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Advice To A Young Man English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1493 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Benjamin Franklin, Founding Fathers of the United States, was born on January 17, 1706 and died on April 17, 1790 aged 84. Franklin was a lead author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a significant figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries as well theories regarding electricity. He invented the glass ‘armonica’, the Franklin stove, bifocals, a carriage odometer, and the lightning rod. At the age of 24, Franklin publicly acknowledged an illegitimate son named William.

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In June 25, 1745, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter “Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress”. In this he is advice to a young man on how to channel his sexual urges. He states that a remedy for sexual desire is unknown. His advice would be to take a wife. Having doubts that the intended reader will finally get married; the speaker outlines several advantages of marrying. That the intended reader would succeed in his industry if he gets a healthy wife. According to Franklin, a prudent wife is economical and she is sufficiently a fortune. The author is able to portray a woman as very important in any family (McGovern 10).

Incase the above arguments fails; Franklin lists seven explanations why an older mistress is better than a young one. Advantages include greater caution in conducting an intrigue, less risk of unwanted pregnancy, and better conversation.

The author advised the young man that his reputation will be safer with the commerce of woman. According to Franklin, a woman is able to safeguard her family’s reputations incase of an affair. She is capable of forming a man’s manners by her good counsel.

Born in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda on May 25, 1949, as Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson, Jamaica Kincaid is an American Caribbean gardener, author and novelist. Throughout the academic year she teaches at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, resides with her family in North Bennington, Vermont, in the summers. In St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda she was brought up by her mother and stepfather, who was a carpenter, until 1965 at age of 19 where she moved to America, New York to work as an aupair. She changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid since her family criticized her writing, in 1973. She has given birth to a son, named Harold, and a daughter, named Annie, with her former husband Allen Shawn. She recently converted to Judaism a minority religion with minority of Black people. She writes extensively on women and their relationships with one another, especially mother to her daughter to be precise as depicted in her works such as Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and “Girl” which a collection of stories and was first published in 1983 in At the Bottom of the River.

In her poem “Girl” she talks about the morals and norms imposed on women by the humanity, and at times, their own community and social group as well. Here, the major theme of conflicts between a mother and her daughter and traditional and Western or modern values are portrayed by her effective illustration of daughter’s relationship with her mother. The literary work was done when St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda was moving from a colonial state and my people were at crossroads on whether to keep African-based Obeah culture or be assimilated in the British or Western ways (Gioia and Kennedy 379).

The speaker in “Girl” employs the use of constant command which makes obvious that she feels as if she ought to be ruthless and simple with the girl in order for her to be taken seriously. The orator desires the girl to know how to behave, and the only approach she finds in which to do so is by authorizing the girl to do specific chores and making it look like there is alternative way in which to perform them. The orator tries to teach the girl by replicating fine points for instance how to “set a table” in five diverse circumstances. By demonstrating that there is a great deal to be learned to adequately carry out a simple task such as setting the table, the orator shows the girl that she ought to pay attention and put effort to succeed as a woman. In this way, the speaker acts as a role model as well as a counselor to the girl. The speaker shows that a woman has various roles as well various ways of performing the same task (University of Delhi 88).

In both the literary works the writers portray the fact that women are expected to obtain and maintain clothes and are responsible for men’s clothing. This is depicted in Kincaid’s “Girl” where it begins with laundry: “Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; After this the mother comes with demonstration on “how you iron your father’s khaki shirt so that it doesn’t have a crease; this is how you iron your father’s khaki pants so that they do not have a crease”. In Benjamin Franklin, “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress” prudent healthy Wife is supposed to take care of her husband well so that he succeeds in his profession. This is also seen where the “Girl” is taught how to prepare and grow different foods. In this family a girl is expected to learn how to fish and to “soak salt fish overnight before you cook it.” Thus, in the two literary works the women are supposed to be caring of the husband and the rest of the family in terms of general wellbeing of the family.

Being economically savvy is a virtue implied by both writers in their works. In the “Girl” she learns how to shop for bread grow root vegetable, okra and dasheen, and prepare pumpkin fritters, doukona (a coconut, banana and cornmeal pudding) bread pudding and pepper pot. These are humble dishes which are supposed to “make ends meet”. In Benjamin Franklin, “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress” a wife is supposed to be “with her good Economy”, and the husband will be a Fortune sufficient.

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The art of nursing is required of women in these literary works. This is whereby, as in the case of “Girl”, she has to learn “how to make a good medicine for a cold” and in the Benjamin Franklin’s work the lady has to “learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick”. Therefore, the two societies though centuries apart, this knowledge was mandatory for all women and girls who are about to become wives.

Behaving well in public places especially in front of men was greatly emphasized whereby the “Girl” is told “this is how to behave in the presence of men who do not know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming”. The mistress in Benjamin Franklin’s work “Advice to a Young Man” “they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion.” Thus both women and girls are supposed to carry themselves with decorum to avoid tainting their images.

Being beautiful despite the age and chores that one does is not expected of women in the two literary works. In “Advice to Young Man” the lady learns how to maintain her attractiveness by having confidence in her by not leaning on looks. The “Girl” has to be smart even if it means washing with her “own spit.”

In the “Girl” the mother tells the daughter how to “how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you” Thus the woman has a role to play in introducing her daughter to complicated dating world. The mistress in the “Advice to Young Man” knows how to seduce effortlessly young boys by knowing how to “kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels”. Therefore, dating roles in both works are antagonistic whereby girls are expected to be chased by boys while old ladies seduce the young boys.

Therefore, from the above roles of women in both the “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid and Benjamin Franklin’s “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress” have significant similarities and disparities as also evident in the world today. Both authors represent a different period in time as well as station in life. Franklin is a man of status offering advice to someone he wishes to succeed in life. Franklin appreciate the roles of a healthy woman whereas Kincaid depicts the nurturing the roles of a well behaved woman.


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