Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick

991 words 4 pages
In Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, Alger writes about a rag-to-riches story and points out valid and key messages that tell of things like hard work and determination can take anyone from the bottom to the top, despite one’s economic class. I do realize that in real life that although these messages hold key to making it in the world, everyone does not have the equal opportunity to succeed or move up in class rankings like Alger says.

Dick, the main character in Ragged Dick, is a man that fits every trait Alger describes in the story. He is a man who has a mediocre job, and is a very hard worker. Throughout the story, signs show us that Dick is a man who has ambition and is very determined to one day get away from his poor
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Ragged Dick gives readers hope and it points out positive values, characteristics and actions that can lead to success. But the one thing that the story, does teach all of its readers more than anything, is to take advantage of each and every opportunity that we are given in society. Dick was a great person with values that represented success, but had he not saved the wealthy man’s son, more than likely Dick would have been just like the common man in today’s world, which is just trying to make money the best way possible. Dick took advantage of an opportunity that was handed to him and because of this moved up in society.

While I agree with Alger’s views on attributes and values that create success, I find his rag-to-riches story, as invalid because in today’s times the only way that may happen is if you become of YouTube phenomenon, etc. People cannot just quickly rise from the depths of poverty to high and upper class life. Just like anything in life, it takes plenty of work to get there. As Mantsios states in his article, “It would take the average American (earning $35,762 and spending absolutely nothing at all) a total of 28,033 years (or approximately 400 lifetimes) to earn just $1 billion.” (Mantsios 307) I find Ragged Dick to address topics that deal with work and success, and although it touches on class, it does not