Thursday, October 27, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I guess what he would do in a day really depends a lot on what age he was. He lived in England for a while, and after that owned a printing press. During that time I suppose he would spend his day at his business, printing and the like. After he retired he started conducting experiments with electricity, and would have spent his days on such tests as he could devise. He was also involved with the politics of his community, and later of the entire country. He wrote many letters to different friends, and wrote an autobiography besides. I would imagine that these things took up a good deal of his time, as writing is generally a slow process without modern pens that do not need dipped in ink every few words.
It somewhat baffles me how he could accomplish so much in his life, and how he balanced out his days and life. Maybe he alternated hours with his different tasks, spending one writing, another inventing, and another after that experimenting. Perhaps he spent entire days on a single subject until its object was accomplished, like I typically find myself doing. With all of these different activities in his life, he also managed to invent many things that made peoples' lives easier and safer. His life has me wondering what is possible for people like me if he could do so much in his life.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I think that the American dream is really the same as it has always been, at least in essence. I think that a lot of people have perverted it over time, and made it entirely materialistic. In my opinion, the American dream is that a person can come here and be free to make their own choices and lives their lives as they see best, and if a person works hard enough, they can become successful.
Maybe in past decades people have equivocated the American dream with owning a house, having a nice car, and other material things of that nature. Those things are just products of the freedom we enjoy here in America. It is not possible to own a house in Communist countries, and in tyrannies upward mobility is almost impossible. In America people have the freedom to make their own choices and do what they want with their lives, and that just does not always happen.
So if I had to sum up the American dream in one word, it would be freedom. Maybe this is just me, but I would travel to all ends of the earth trying to find the most freedom I could, and as far as I know America is still the freest country on earth. If you do not have freedom to live your life the way you want, then what is the point of living it at all? It seems to me that if everyone else makes decisions for you, then it is not really your life, but the live someone else is making for you. That is why the American dream is so important. Without freedom, life loses meaning and value, at least for me it does.
I am not sure if there are other people like me that still believe that this is the American dream, but even if I am alone I can still have my own strange opinion regardless of anyone else.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The only other important rule I can think of is that people should never lie. I think that should include lying by withholding information. A person cannot make a reasonable decision or govern their feelings properly if they are basing such decisions on information that is wrong. Everyone knows that it is wrong to mislead people, so why do people do it? lying makes the person lied to feel manipulated and very, very hurt. It would be very hard to stand if someone you cared about lied to you in that manner, and depending on how much that person was cared about, it could really destroy a friendship and everything good in a person's life (and for once I am not being overly dramatic).
I am beginning to think that this was a very bad choice of journal topic to assign to me today.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Ben Franklin uses the same sort of declarative sentences that the Puritan writers used. One example is when he writes about how he describes how he fixed his problem with getting a passage to Philadelphia. He simply writes "She proposed to lodge me till a passage by some other boat occurred. I accepted her offer, being much fatigued by traveling on foot. (Franklin 107)" One of the many Puritan writers who wrote in this style was Mary Rowlandson. Her account of her time as a captive is written almost entirely in short plain sentences (Rowlandson 82-85).
Another thing that Ben Franklin does similar to puritan style is comment on human nature. When he writes about his arrival in Philadelphia he mentions that people are more generous when they have less to share (Franklin 108). Puritan writers did this sort of thing all of the time because their main focus in life was pleasing God through refining their imperfect human natures. The Puritan writer Anne Bradstreet talks in one of her poems about how people like herself sometimes place too much value on the things of the world (Bradstreet 91). I thought it was very strange to see these things in common between the two styles until I realized that Ben Franklin also wrote an almanac full of comments on human nature, and then it made sense.
One thing Ben Franklin does differently is that he uses a fair amount of descriptive words in his writing. When he describes his arrival in Philadelphia I could nearly picture quite a few of the details of the streets and people he saw. This is different from Puritan writing because when I read Puritan writing the settings always seem bare and plain to me. One other difference in Ben Franklin's writing is the he does not reference God or acts of providence all of the time. In fact, i do not believe there was even one in the passages I read. This is very diferent from Puritans because with Puritan writing it is impossible to go four sentences without reading about pleasing God or acts of providence.
While there may be a few similarities between Ben Franklin's writing style and puritan writing, they are both very different from each other. Ben Franklin lived through a good deal of American history, so he may have even been alive in the Puritan period. That being said, he also lived through the rationalist period and must have been influenced by it.
Bradstreet, Anne. "Upon the Burning of Our House." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.
Franklin, Ben. "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.
Rowlandson, Mary. "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.
So as an example, I will talk about my little sister and myself when we were younger. Dani was always the squeaky wheel. From the day she was born she was never afraid of being loud, and everyone knew it. I was the exact opposite as a kid. I was quiet and never asked for anything unless I needed it or really wanted it. Besides that I was never really one to make a big deal about things. If I had a problem I would either ask mom about it or try fixing it myself. Not Dani though. If something was wrong everyone would know it the instant it happened. This difference of personalities still exists today.
Keeping the first aphorism in mind, you can probably guess who got the most attention when we were kids, and even still today. That sibling would be Dani. I do not envy her for it, or anything like that, because I know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
As an example of my second favorite aphorism, I look at high school. Just think of the loudest person in a certain class, and then think of what their merits are. They are probably few and not likely to be useful in future life. The bad wheels always make more noise. Maybe it is because they want to draw attention away from their shortcomings. Anyway, just think of which group of people gets the most attention from the school staff. It is always those loud, thoughtless kids. Thus the squeaky wheels get the grease, and the worst wheels make the most noise.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Thomas Paine compares the king and parliament to common thieves and robbers, saying that if a common person attempted to control him in the same way, he would certainly rebel against them. The fact that it is a king instead of a commoner makes no difference (Paine 136). This is an argument based on reason to have people consider just how unfair the English government had treated them. Another rational argument used is that when parliament passed the Declaratory Act containing the phrase "to bind [the colonies] in all cases whatsoever" it basically amounted to slavery (Paine 134). While this argument does appeal a good deal to emotion, it also has its base in reason. If parliament can make the colonies bend to its every bonny whim, then the colonies really have no will of their own and might as well be enslaved.
Although this pamphlet was to be read aloud to the members of the Continental Army, it was not written for them alone. The Crisis was written for everybody in America. It was written for people who could do still more, and for people who were still on the fence about whether or not the revolution was a good thing. The purpose was not only to convince the soldiers to keep fighting, but also to try to convince more people to join the fight for independence. Thomas Paine writes, "Say not that thousands are gone- turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you." (Paine 136) This was directed toward the religious people in the colonies (also known as all of them), and to pull them into the revolutionary conflict. By presenting the Revolutionary War as a struggle of good against evil as he does, he really makes the reader want to join the cause. When I read it even I could not help but think that if I had been living at the time and had read that pamphlet, I would have done absolutely everything in my power to help in the revolution.
Thomas Paine's primary reason for writing The Crisis was to gather up support for the revolution. He truly believed that the American Revolution was worth all of the hardship that came with it, and that he was doing his best to further the cause of liberty. The Crisis probably had a very great impact on the people of the colonies, and probably caused many otherwise indifferent people to join the cause of liberty. The Crisis was a very effective pamphlet.
Paine, Thomas. "The Crisis No.1." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.