Ragged Dick Essay

Christian Silvia English 209 8/26/2012 Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger Jr. This book entails the struggles of young poor boys growing up in New York City through the eyes of Horatio Alger Jr. Although the author grew up comfortably under the roof of his family, he finds a particular calling in helping young boys, without the same privileges as he had, find a way to advance themselves in life. Horatio Alger Jr. was born in New England in 1832, later moved to the states with his family in 1844. At age 15 he completed his local preparatory school Gates Academy and started publishing literary works in local newspapers.

He studied at Harvard and became a professional writer the next year, selling two essays and a poem to the Pictorial national library. After graduation he went through various jobs including assistant editor for the Boston Daily Advertiser, managing a summer session at Deerfield academy, when he eventually became a pastor with the first Unitarian church and society of Brewster Massachusetts. During all which he kept writing and publishing many works. While he was a pastor he developed raids against drugs and violence for the boys at the church, And first developed his calling to help the future of boys.

He left the church and continued to write books on inspiring young boys to turn into men. Ragged Dick, the main character, is a young boy forced to live upon his own in Manhattan NewYork. Horatio wrote this book with inspiration from all the street boys growing up in New york. Dick at his young age of 7 was already forced to completely take care of himself. He woke up every morning without a penny in his pocket, knowing if he didn’t work, he wouldn’t eat. His first job was a struggling newspaper boy, then moved to selling matches, and procured his job as a Boot Black.

Being a homeless kid, without a penny, only having his supplies for work, would boot black for ten cents a shine. Having a eye for business and a clever wit he managed better than the other boys. And by that, means he was able to have enough for food on most days. Without proper guidance he would spend the little extra money he earned on gambling, drinking, and smoking. Dick regarded himself as a hardworking noble young boy, with good morals, who would never cheat or steal, just trying to make it up in the world.

Always having an open eye for business, he landed the job of guiding a nephew of a respectable man, around the city. Frank the nephew was visiting his uncle, wanting to check out New York City. The uncle however had to work and would not be able to show Frank around. Dick, who always kept an open eye for business seized the opportunity and offered his services as guide. These two young men were from two completely different classes. Frank lived with a noble family in a comfortable home, and also attended school. Dick was homeless, with no family, and no education.

Within a few short hours and a few confrontations, Frank saw Dick as a young guy who had a hard beginning making it and taking care of himself. With a few things stopping him from being where he wanted to be. Dick saw frank as an example the next step in becoming a respectable man. Frank saw a future in Dick and encouraged him to not spend his extra change needlessly but on saving for the future, and to accomplish what he wants in life. After those few hours Dick walked away with a friend, a greater sense of self, new goals for the future, as well as a new suit.