Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks Essay

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Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks
Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks tells the story of a young teenage boy trying to survive as a boot black on the streets of New York during the period of industrialization. Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks overall is very accurate in its portrayal of the era. Several examples throughout this work can be used to justify this such as Dick’s occupations, his enjoyment of theatre, his rags to riches story, the adversities some individuals struggle through, the emphasis on the suite making a professional, and the hard economic times. However, throughout this book, although not abundant in my opinion, there are also inaccuracies in its portrayal of the era which several example can attest such as Dick‘s and Fosdick surviving on their own without any public assistance, or the fact that Dick was able to gain higher education on his limited leisure time despite working full time. Overall, this work is a great book showing that character, good intentions, honesty of an individual can help them gain a great life.
Throughout this work several examples help portray the era and are very accurately. First example would be that fact that Dick himself work as a boot black in the street of New York working from morning until night searching for customers to earn a minimal wage in order to survive. As we have discussed throughout the semester during lecture, during the period of industrialization in America more often than not, those who held the means of production would often exploit their workers especially immigrants who would cluster in large cities. Because of this families living in large cities often lived on subside...

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...d from their may hours a week trying to muster enough money for survival.
Overall, Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks is a great story. Although there are some inaccuracies, they are very few and in between. I believe this book is very accurate in its portrayal of this particular period American social history, or era of industrialization in New York. I believe Dick’s struggles and accomplishments help portray what life would have been like as a teenage boy with no parents struggling to survive. Dick’s character, good morals, and cleverness in the end are what makes him successful and readers will enjoy this story of rags to riches.

Alger, Horatio. Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks. New York Penguin. 1990.
Rydell and Kroes. Buffalo Bill In Bologna. Chicago. University Chicago Press. 2005.

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