Ragged Dick, by Hoatio Alger Essays

Ragged Dick, by Hoatio Alger Essays

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Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all? Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in life? No one looks at race or anything of that nature just solely on merit and no matter where you come from or what you go through you have the same opportunity as the next person. Merit is the quality of being particularly good or worth especially so as to deserve praise or reward.

Well, this is the message that Horatio Alger gives to his readers that some people feel as though it’s a myth as oppose to others thinking it’s great guidelines or a great blueprint to success. In a selection of the money and success chapter in “Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing”, a professor at Yale Law School, Harlon L. Dalton critiques the story of Horatio Alger “Ragged Dick” calling it a myth. Dalton says that you can’t just overlook the fact that people still are based upon race and class.

The Horatio Alger myth conveys three basic messages. The first one says that each of us is judged solely on her or his own merits. The second one stated that we each have a fair opportunity to develop those merits. Last but not least, the third one implied merit would out. Each of them is, to be charitable, problematic.

The first message is a variant on the rugged individualism ethos. . In this form, it suggests that success in life has nothing to do with pedigree, race, class background, gender, national origin, sexual orientation-in short, with anything beyond our individual control (Dalton).

The second message conveyed by Horatio Alger is that we all have a shot reaching our true potential. To be fair, neither Alger nor the myth he underwrote suggests that we start out equal. Nor d...


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Money and class was the context in which this work was written because in Horatio’s theory people were equal, started off equal, and have equal opportunity. I assumed that the author Horatio lived the American dream and didn’t see the reality of society and that’s another thing I feel like rich people tend to not notice is the reality of society.

In conclusion, I know everyone would love to have it all and just wished it were this perfect plan or blueprint to success. Who wouldn’t, but its not. You can make it out but it’s going to be easy, some maybe easier than others but just stay focused and would get there. I side with Dalton’s point of view 100 percent although Horatio’s view would be nice and it does indeed sound great and grasp your attention. Even though people don’t have equal opportunity still work hard, stay consistent in doing so, and never give up.

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