Ragged Dick, written by Horatio Alger, considers the plight of the working class and how, if at all, it is possible to rise above their circumstances to ascend to middle and upper class statuses. Ragged Dick, the title character of the novel, is born into poverty and seems to be destined to remain impoverished. Dick, living hand to mouth, would squander his money from his job as a bootblack. However, through a series of opportunities and chance meetings of people, Dick is able to ascend to the ranks of middle class. Although Dick starts out in life seemingly destined to never rise above his poverty, he utilizes certain aspects of his character such as determination and honesty and couples those traits with chance meetings and opportunities to ultimately shake off his cloak of poverty and become a respectable man with profound potential. With the right qualities, opportunities, and character, Dick is able to assert himself into a higher socioeconomic class. Being popular and inserting yourself into society gives you more chances for opportunities to come your way. Still it depends on your character and personality to determine if you will take the chance to succeed or fail. Ultimately, Horatio Alger tells the story of a young man who, through hard work and determination, as well as a lot of luck and opportunities, is able to transcend the poverty to which he was born and elevate himself to a middle class status in which he could be comfortable, stable, and happy.
In the world today the American Dream is still obtainable though not like the book describes. The American Dream is more centered around the idea of economic stability than to reach the top tiers of the economic percentiles (talked about in an earlier blog). Though these days college has become a burden of debt that is necessary to be competitive in the job market. Which I will discuss more in my next post.