Silence Dogood Essay #13

Essay thirteen of the Silence Dogood set was published sometime around September 17th to September 24th in 1772. In this particular essay, Silence Dogood (Benjamin Franklin) is telling her story of an evening where she had gone for a walk a bit later than normal and the people she encountered. In my opinion this essay reads like a story rather than a restating of actual events because as a reader the piece really keeps you interested about what will Dogood encounter next on this stroll. What also leads me to believe this is in the introduction to this essay Dogood (Franklin) discusses the “Things provoke the Exercise of the Imagination” which makes part of me wonder whether the events on this walk did occur or if they are mere fiction.

The thirteenth essay starts with Dogood commencing her stroll about two or three hours later than her usually time. As she continues on her walk she first runs into a group of young people around their twenties with the group consisting of both sexes. This initial group Dogood encounters she observes to be of little intelligence “render’d their Discourse not so intelligible”. This group also seems to be very interested in Dogood, one of them questions even questions the sex of Dogood.

After Dogood moves on from this group, she notices all the Doxies known today as prostitutes, and men that were possible costumers. Dogood never interacted with the “Tarpolins”(sailors) or their “Doxies”, Dogood does make a point that some men who are looking for possible mistresses seem to keep their head down as they “would be ever now and then crying out on the Cruelty of their Mistresses” saying that they were calling for them while not trying to be noticed as it seems.

Through this essay Franklin makes a few points, but presents them indirectly. However Franklin does strongly imply his thoughts in my opinion. One major point that is displayed in the essay the Doxies/Mistresses and the men who desire them only seem to come out at night when they won’t be seen. These men hide their secrets and possible shame in the dark of night in the Common. Another point that Franklin (Dogood) doesn’t directly make but I feel is implied is that the people of questionable morals or lacking intellectual means are the ones who gather at this time of night. Also that Dogood herself wouldn’t be wandering this late had her “Lodgings” had ended at the usual time, which helps to distance Dogood from this displeasing group of people.

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