This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The American Dream In Ragged Dick, By Horatio Alger

1248 words - 5 pages

According to Ty Kiisel, writer for Forbes magazine, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” (Kiisel). In the book Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger, Alger portrays a young New York boot black in the 1860s. Dick rises to become the embodiment of the American Dream through, as Kiisel notes, who he knows. Ragged Dick builds many relationships with upper-class men, fellow boot blacks, and even builds connections within himself, all while keeping his morality in check. The relationships that Ragged Dick forms are what make him achieve the American Dream.
The first relationships with the upper-class that Ragged Dick builds are with Mr. Whitney and his nephew Frank. “I may be rash in trusting a boy of whom I know nothing, but I like your looks…” says Mr. Whitney (Alger 23). Dick’s appearance at the time could not be called proper by any means; he truly lives up to the name Ragged. Whitney talks more about his inner features rather than his physical ones; he could see Dicks accountability and honesty. Before he lets Dick give his nephew a tour he lets him take a bath, gives him a new suit, and even grants him five dollars. Mr. Whitney leaves Dick with some advice, “your future position depends mainly upon yourself” (79). The next person of the upper-class Dick becomes acquainted with is Mr. Grayson. The day before he acquires the suit from Mr. Whitney, Mr. Grayson employs Dick to shine his shoes; he doesn’t have time to wait till Dick gets back with his change. When Dick comes by to drop off Mr. Grayson’s change the next day, dressed in his new suit, he is invited to attend Mr. Grayson’s Sunday school class where Mr. Grayson would “do what he can to help [Dick]” (102). Dick probably would not have gotten the invitation to Sunday school if he was still sporting his rags, so the new suit from Mr. Whitney is already paying off. The last connection Dick forms is with an owner of a counting room in New York City named James Rockwell. As Dick rides on the ferry, a young boy falls into the water and Dick instinctively dives in and saves him. Little did he know, he just saved Rockwell’s son. In a wave of gratitude, Rockwell gives Dick a fresh set of clothes and a job in his counting room. Without the five dollars from Mr. Whitney, Dick would have never saved up enough money for an adventure across the bay where he met Mr. Rockwell.
Dick’s next connection that gives rise to his American Dream is through his fellow boot blacks. “You’re lazy, that’s what’s the matter” says Dick to his friend Johnny Nolan (11). Johnny is almost the opposite of Ragged Dick; he is unmotivated, indifferent, and, as Dick puts it, just plain lazy. Dick looks at Johnny as a friend, but also as a reminder to aspire to do more in the future. Dick’s relationship with Johnny doesn’t get him money like the aforementioned upper-class men, alternatively it usually cost him money, but it gives Dick the mental motivation to not become like Johnny. The next boot black we...

Find Another Essay On The American Dream in Ragged Dick, by Horatio Alger

Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks

1883 words - 8 pages readers will enjoy this story of rags to riches. Bibliography Alger, Horatio. Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks. New York Penguin. 1990. Rydell and Kroes. Buffalo Bill In Bologna. Chicago. University Chicago Press. 2005. Bibliography Alger, Horatio. Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks. New York Penguin. 1990. Rydell and Kroes. Buffalo Bill In Bologna. Chicago. University Chicago Press. 2005.

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

1652 words - 7 pages The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald The American Dream is the fantasy of complete independence and self-reliance mixed with the opportunity to attain wealth through one's labours. On the surface, this dream seems almost enchanted, offering people the unique prospect of achieving success regardless of one's race, religion or family history. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an immortal

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

827 words - 4 pages heartedness of that dream to shame by being corrupted citizens of society who hold no moral and ethical purpose in their lives. All the hard work and good faith that people put into achieving the American dream is diminished by the selfish and careless acts of these characters. While their wealth has easily come to them, they do not see the worth in their surroundings and lives around them. They take everything for granted and are not appreciative of their honorable life as the dream came so easily to them.

