2 February 2016
Silence Dogood Essay #5
In the fifth essay under Benjamin Franklin’s pen name Silence Dogood, Benjamin Franklin is directing his letter to the author of the New England Courant, A.K.A his Brother, by reading a response to one of Franklin’s previous essay from a man who did not respect Silence Dogoods views, which was written by Benjamin under another fake name. According the man, Silence Dogood should “begin with your own Sex first: Let the first Volley of your Resentments be directed against Female Vice; essentially calling Silence Dogood a petty women writer who should focus on the faults of her own sex rather than men’s. Franklin’s rebuttal was that men are just as guilty of sin as women, and that they both have equal share in sins. This beginning allowed Franklin to set up his essay, and begin discussing the topic of the faults of men and the shameful acts done to women.
Benjamin continues to further his argument as the essay goes on, adding more facts and examples to bolster his view on the mistreatment of women in society. Benjamin makes an argument about the education of women, where they were taught some basic writing lessons and being trained how to sew and cook. From this, Benjamin says “What is a Man (a Gentleman, I mean) good for that is taught no more? If Knowledge and Understanding had been useless Additions to the Sex, God Almighty would never have given them Capacities, for he made nothing Needless”, which leads to Benjamin asking what women did to deserve this mistreatment. This errata of men mistreatment of women is the main theme in Benjamin’s essay, and is a strong point in Benjamin’s essay, and makes the male saying of “Female Ignorance and Folly” seem more parallel to men than women. I agreed with all of Benjamin’s points, and support him in his statements that men have committed many more errors than women ever have. It was because of this essay that I now view Franklin as a pro-feminist figure, or at least, associate with his alternative personality Silence Dogood. It also makes Benjamin’s decision to go under a pen name all the more clever, since this pro view on women was ahead of it’s time, and would have resulted in Benjamin being persecuted by many individuals had his identity had been revealed.