Reading Responses - Essay Example

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He himself was a New Yorker and he constantly wrote about the current condition of New York during the mid nineteenth century. His novel Ragged Dick is about the conditions of the…
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English Reading Responses Horatio Alger was the chronicler who wrote down about the public and the common world at large. He himself was a New Yorker and he constantly wrote about the current condition of New York during the mid nineteenth century. His novel Ragged Dick is about the conditions of the Boot Blacks who lived off the streets. These children were neglected and abandoned and the government did nothing to protect them or provide shelter to them. The story is situated during those times when the Central Park of New York was still a rough tract of land. Ragged Dick was actually the name of a boot black that lived in the huts near the central park. He spent his life by shining the boots of the wealthy businesspersons and at evenings if he would have money to spare then he would spend is time watching the cheap plays at the Old Bowery theatre. At night, he would spend his time sleeping wrapped in newspapers and if he would still have money after watching the theater then he would spend his night at Newsboy Lodging House spending 6 cents and he would buy himself a hearty meal at the café. The novel is based on how ragged dick has a sudden windfall and he obtains a lot of money. The novel teaches the readers a lot of virtue through the life of Ragged dick. It teaches the importance of education, the importance of being generous, honest and to not inculcate any filthy habit of smoking or drinking. The two questions instilled in my mind were What were the differences between Dick’s and Frank’s perception? And What are the different themes that are enumerated in the novel Ragged Dick?
The entire novel is based on the dichotomy present between Frank and Dick’s character. While Frank is actually a genteel boy from the countryside who is completely captured and entrapped with the superficial appearances of the people and the different places. Frank is initially disgusted and he looks down upon the appearance of Dick. Frank is just fascinated with the beauty around him and he cannot see the reality inside it. Dick becomes the mouthpiece of Alger who teaches Didactics to the readers of the novel.
The different themes that has been discussed in the novel is that Dick’s search for identity. The search for identity begins with the transition and growth of dick from childhood to adulthood. Another theme that has been dealt in the novel is the theme of success. The theme that enacts the importance of being wealthy and it also marks the fulfillment of the American Dream. It also highlights the importance of the social responsibility.
Alger, Horatio. Ragged Dick -Or- Street Life In New York With Boot-Blacks. 1st ed. [S.l.]: Wilder Publications, Limi, 2010. Print. Read More
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