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 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Travis approaches the clerk and requests to withdraw the money. The clerk acts as though this is perfectly normal but trips up Travis—who is an older man—when he says that the account is registered to a fourteen-year-old boy.
Travis, because he lacks Dick’s ambition, has no savings account and thus no experience with banking. This makes his scheme particularly hard to pull off.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Travis claims that the account belongs to his younger brother, who is unable to come himself because he’s sick with the measles. The clerk replies that he must be feeling better, as Dick jumps from behind the counter to confront Travis.
This is a particularly dramatic moment that invigorates the story. It’s reminiscent of Dick’s earlier “detective” work with the country bumpkin.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Travis attempts to flee but is met at the door by a police officer who drags him off as Travis yells threats to Dick. The narrator again intervenes to say that Travis would be convicted to nine months in prison, after which he found his way to California and forgot entirely about his threats against Dick.
The narratorial interlude wrapping up Travis’ story is long and tangential. It’s either meant simply to fill space or  to give the audience absolute certainty that the threat to Dick has passed.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Dick immediately leaves the bank in order to give Tom Wilkins his money, so that the younger boy can stave off his family’s eviction. Dick throws in an extra dollar, for a grand total of five, so that the boy can buy food as well. Dick feels extremely satisfied by the chance to help the family, and notes with some that five dollars was the same amount that Mr. Whitney had given him previously with the request that he “pay it forward” when he was able.
Dick has done a wonderful deed in saving the family from eviction and homelessness. The fact that he again finds more joy in helping Tom Wilkins than in simply saving money for himself continues to underscore his strength of character.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
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