Poor Richard’s Almanack Questions and Answers

From “Arthur” pp. 80-84

1. List Arthur’s foibles (the things that Arthur did that were wrong).
He was frequently involved in drunkenness and fornication
Arthur used to break into shops and steal. He broke into cloth shops, shoe stores, and barbershops. His main agenda entailed stealing (Johnson 80).
He was also involved in stealing money from his masters irrespective of the good treatment he received from them.
Arthur was accustomed to stealing people’s horses and using them for travel and letting them loose.
He used to escape the Gaols after being arrested for wrongdoing. He also raped a widow (Johnson 83).

2. Of those things, which do you think we’re wrong?
All the things that Arthur did were wrong. This is because his actions were inconsistent with the morals of the societies he lived in. In addition, his actions brought about losses and hurt his victims. Therefore, all the listed actions instigated by Arthur were wrong.

3. If you were Arthur, what would you have done differently?
If I were Arthur, I would have done several things differently. First, I would abandon my ways of fornication and drunkenness. This would be made possible by avoiding the bad company that influenced me to execute this kind of behavior. Furthermore, I would stop stealing from people and instead work to earn my own to purchase my basic needs such as clothes and shoes. Secondly, I would behave as required for my masters who treated me well. This would allow me to create a better relationship with them and get along. Finally, I would respect women in their own right and avoid any indecency and abusing them physically.

From “Poor Richard” pp. 84-88

1. Take at least ten of Poor Richard’s sayings and explain what they mean
“A word to the wise is enough and many words won’t fill a bushel.” (Johnson 85) This saying means that a supposedly wise person does not need many explanations to understand a simple concept. Therefore, it only takes an individual a few words to express a situation where a wise man comprehends. Furthermore, many spoken words do not necessarily mean that an individual has offered a satisfactory explanation.
“God helps them that help themselves” (Johnson 85). This saying means that one has to put any effort into his or her work before God helps you out. That is, one has to work in order to earn because God does not reward the lazy.
“Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labor wears, while the used Key is always bright.” (Johnson 84) The saying generally concerns the lazy and idle people who used to complain of the government taxes. According to the saying, being lazy is a sin and leads to a waste of life and energy much more than working would do. It is meant to encourage people to work. Just like the used key that is always bright as compared to the unused one that would be rusty and dull.
“The sleeping Fox catches no poultry.” (Johnson 85) This means that there are no rewards whatsoever for lazy people. Just like the Fox that has to wake up and run after chicken to have a meal, so should people stop being lazy and idle and instead work and earn a living.
“There will be sleeping enough in the Grave.” (Johnson 85) The saying means that there is no room for laziness and being idle. Individuals are encouraged to work while they still can. Therefore, one should work and make a living out of the returns.
“At the working Man’s house Hunger looks in, but dares not enter.” (Johnson 85) The saying means that an individual who works always gets rewards for his efforts. That is, hard work translates to earning a good living and enough money to buy food and have a good life. Therefore, if individuals toil, they will never starve.
“If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.” (Johnson 85) This means that if you want something done to its level best, do it yourself. That is, you should always depend on your own ability in executing some duties that you want to be done.
“Many a little makes a Mickle.” (Johnson 86) This means that people should not rule out small earnings because in the end, the accumulated little amounts to a large amount. Thus, individuals should work irrespective of the earnings made.
“A small lead will sink a great ship.” (Johnson 86) This means that a small mistake could ruin a great deal of good. That is, little and regular expenses amounts to an accumulated large expense that can lead to becoming broke.
“He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.” (Johnson 86) This means that an individual who finds joy in borrowing will finally feel the pinch when paying back. That is, there is no happiness in living in debt since one has to repay the debt.

2. What do they all have in common (characterize the wisdom)?
Poor Richard’s sayings are characterized by wisdom and advice to every individual in different life experiences and situations. The sayings contain advisory content meant to enlighten people on how to deal with various conditions at home, work or during leisure. Some of them also contain warnings to people who are considered lazy.

3. Does Dick give good advice?
Dick has good advice meant for lazy people who are not ready to work and earn their living. He indicates that as lazy people sleep, the hard workers plow the land and harvest corn. From his saying, “Be ashamed to catch yourself idle” he encourages people to be active and earn their living. He also notes the importance of the servants and their efforts to stay relevant at work through being active (Johnson 86).


Work Cited

Johnson, Michael P. Reading American Past: Selected Historical Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. Print.

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