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 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At the church, Dick and Fosdick find Mr. Greyson, who sits the boys with him and his family for the service. After the service is complete, Mr. Greyson explains that the Sunday School begins in the afternoon and suggests the two boys join his family for lunch at their home. They agree, though Dick admits to himself that he feels a bit out-classed by the obviously wealthy family.
Note that Dick—who felt so at ease helping Frank navigate around the conmen of New York City—here feels totally out of place. These are some of the precious few moments where the boy seems to act his age and to display the naivete appropriate to it.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
On the way to, and during, lunch, Dick finds himself talking incessantly with Mr. Greyson’s daughter, Ida. She thinks that Dick is just like any of the other boys she’s met, and is surprised to find that he isn’t going to college and instead works for a living.
This part of the episode reads a bit like the beginning of a romance or marriage plot. That his lifestyle and future surprises Ida further emphasizes the vast socio-economic gulf between them.
Themes
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
At Sunday School, Mr. Greyson becomes aware of Dick’s complete lack of religious education and graciously adjusts his lesson plan to a more basic one for Dick’s benefit. Ida asks if Dick will come again, spurring him to reflect that she is “the nicest girl he had ever seen.” Dick agrees to come every Sunday to continue his religious education. As he and Fosdick leave, however, they are accosted by Micky Maguire, who throws a stone that just misses Dick’s head.
Dick’s utter lack of education is again emphasized here, as is the possibility for romance with Ida despite their drastic class differences. The re-emergence of Micky Maguire, meanwhile, suggests that Dick has yet to escape his ragged roots.
Themes
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon