As I sat down in front of my computer to begin writing this essay, the phone rang. It was my friend Chris, asking me if I wanted to go jet skiing with his family. I noticed that it was a beautiful day as I looked through the kitchen window. I pressed the phone tight against my ear as I contemplated weather a stress free day, an escape from the tedious Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, was worth 400 points. I thought to myself, “Not doing a 400 point assignment means an F for the semester, which means hopes for good college opportunities are gone, and of course a good college leads to success. I want to be successful.” With my mind made in a fraction of a second, I tell Chris that I can’t go due to my essay. I just sacrificed my day of leisure and enjoyment for success. Ironically, Franklin’s Autobiography displays the same formula for success he sets for himself, and for others to fallow, that sacrifice is inevitable for success.
Franklin in his youth sacrifices childhood dreams to his father’s ideals for success. Young Franklin wanted to go out to sea, but instead, his father placed him under an apprenticeship to his brother James, a printer. Later, in pursuit of a better job, he cheated James out of four years of free labor. This not only broke their contract, but their relationship as well. Even though Franklin did not care much for his brother, he still considered it a loss, and a “Errata of my life.” Yet their were better things in store for him elsewhere.
In Paul’s Case, the character Paul, like Franklin, finds success away from home. But in order to get there, Paul gave up his morals, family, and eventually his life to maintain his happiness in prosperity. To escape the dread and fear Paul felt at home, he stole $3000 from his employer to leave for New York. Paul is not a crook, but the pressures of leaving home, to find his own success causes him to set his morals aside. The family Paul left behind are not those who live on Cordelia Street, but those who work at Carnegie Hall and at the theater. That is where Paul considered his home. The music which emerged from there is what fueled Paul. When he learns that his father is looking for him in New York, and his supply of money is running low after living a few days of glamour and success, Paul realizes that it is all about to end. Paul makes the ultimate sacrifice, his life, so he would not have to return to his bitter life in Cordelia Street after a taste of happiness and success.
Franklin later in life sacrificed his love life to success. He marries Deborah Read, but thinks nothing more of her that “a good and faithful Helpmate.” To deprive one of a basic necessity as love is a major sacrifice in ones life. Yet Franklin has no remorse about this, which means he does not regret the sacrifices he made to get where he was in life.
Yet Andrew Carnegie, a self made multi-millionaire regrets the sacrifices he made to get to the top of the steel making industry. Carnegie was a ruthless business man. We must have ruined hundreds of other business man on the way to the top. But it wasn’t until he was sitting on top of his steel empire that he regrets he sacrificed for his wealth at others expense. In an attempt to repent, Carnegie became a philanthropist, and built libraries and other establishments to benefit society.
Franklin’s basic formula for success is hard work and honest dealings with others. In Dick Wittington and His Cat, the character Dick fallows those principles. Yet it seems impossible for Dick to rise in the world like he dreams of. Lucky to be employed, his boss, Mr. Fitzwarren asks Dick to give him his beloved cat. Dick’s cat was the only thing that he had, but he did not want to possibly offend Mr. Fitzwarren by not taking his offer of sending something to the Barbary Coast to trade for profit. So with a “heavy heart”, Dick sacrifices his cat to Mr. Fitzwarren out of gratefulness for his job. Yet it seems that destiny rewards his hard work and honesty in life, for his cat is sold for a fortune.
In my own beliefs, I would like to think that the road to success is much like Dick Wittingtons; that no matter under what conditions, hard work, honesty, and sacrifice will always be rewarded. Yet personally, I find that Franklin’s sacrifice of love is too extreme. In my life, I constantly find myself sacrificing my indulgences for eventual success. Yet if I were to sacrifice all my indulgences, and became a hermit with my studies, it would not be worth it. So as I wind down my essay, and reflect weather or not completing this assignment was worth a day of jet skiing, I have to say yes. This sacrifice is a gambit. It will be worth it one day.