, finds a job, earns a living, and impresses people with his diligence and intelligence. Before long, he is running Mr. Keimer's printing business and making a success of it and himself. Benjamin describes this period of his life in detail, for he realizes it is his "initiation rite into life".
The image that Franklin presents of himself is an inspiring symbol; he is depicted as a young man walking through the streets of Philadelphia with puff-roles under each arm while he diligently searches for work. But behind his early successes, there lies the secret of his charismatic personality. Everyone he encounters seems to like and respect him. He also shows that he values friendship, for most people that he gets to know remain his friends for life.