Tag: Identity

Benjamin Dogood & Silence Franklin

The letter of historical note that I read was from Benjamin Franklin in 1772. I found a lot of things very interesting about this letter especially for this time period. For example, Franklin used the pen name Silence Dogood in his letter and his alter ego wrote from the perspective of a woman. One reason this is interesting to me is because he wrote as if he was a woman during a time when it would’ve have been easier or better to get something published as a man. I’m wondering why he didn’t pick another male name or even make it anonymous. Yet at the same time he did have to use this fake name for a reason. It was because his brother wouldn’t publish Franklins work in his newspaper. I found this weird because they were brothers and that seems like something family would do for each other although I can see how there could be competition with this. From doing research I found out his brother, James Franklin, denied to publish his letters several times when he used his real name. I was also wondering why did he focus so much on this newspaper in particular when he could have probably gone somewhere else and gotten his work in under his own name. I’m wondering if he may have wanted to write from another perspective in the first place. He does a good job of covering up his real identity as he makes Silence Dogood’s background much different from his own. Another thing I found out was Benjamin Franklin was 16 and working as an apprentice to his brother when he wrote the letter. It seems hard to believe that a 16 year old could write so well from a perspective so unlike his own. I think it shows he was able to pay attention to details about other people which is what made the letters so good and believable. Another thing I’m thinking about is people didn’t live very long back then so maybe 16 was basically like being an adult. It’s interesting that people were able to do such amazing things then because now even with all the resources and technology we have, people aren’t always able to do work like that especially at that age. I think that in a way Franklin can be seen as an activist for women because even though it wasn’t his own life he was writing about he was able to communicate in a way what women were going through during that time.