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The Road to Success

Autor:   •  May 1, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,144 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,311 Views

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In the story Ragged Dick: Or Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks by Horatio Alger, Jr. there is a fourteen-year-old boy named Ragged Dick who lives in the city of New York. Ragged Dick is described as an honest, humorous, and hardworking boy. He lives on his own making a living shining shoes. Throughout the story, he had many adventures and met a lot of new people. Some of the people he met even helped him out to create him into the successful person he is at the end of the story. In the story Ragged Dick learned that if he works hard in the things he does, then he will be rewarded with great success.

During the time of the Gilded Age it was hard for many people to make ends meet. Since it was so hard to make ends meet for many of the people, lots of people had problems moving up the social ladder. Instead of having a normal childhood of playing with friends and watching cartoons, most of the kids had jobs to help support their families. A couple of jobs that kids had include being newsboys and shoe shiners.

Back in the day of the Gilded Age it was difficult for people to move up the social class, but it was not impossible. In fact, Ragged Dick was one of the lucky few that actually did. In the beginning of the story Ragged Dick was a homeless boy living in the streets out of a box. When he was younger he sold newspapers and sold matches. He was now earning a living by shining shoes for around twenty-five cents since his other jobs did not work out as well.

Throughout the story he encountered many people/customers that helped him out. One person that helped him out the most was Mr. Whitney. Mr. Whitney and his nephew, Frank, were visiting the city of New York. Ragged Dick overheard their conversation about wanting to see the city, and he offered to take Frank cite seeing. Mr. Whitney thought it was a good idea, so before Frank and Ragged Dick went on with the cite seeing they went to the Astor House hotel to get Ragged Dick cleaned up. After Ragged Dick was cleaned up he looked like a completely new person. One he was cleaned up he put on second-hand clothes that made him look presentable. Not many of his friends were even able to recognize Ragged Dick after the transformation. Throughout the story Ragged Dick never really went back to dressing the way he used to, instead he would wear similar clothes that Mr. Whitney gave him.

Frank told Ragged Dick a story about a man named Dick Whittington to show him that if he did not want to live the life style he has now then he can change it. Frank said, "… he was a very poor when he was a boy, but he didn't stay so. Before he died, he became Lord Mayor of London." (Alger, Ragged Dick, 42) Ragged Dick then said, "That's a pretty good story, but I don't believe all the cats in New York will ever make me mayor." (Alger, Ragged Dick, 42) Frank soon replied saying, "No, probably not, but you may rise in some other way. A good


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