Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all? Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in life? No one looks at race or anything of that nature just solely on merit and no matter where you come from or what you go through you have the same opportunity as the next person. Merit is the quality of being particularly good or worth especially so as to deserve praise or reward.
Well, this is the message that Horatio Alger gives to his readers that some people feel as though it’s a myth as oppose to others thinking it’s great guidelines or a great blueprint to success. In a selection of the money and success chapter in “Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing”, a professor at Yale Law School, Harlon L. Dalton critiques the story of Horatio Alger “Ragged Dick” calling it a myth. Dalton says that you can’t just overlook the fact that people still are based upon race and class.
The Horatio Alger myth conveys three basic messages. The first one says that each of us is judged solely on her or his own merits. The second one stated that we each have a fair opportunity to develop those merits. Last but not least, the third one implied merit would out. Each of them is, to be charitable, problematic.
The first message is a variant on the rugged individualism ethos. . In this form, it suggests that success in life has nothing to do with pedigree, race, class background, gender, national origin, sexual orientation-in short, with anything beyond our individual control (Dalton).
The second message conveyed by Horatio Alger is that we all have a shot reaching our true potential. To be fair, neither Alger nor the myth he underwrote suggests that we start out equal. Nor does the myth necessarily require that we be given an equal opportunity to succeed (Dalton).
The third message assumes not only a commitment to merit-based decision-making but also the existence standards for measuring merit that do not unfairly favor one individual over another (Dalton).
In my mind I’ve come to a conclusion that the “Ragged Dick” piece is indeed a myth because in the society I live in today it’s no way a person born into poverty has the same opportunities as a person born into riches. A person born into poverty would have to struggle and work hard to receive anything in need to survive or succeed. A person born into wealth would most likely be giving or work effortlessly to receive anything they would need to survive or succeed. If you were born into poverty or face poverty you would know rich people can be motivation because whatever they have you want so you go through these steps and goals in achieving them.
Horatio’s myth can be broken down in many different ways in support of his story being a myth one being class in context of either being rich or poor. Poor people do not have the same opportunity as rich people. Poor people would have to look at life in a motivational way to succeed....