As we read and analyze Ben Franklin’s “Notes Concerning the Savages”, you will be practicing conducting a SOAPSTone Plus Rhetorical Analysis of the text. We discuss a few keys points today in class regarding Franklin’s credibility as a writer:
- That the text appears to be unbiased to a modern reader due to the fact that it actually examines the perspective of the Native American in a sympathetic light. In fact, in the spectrum of early American writing on the Native American one has to read Franklin’s text to have an unbiased perspective, though the text itself still demonstrates bias in that Franklin clearly vilifies the settlers.
- Franklin’s rhetorical appeals are more balanced, making his text more effective than that of William Bradford or Mary Rowlandson. Where Puritan authors relied primarily on Ethos and Pathos to appeal to their audiences (and pathos ineffectively), Franklin uses appeals to all three parts of the rhetorical triangle (Ethos, Pathos and Logos).
- Franklin’s tone is incredibly civil towards the Native Americans, which is unusual, as again, the Native American perspective was not one that was frequently examined.
- As a well educated philosopher, statesmen, diplomat, inventor and Founding Father, Franklin appears to be a versatile and trustworthy author.
As you continue your analysis of Franklin’s “Notes…” be sure to pay attention to his use of anecdotes, irony, and diction to achieve his purpose. It you have forgotten how to conduct a SOAPSTone Plus analysis, see the notes from below.