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Ragged Dick and the American Dream Paper

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the American dream can be defined as a “social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity; also, the prosperity or life that is the realization of this ideal.” Through his 1868 novel, “Ragged Dick,” Horatio Alger naively creates an inoperable myth that cannot be applied to every American life. Alger complicates the American dream by representing a young fourteen-year-old, white male as the main character who overcomes adversity with hard work and determination. However, those eager to one day live the American dream do not realize the hardships, especially as a woman or minority, and the difference between today’s society and the society established in Ragged Dick.The character Richard Hunter represents the lucky few in American society who make it past discrimination and poverty. The American dream, as shown in Ragged Dick, is an unrealistic goal constructed by naive ambition.

The American dream is interpreted as an evolutionary notion concerning American individuals and their basic lifestyles. In 1630 John Winthrop arrived to the “New World” and led a group of Puritans in creating a successful society (Winthrop, John, 1588-1649). Within his sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity,” Winthrop attempted to communicate the significance between God and the expectations of His people.Winthrop claimed God created diversity for three purposes: diversity allows different techniques of worshiping God, diversity forces people to work among one another, and societies need for different characteristics among people (Winthrop).Then, in 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America,” also known as the “Declaration of Independence.” This piece of writing focused on Great Britain’s offenses; furthermore, it set a core foundation of expectations among Americans as they progressed towards creating freedom and…

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