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

by

Horatio Alger

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Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dick awakens in his room the next morning and surprises himself by washing up before he gets dressed. He has to decide whether or not to wear his old clothes to work or to risk staining his new suit. He finds that he’s ashamed of his old clothes and can’t wear them. Instead, he tells himself that he simply must make more money so that he can replace his new suit when it becomes worn out or damaged. He also decides that he must buy a comb.
Dick finds, increasingly, that as his wealth grows, so do his expenses. At first, it seems as though Dick is miring himself with lavish expenses associated with “looking good”—behavior that would be little better than gambling. However, Dick maturely curbs this behavior after the purchase of the comb.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Though he’s hungry again, Dick decides that he has to earn some money before getting breakfast. He doesn’t want to use any more of the money Mr. Whitney gave him and instead plans to start a savings account with it.
Dick could just as easily keep the money on him—but the savings account will keep him from spending frivolously, and it is simply more of an adult thing to do.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Dick finds that his new suit enables him to get customers more quickly, and he earns a substantial amount of money before breakfast. Thus, he eats a more substantial meal than he normally would have—the receipt of which is written out line by line—and buys himself a comb so that he can look more presentable.
Alger goes through the decidedly odd step of writing out the receipt, line by line, for Dick’s breakfast. He claims this is to satisfy the curiosity of his readers; it also handily fills up an entire paragraph worth of space.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Returning to work, Dick finds himself confronted by Micky Maguire, a young hooligan who takes offense to Dick’s new wardrobe. Maguire thinks that Dick is putting on airs, and he wants to knock Dick down a peg or two. Maguire and his friend, a boy named Limpy Jim, start a fight with Dick.
Ganging up two-on-one against Dick is decided not the right thing to do, and Maguire accordingly loses his fight. Later, Dick will have the opportunity to similarly gang up on Maguire, but he doesn’t.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
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