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Ragged Dick

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Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot-Blacks


(1868)


"Ragged Dick" seems to be the one book of Horatio Alger's that people most recognize. It has many of Alger's classic features: a shoe-shine boy with a dirty face and a heart of gold; a smaller and weaker lad who joins forces with him for their mutual benefit; a courageous leap into icy water to save a young child; and the title character's rise, if not to riches, at least to respectability. Another of Alger's favorite themes here is repeated: clothes make the man, or boy, in this case. Dick is able to don suitable clothing for his move from blacking boots to the office. The loss of his former rags cuts him off from his hardscrabble past, and from then on, he moves steadily to a place of respectability. There is a sequel to "Ragged Dick," called "Mark the Match Boy" for those who do not get enough of Dick's adventures from the first volume. Please enjoy this heartening story, which I re-read at least once a year. A reader can not remain depressed or downhearted while reading Alger.--Submitted by Robert Cox

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