The Autobiography/Poor Richard’s Almanack Essay Assignment The Assignment



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The Autobiography/Poor Richard’s Almanack Essay Assignment

The Assignment: For the written part of your test, you will be constructing an essay response to one of the following questions. You must prepare your essay answer by constructing an outline from which you will write your response. The outline is to be prepared on a large index card which you will bring to class on the day of the test. Since you will be preparing your answer ahead of time, it should not take you long to write the essay in class. You will be graded on both the outline and the essay, and as always, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization rules apply to all of your writing. Points will be deducted for neglecting to proofread. You will be composing your answer on a Google Document only during class time.

Directions: Using a large index card, construct a sentence outline (review the outline video on my website that we watched in class) to help you construct a sentence outline to

answer one of the following questions of your choice:

  1. In The Autobiography, Franklin uses an analogy about a “speckled ax.” Write an essay that not only explains the analogy, but also relates to Franklin’s attempt at self-improvement. Make sure that you include quotations from the text to support your points.



  1. In Poor Richard’s Almanack, one of the aphorisms is “Love your neighbor; yet, don’t pull down your hedge.” Write an essay to give your opinion about whether this aphorism makes sense or whether it seems to contradict itself. Use real world examples to support your position.



  1. In The Autobiography, Franklin makes a comparison between weeding a garden and improving oneself. In an essay, extend this comparison by using details from his autobiography.



  1. In Poor Richard’s Almanack, compare these two aphorisms: “A small leak will sink a great ship,” and “For want of a nail, the shoe is lost; for want of a shoe, the horse is lost; for want of a horse, the rider is lost.” Do these two aphorisms communicate similar ideas, or are they different? Write a brief essay to explain your answer.



  1. Choose either The Autobiography or Poor Richard’s Almanack and write a brief essay to describe what the selection tells you about the character of Benjamin Franklin. Use examples / quotations from the selections to justify your choice of characterizations.



  1. Thinking About the Essential Question: What Makes American Literature America? Think of the values Franklin expresses in The Autobiography and Poor Richard’s Almanack. What do they show about the nature of American identity at the time Franklin was writing? What definition of “success” do you think Americans had at this time? In your essay, address these issues.


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