History 12 Essay

Submitted By asnine
Words: 1509
Pages: 7

Alfonso Sandoval
Vernon Creviston
December 5, y

History 12
Ragged Dick, Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot- Blacks

Horatio Alger wrote this book to demonstrate and show acts of Social Darwinism during the Gilded age in America around 1878-1889. The Gilded Age in America was a time and place where anyone was in control of their future, especially their wealth. This country was rapidly growing with success and wealth throughout different countries, and with this great success also came with poverty. Dick was a well written character in Ragged Dick, or Street Life in New York with the Boot - Blacks, because he played an important character in this book who was not apart of wealth at first. Dick started off sleeping in a wooden box filled with straw and had no money for food nor desired needs. Dick was a well mannered, strait minded, loyal kid who would not steel and with his determination, as well as the right opportunity, he became the meaning of Social Darwinism in the city of New York. In this society and time, many similar occasions would not turn out the same as Dick’s did, therefore, due to the fact that many people rarely get the chance and opportunity to really show their talent. It takes hard determination and some luck in order to become successful in our society.
Social Darwinism during the Gilded Age was categorized as everyone for themselves and only the most determined to get rich would succeed while others who are not determine would stay poor and in the slumps of the streets of New York, and sooner or later, they would pass away in the slumps of the streets. The poor had a choice to choose whether they want to stay poor or choose to better their lives through all the work that was being offered in New York. Dick never really had a steady job nor was well educated, but he earned his money by shinning shoes on the streets through hard work, loyalty, and showing some entertainment to his customers. This was demonstrated to us by Dick when many of his customers handed him more than ten cents per shine and instead of running off with the extra money he would always offer to get change and drop it off. Being a part of Social Darwinism, Dick took opportunities that no one would care to think of or see. For example, the time where Frank, a young boy, was visiting his uncle to go sight seeing in New York, Dick over heard the conversation and took an opportunity of showing New York to the young boy. Many of these events happened through luck for Dick or else many of the stories that happened and occurred would not of happened for the young shoe shiner in the streets.
Being successful takes a lot of determination, commitment, and a lot of luck because you can’t just have wealth handed to you unless you are born into a wealthy family. Dick, the character in Ragged Dick, Or, Street Life In New York With Boot - Black, came across many opportunities as a young kid in the streets and was not the ideal teen. He was a smoker, gambler, and a drinker who spent the money he earned in a day in a single night. Even though Dick was a drinker and a smoker, he was well determined to make his money in any means as opportunities came up on the streets. I believe that it does not take determination, but as well as luck and open opportunities or else some doors would not open to better yourselves. In todays market or job opportunities, there are always requirements as well as more than one person competing for the same job as you are, which makes it harder to obtain a decent career in which you have devoted the majority of your life studying for. Luck comes to you if you look for it, as for Dick, it came in the streets of New York when he offered to take Mr. Whitney’s young nephew sight seeing before going to boarding school, and as a reward, Dick was given a suite of clothes in which he was grateful for. The new suite that Dick received transformed him into a new person, who no longer was recognized as a shoe shiner on the…