by Benjamin Franklin
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Fallacy of Success
- G.K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English critic, philosopher and writer. Chesterton often wrote parables, which are stories that illustrate lessons in morality. In this opinion piece, Chesterton uses humor to mock books that aim to teach a person how to become wealthy and successful.Pair “Arriving at Perfection” with “The Fallacy of Success” and ask students to discuss how they viewed Franklin’s 13 virtues before and after reading “The Fallacy of Success.”
Excerpt from "Self-Reliance"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
In this excerpt, American author and philosopher Emerson expounds his Transcendentalist beliefs about individuality and nonconformity.Pair “Arriving at Perfection” with “Excerpt from Self Reliance” and ask students to discuss how the two authors arrive at their own idea of an ideal life that they want to live. What do the two authors recommend one do to achieve this life?
On the Cultivation of Virtue, Woman’s Work, and Politeness
- Zhao Ban
- c. 49 - c. 120
This first-century text written by China’s first female historian shares some of the principles that women should follow to serve their husbands.Pair “Arriving at Perfection” with “On the Cultivation of Virtue, Woman’s Work, and Politeness” and ask students to discuss the merits and costs of attempting to change one’s identity in order to appear virtuous. Ask students to pay attention to where the ideas of what is and is not virtuous come from in the texts.
Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania
- Benjamin Franklin
In “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania,” Benjamin Franklin proposes what an academy in Pennsylvania should look like and the subjects it should teach students.Pair “Excerpt from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” with “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania” and ask students to discuss how Franklin’s own moral values influenced his proposals for the academy. Compare what Franklin values in an individual’s character to what he values in education. Does Franklin appear to believe moral virtue can be taught? Why or why not?
“Three Types of Friendship” — Excerpt from The Nicomachean Ethics
- Roughly 340 BCE
In the philosophical text “‘Three Types of Friendship’ — Excerpt from The Nicomachean Ethics,” Aristotle describes three types of friendship and their differences.Pair “Excerpt from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” with “‘Three Types of Friendship’ — Excerpt from The Nicomachean Ethics” to provide students with additional information about the concept of virtue. Ask students to discuss how Benjamin Franklin’s perspective on virtue compares to Aristotle’s. How do Franklin’s virtues complement Aristotle’s definition of a quality friendship?