Imagery in Ragged Dick
Imagery plays a big part in the success of a novel. Different writers have different styles. The good thing about imagery is it makes room for the reader to put things together. The reader is allowed to interpret the story the way that they like. “Ragged Dick”, Horatio Alger, Jr. did a great thing with imagery. While reading the novel readers had a change to envision many things that were mentioned in each chapter. Algar interconnected the appearances of the main character to his living arrangement. He also connected these things with the character’s attitude.
“Ragged Dick” is about a young boy, name Dick Hunter, who earns his living by shining shoes in New York. He is a very street-smart young boy. All thought the story *censored* was treated according to his appearance. In the beginning of the novel Dick was working on someone shoes when he overheard a conversation between a young boy name Frank and his uncle. Frank wanted to take a tour around the city but his uncle was to busy. Dick interrupted the conversation and said he will give Frank a tour. Before they left for the tour Frank thought Dick need a new suit. While Dick gave Frank a tour, Frank gave Dick something’s to think about. He talked to Dick about everything from shining shoes to where Dick was going to live.
Dick did not have a home. “His bedchamber had been a wooden box half full of straw . . .”(pg4). He ate whatever he could afford. Looking at his clothes one would assume he was poor. ” His pants were torn in several places, and had apparently belonged in the first instance to a boy two sizes larger than himself. He wore a vest, all the buttons of which peeped a shirt which looked as if it had been worn a month. To complete his costume he wore a coat too long for him, dating back, if one might judge from its general appearance, to a remote antiquity.” (P4) When Dick got the new suit from Frank, his attitude began to change. He felt more confident about himself. There were places he entered that he may have not entered because of his clothes.
After Dick and Frank departed from each other, Dick had a lot on his mind. He started thinking about his future. Before he met Frank he did not think about his future much. He would spend all his money on things that he did not need, Such as smoking and gambling. The first thing Dick did when Frank left was get his self a good meal. He ate at a restaurant that he may have not been able to eat at because of his clothes. The next thing he started thinking about was where he was going to sleep. He decided to get a room. He went to a house that was kept by his friend ‘s mother.
This was the beginning of him changing for the better. When he got to the house the lady was a little confessed about why someone dressed as neat as him would want to sleep in her house. “Have you got a room to let?” asked Dick. ” Is it for yourself you ask?” questioned the woman, in some surprise. Dick answered in the affirmative. ” I haven’t got any very good rooms vacant. There’s a small room in the third story.” ” I’d like to see it,” said Dick. ” I don’t know as it would be good enough for you,” said the woman, with a glance at Dick’s clothes. ” I ain’t very partic’lar about accommodations,” said our hero. ” I guess I’ll look at it”. (P83) The room was very little and dingy, but it was ok with Dick Even though Dick had nice clothes he was not yet in a state of mine where he was picky about where he going to sleep. Any room was better than sleeping outside in a box.
Dick paid for the room and went to sleep. He was very proud of himself for taking a step up and renting a room. Throughout the rest of the novel Dick’s attitude changed. Not only did his attitude change everyone around him attitudes change toward him. When Dick got up in the morning he though about his old clothes. He began to be ashamed of being seen with them on. He decided on putting on his new suit. Later on that day Dick ran into this boy name Micky Maguire. Micky was a bully. He started teasing Dick about his new clothes. Dick stood up for himself well. Micky did not like that and try to hit Dick, instand he hit the sidewalk. After another try a policeman came and Micky walked off. The policeman asked Dick was he OK. He did not know Dick was a bootblack. When the policeman find out he was a little surprise because of his clothes. “Well, it seems to me you are dressed pretty smart for a boot-black,” said the policeman.”(P96) The policeman told him a story about a businessman that use to be a paperboy. For the first time realized he did not want to black-boots for the rest of his life.
Dick next stop was the bank. He decided to deposit some money in the bank. When asked to sign his name on his bankbook, he did not want to. He said he was not good at writing. After a really hard time, he wrote it. Everyday he accomplished more and more. Now he felt like he was ignorant because he could not read or write well. He went to dinner that night thinking about buying a book. At dinner he met up with a fellow bootblack, Fos*censored*. They started talking about where Fos*censored* was going to sleep. Dick offered to take him home with him. Fos*censored* was worried about how he was going to repay Dick. Dick was not worry about that. After talking about their interest, Dick happens to mention reading and writing. Fos*censored* said he could read and write rather well. Dick made a proposition. “Then I’ll tell you what,” said Dick; I’ll make a bargain with you. I can’t read much more’n a pig; and my writin’ looks like hens’ track. I don’t want to grow up knowin no more’n a four -year old boy. If you’ll teach me readin and writin’ evenin’s, you shall sleep in my room every night. That’ll be better’n door-steps or old boxes, where I’ve slept many time.”(P105) Fos*censored* agreed to this proposition. He was thankful to have a place to stay.
After a few month Dick had saved over a hundred dollars and also could read and write. He was beginning to feel very respectable. He helped Fos*censored* get a better job. He also landed himself a better job. Soon his attitude towards his room was changing. He felt since he was moving up in the world, his home should be a little better. ” I think we can afford to leave Moot Street now,” he continued. ” This house isn’t as neat as it might be, and I should like to live in a nicer quarter of the city.”(P184) Dick agreed and decided the sooner the better. He wanted to start the very next day, since he retired from boot blacking.
In society today appearances are very important. People associate nice clothes with money. You can see in Ragged Dick that is not always the case. In the beginning of the story Dick did not really care where he lived but after he got new clothes he started thinking differently. He wanted to live in a better place. The connect Algar make was good. It makes people aware of the things we do. People concentrate to much on appearances and not personality. I do believe nice clothes may make a person feel better about them, partly because people treat them better.