Pursuing the American Dream in My Antonia by Willa Cather

832 words - 3 pages Pursuing the American Dream in My Antonia by Willa Cather In the novel, My Antonia, by Willa Cather, everyone seems to be trying to pursue the American Dream. While they all have different ideas of just exactly what the American Dream is, they all know precisely what they want. For some, the American Dream sounds so enticing that they have traveled across the world to achieve their goal. They work hard to fit in and succeed, but

The American Dream Exposed in Sicko, by Michael Moore

1953 words - 8 pages in people’s heart, creating moral decay. Moreover, people can only rely on themselves in order to survive; American dream is no longer exist and be the motivation to get a better life where the fear of threat replace it. The world is governed by the selfishness of the rich, focusing only on their profit and neglecting people’s health, the most important in our lives as money can never replace health. In “Sicko”, insurance companies in America

American Dream, American Nightmare in "The Killer Inside Me" by Jim Thompson

2253 words - 9 pages novel, we can see the sheriff struggle with his sickness which prevents him from reaching freedom. Thus, Lou Ford is a typical incarnation of the American Dream "success-to-be ". The question is: does he finally reach the famous American Dream? The term "American Dream " was first used in 1931 by an American historian and writer James Truslow Adams. For some, this is the belief in the freedom that allows all citizens and residents of the United

The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1241 words - 5 pages The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the confidant Horatio is created to serve a number of different purposes. Horatio is a flat character. He is a loyal, obedient, and trustworthy companion to Hamlet. His character does not undergo any significant transformation throughout the play, except that he serves as a witness of the death of Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude. Horatio's role in the

The American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

1299 words - 6 pages not wanting to marry him. Beneatha prides herself for being independent. She embraces the forging culture by being the only female undertaking a medical degree. Hansberry shows the struggles Beneatha has to face in the American culture with her sex and major choice in college. Walter Lee is the son of Lena Younger. Walker is determined to become very wealthy and he will “have nothing less than the complete American dream” (Washington 114). He

Chasing the American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

1230 words - 5 pages Chasing the American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun A Raisin in the Sun is a play about an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. This family is going through many struggles, both within the family and financially. The family is awaiting an insurance check. The story focuses on the individual dreams of each family member and what they want to do with the money. The family struggles to mend their family issues

Idea of the "American Dream" in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

901 words - 4 pages Since the 1930's, the idea that a family, a home, opportunity, money and security being available to everyone in the US has been the "American Dream." Unfortunately, in reality this dream isn't really available to everyone, not then and not now. The idea of an "American Dream" is examined throughout Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun as the theme of the play surrounds itself around Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem" where Hughes

The American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

694 words - 3 pages In my research paper I would talk about the themes of The American Dream, and choices and possibilities from the book A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and I will talk about the author. Playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun and was the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout her

Similar Essays

Ragged Dick, By Hoatio Alger Essay

1838 words - 7 pages 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

Ragged Dick Alger, Horatio. Ragged Dick, And Mark, The Match Boy.. New York: Collier Books, 1962. Print

806 words - 3 pages potential to achieve goals is something you really need to get far in life. Having these things, people of great moral will come to you, not the other way around.Having these three aspects in life will get a person far. These are the things that will make you succeed and become a very important person one day. Horatio Alger's, "Ragged Dick" Let the main character Dick, achieve great standards by saving a boy out of the water. Not every day a person is

Comparing Success In Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick And The Life Of Colin Powell

1051 words - 4 pages Success in Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick and the Life of Colin Powell What does success mean to you? I think the idea of success is affected by the social system. In America and Hong Kong, which are capitalistic societies affected by the American Dream, success means money and fame. In other societies, success might have different meanings. Some people said money and fame is the true meaning of success, but I think that the true meaning of

Imagery In Ragged Dick Essay

1348 words - 5 pages Imagery in Ragged Dick Imagery plays a big part in the success of a novel. Different writers have different styles. The good thing about imagery is it makes room for the reader to put things together. The reader is allowed to interpret the story the way that they like. "Ragged Dick", Horatio Alger, Jr. did a great thing with imagery. While reading the novel readers had a change to envision many things that were mentioned in each