Dh Lawrence: Ben Franklin's Antithesis

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Benjamin Franklin is noted for, among other things, his autobiographical works which tend to throw a positive light on his musings and pseudo-enlightenment of the human condition. However, there are many people who have disagreed with his arguments, such as his list of virtues. One such man, D. H. Lawrence, decided to take a stand and put his opinions about Ben Franklin into writing. This is now a widely recognized satirical essay. Through satirical devices and tropes, D. H. Lawrence reveals the absurd and fatal flaws that Ben Franklin proposed in his writings. Lawrence utilizes satirical devices such as verbal irony, parody, sarcasm, and making a target out of the system to attack Franklin and his ideals. Verbal irony, most prominently used in discussion of Franklin’s virtues, is among the strongest satirical devices established by Lawrence. For example, he scoffs, “He was a little model, was Benjamin. Doctor Franklin. Snuff-coloured little man! Immortal soul and all! The immortal soul part was a sort of cheap insurance policy. Benjamin had no concern, really with the immortal soul. He was too busy with social man.” Here, he makes play out of Franklin’s thirteenth virtue, “Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates,” by poking fun at the image depicted in the mind of the reader through this virtue, and by pointing out that Franklin never really followed this virtue at all. Lawrence later lists ways that Franklin was overly concerned with the “social man” and did not pay much attention to the “immortal soul” to exemplify his point. An example of this was a list of some of his accomplishments such as his invention of electrical appliances and his widely published and recognized Poor Richard’s Almanac. Parody is obviously present in D. H. Lawrence’s revised list of Franklin’s virtues. Changes range from slight tweaking to saying the complete opposite of Franklin’s virtues,

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