A Gilded Age
In the excerpts of “Ragged Dick” written by Horatio Alger and “Looking Backward” written by Edward Bellamy, the readers can see a strong difference in how times have changed wages, living standards, and more importantly the way workers climb their to the top of the Industrial food chain. These two stories both show many comparisons, but also multiple contrasts.
In “Ragged Dick” we meet a young man who goes by the name of Ragged Dick, at the young age of only 15 he has acquired his own shoe shine business since the age of 7 from working with different tailors and finally having his own customers who pay around the fee of ten cent per shine. Dick is a very poor young man with no family or home, and yet we see he has a lot of ambition underneath his dirty clothes and face. With not much knowledge or money Dick refuses not to be a “Spectable” gent as he would say.
Dick was a respectable young man to anyone who knew him, his other fellow street urchins did not have the morals he accommodated. Dick refused to steal because he looked at it as mean and many older, wealthier gentlemen started to realize that and took a liking to him. One of these men was Mr. Greyson a wealthy man who worked on Fulton Street gave Dick 25 cent for a shoe shine because he was in a rush and told him to bring the change to his work later on. Greyson at first was hesitant, but when Dick brought his correct change back he knew there something special about him. Throughout the story Mr. Greyson befriends the young boy and shows him that there are plenty of opportunities in the world for a hard working young man such as himself.
Dick meets a older man and young boy who he gives a tour of the city too. The two give Dick new clothes, ones in which he has never been presented too and show him that maybe a honest respectable man is the way to go. The boy goes on to tell Dick that without having a good education he will not be able to get the respectable job...