Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks

by

Horatio Alger

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Ragged Dick can help.

Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dick realizes that he’s hungry and so seeks out his supper. Rather than his usual, ramshackle restaurant however, he now chooses a more respectable one with more substantial food choices. He is amazed to find that he’s welcomed there without question, when he wouldn’t have been in his previous wardrobe and unclean state. 
There are, of course, other things besides dress that might make Dick feel out of place in such a restaurant. His way of speaking, for instance, is particularly uncultured and marks him as a street urchin. This, however, never seems to be a problem.
Themes
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
After his dinner, Dick ponders what to do with his remaining money. Normally, he thinks to himself, he would go to the theater. He wants to be true to his word with Frank, though, and try to turn over a new leaf. He also worries that if he continues to sleep outside, his new suit will be quickly ruined.
Here the suit begins to show itself as more than an article of clothing. It is, instead, part of an entire transformation for Dick. To tarnish it by sleeping outside, would be to tarnish that transformation—to ruin the person he hopes to become.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Thus, Dick resolves to himself to rent his own room. He finds one in a somewhat run-down part of the city and agrees to pay seventy-five cents a week for it. His landlady, Mrs. Mooney, is surprised that such a well-dressed young man is interested in the room, but nevertheless agrees to rent it to him.
This may seem like a fair amount of money—even with his windfall, Dick only has enough money for one month’s rent. However, Alger’s careful record keeping shows that Dick spends this much money regularly on wasteful things.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Dick expresses amazement, to himself, about how comforting the idea of having a bed to sleep in every night is.
One can pretty easily imagine how much of a relief this feeling would be. This is a major step in Dick’s transformation, and reveals to him the pleasure of financial stability.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Get the entire Ragged Dick LitChart as a printable PDF.
Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks PDF