Comparing Success in Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick and the Life of Colin Powell

Comparing Success in Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick and the Life of Colin Powell

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Success in Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick and the Life of Colin Powell


What does success mean to you? I think the idea of success is affected by the social system. In America and Hong Kong, which are capitalistic societies affected by the American Dream, success means money and fame. In other societies, success might have different meanings. Some people said money and fame is the true meaning of success, but I think that the true meaning of success is to follow the interest of your own and being good at it, but not money and fame. Overemphasizing on these two factors can only lead to negative effects. Therefore I think the definition of success in capitalistic countries should not be focused on money and fame, because it restricts people from following their real dreams.

The idea of success in the capitalistic countries is mainly about money and fame. Capitalism, the social system of America, is based on the principle of individual rights, which is that everyone has the rights to do whatever they want without violating the law. Capitalism has an idea that the individual is sovereign. Therefore a man's thinking determines his choices and actions, and each man is the master of his own destiny. Every man in the capitalist society has the freedom of action, and those actions are necessary to support his own life. The capitalistic idea contributes to the formation of the idea of success because as each person has individual rights, everybody has the right and freedom to own their own wealth. Which is very different from socialism, in socialistic society, the people have to share their wealth with the government. As wealth can be own, people who have more wealth seem to be more successful, money becomes the main aspect of success...


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... in the other hand, I think if people reach their goal for money and fame, the real dreams already changed.

Overemphasizing on money and fame in success restricts people to follow their real dreams, and also give negative effects to the society. I believe that many people, like me, already changed their goals, and would regret for the rest of their life. Therefore, I do not think people should be fixed because of some social ideas, but should fight against these wrong, fixed ideas.

Works Consulted

Alger, Horatio. "Ragged Dick." Rereading America. 5th ed. Eds. Cary Colombo,

Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston : Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 298-304

Blue, Rose and Naden, Corinne J. "From Colin Powell: Straight to the Top."

Rereading America. 5th ed. Eds. Cary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston : Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 298-304

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