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 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dick finally decides it’s time to find another job and begins to apply, though he finds conditions much the same as Fosdick did. With his financial security, Dick allows himself occasional half-days off. On one such day, Dick accompanies Fosdick into Brooklyn on a mission from Fosdick’s employer, taking the same ferry he had earlier. Two young children are playing near the boat’s edge.
Uncharacteristically, Dick goes with Fosdick simply because he has nothing better to do. Normally, this time would be better spent working, but the narrator claims that Dick is now comfortable enough to take some time off—another true sign of how financially stable he has become.
Themes
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Suddenly, one of the children—a boy—falls into the water, screaming on his way down. The boy’s father, Mr. Rockwell, is unable to swim and yells for help, offering lavish monetary rewards for whoever saves his son. Before he even hears these offers, however, Dick has jumped into the water to save the boy.
It’s important that Dick doesn’t hear these offers before jumping in. His act is entirely selfless with no thought of reward.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Dick manages to save the boy only in the nick of time, and the child’s weight almost pulls him under. However, Dick rescues him, and a group rowboaters pick the two boys up, the ferry having not stopped. The rowboaters carry Dick and the boy to the shore, where the boy’s ecstatic father meets them.
This is the novel’s climactic peak. Dick has saved himself from homelessness, saved Tom Wilkins’s family from destitution, and now literally saved another’s life.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Mr. Rockwell has Dick and Fosdick brought to his house, along with his son. He supplies Dick with a new suit to replace his ruined one and instructs Dick to meet him at his counting room the next day. The boy’s father wishes to discuss how he can repay Dick for saving his son.
There’s certainly some symbolism in this second suit. Whereas the original one was entirely an act of charity, Dick has earned this suit of his own accord, through his bravery and morality. Yet again, Dick’s virtue will bring about financial reward.
Themes
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
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