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.

Frank Whitney Character Analysis

Frank is the nephew of Mr. Whitney, a businessman in New York City whom Frank visits one day. He is a student at an expensive boarding school in Barnton, Connecticut, where he studies the classics. Frank and Mr. Whitney meet Ragged Dick on a street corner as the two try to decide what Frank ought to do with his day, as Mr. Whitney has business to which he must attend and can’t show Frank around the city. Dick offers to serve as a tour guide to Frank, and, with some amusement, the Whitneys agree to this—with the provision that Dick accept the gift of one of Frank’s old suits. During the tour, Frank proves himself to be a slightly sheltered boy. He fails to understand the various cons that he and Dick encounter and would surely have fallen victim to them if left to his own accord. Still, while he learns some street smarts from Dick, Frank imparts a great deal more than he takes. Frank believes wholeheartedly that Dick can change his lot in life if the bootblack simply adheres to a strict program of thrift and education, while making some effort to attend to his appearance. Dick sees Frank as the model boy—the kind of boy Dick would like to be—so the young bootblack takes Frank’s lessons to heart. A thoughtful, sentimental youth, Frank writes to Dick more than a year after they first meet, just to check in. In his letter, he shows genuine concern for and interest in the homeless boy with whom he’d only spent a few hours.

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

The Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks quotes below are all either spoken by Frank Whitney or refer to Frank Whitney. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks published in 1990.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“I’m afraid you haven’t washed your face this morning,” said Mr. Whitney […]

“They didn’t have no wash-bowls at the hotel where I stopped,” said Dick.

“What hotel did you stop at?”

“The Box Hotel.”
“The Box Hotel?”
“Yes, sir, I slept in a box on Spruce Street.”

Related Characters: Richard “Ragged Dick” Hunter (speaker), Mr. Whitney (speaker), Frank Whitney
Related Symbols: The Suit
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

When Dick was dressed in his new attire, with his face and hands clean, and his hair brushed, it was difficult to imagine that he was the same boy.

Related Symbols: The Suit
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

Dick succeeded in getting quite a neat-looking cap, which corresponded much better with his appearance than the one he had on. The last, not being considered worth keeping, Dick dropped on the sidewalk, from which, on looking back, he saw it picked up by a brother boot-black who appeared to consider it better than his own.

Related Symbols: The Suit, Bootblacking Box
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Turning towards our hero, he said, “May I inquire, young man, whether you are largely invested in the Erie Railroad?”

Related Symbols: The Suit, Restaurants
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Did you ever read the Bible?” asked Frank, who had some idea of the neglected state of Dick’s education.
“No,” said Dick. “I’ve heard it’s a good book, but I never read one. I ain’t much on readin’. It makes my head ache.”

Related Characters: Richard “Ragged Dick” Hunter (speaker), Frank Whitney (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

“Some boys is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Victoria’s boys is born with a gold spoon, set with di’monds; but gold and silver was scarce when I was born, and mine was pewter.”

Related Characters: Richard “Ragged Dick” Hunter (speaker), Frank Whitney
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Though Frank did not know it, one of the queen’s palaces is far from being as fine a looking building as the Fifth Avenue Hotel. St. James’ Palace is a very ugly-looking brick structure, and appears much more like a factory than like the home of royalty. There are few hotels in the world as fine-looking as this democratic institution.

Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

“I know his game,” whispered Dick. “Come along and you’ll see what it is.”

Related Characters: Richard “Ragged Dick” Hunter (speaker), Frank Whitney
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

I ain’t got no mother. She died when I wasn’t but three years old. My father went to sea; but he went off before mother died, and nothin’ was ever heard of him. I expect he got wrecked, or died at sea.

Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

There isn’t but one thing to do. Just give me back that money, and I’ll see that you’re not touched. If you don’t, I’ll give you up to the first p’liceman we meet.

Related Characters: Richard “Ragged Dick” Hunter (speaker), Frank Whitney
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

Save your money, my lad, buy books, and determine to be somebody, and you may yet fill an honorable position.

Related Symbols: The Suit
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

I’ll make a bargain with you. I can’t read much more’n a pig; and my writin’ looks like hens’ tracks. I don’t want to grow up knowin’ no more’n a four-year-old boy. If you’ll teach me readin’ and writin’ evenin’s, you shall sleep in my room every night.

Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

Dick read this letter with much satisfaction. It is always pleasant to be remembered, and Dick had so few friends that it was more to him than to boys who are better provided. Again, he felt a new sense of importance in having a letter addressed to him. It was the first letter he had ever received. If it had been sent to him a year before, he would not have been able to read it. But now, thanks to Fosdick's instructions, he could not only read writing, but he could write a very good hand himself.

Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

I've give up sleepin' in boxes, and old wagons, findin' it didn't agree with my constitution. I've hired a room in Mott Street, and have got a private tooter,

who rooms with me and looks after my studies in the evenin'. Mott Street ain't very fashionable; but my manshun on Fifth Avenoo isn't finished yet, and I'm afraid it won't be till I'm a gray-haired veteran. I've got a hundred dollars towards it, which I've saved from my earnin's. I haven't forgot what you and your uncle said to me, and I'm trying to grow up 'spectable.

Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Ragged Dick LitChart as a printable PDF.
Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks PDF

Frank Whitney Character Timeline in Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks

The timeline below shows where the character Frank Whitney appears in Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Dick Makes a Proposition
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
While searching for his next customer, Dick stumbles upon Mr. Whitney and Frank. Mr. Whitney is apologizing to his nephew, because the older man won’t be able to... (full context)
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Dick, listening in on their conversation, offers to be Frank’s tour guide. Both Frank and his uncle are amused by this suggestion, since Dick is... (full context)
Chapter 4: Dick’s New Suit
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...at the hotel, Dick is presented with a suit by Mr. Whitney. Though it was Frank’s previously, it’s still in quite good shape, and will make Dick appear a more suitable... (full context)
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Frank is suitably impressed by Dick’s change in appearance, and the two agree that all that’s... (full context)
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
Dick and Frank make their way into the city, Dick pointing out landmarks along the way. Throughout their... (full context)
Chapter 5: Chatham Street and Broadway
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
...their goods to the boys, Dick mocks them and sometimes explains their various scams to Frank, who is naïve to such things. (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Eventually Dick and Frank find a proper hat store, and Frank buys a new hat for Dick, who simply... (full context)
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
...make their way back from Chatham and Broadway, with Dick continuing to point out landmarks. Frank expresses his amazement that the city can hold so many shops, and Dick points out... (full context)
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
On their sight-seeing tour, Dick and Frank visit the New York Hospital and Taylor’s Saloon, where they eat ice cream together. In... (full context)
Chapter 6: Up Broadway to Madison Square
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Leaving the shop, Dick continues to show Frank the sights, moving up Broadway to Madison Square. Here, he mentions, the hotels cost in... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Dick adds that reading makes his head hurt, especially when big words are involved. Frank replies in a compassionate tone that he wishes the two boys lived closer together, as... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Dick is quite surprised by the generosity that Frank is showing to him, despite his lowly status as a shoeshine boy, and he tells... (full context)
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...of George Washington in Union Park, Dick jokes that Washington has grown since his presidency. Frank notes Dick’s queer sense of humor, to which Dick responds that he was raised queer;... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Frank tells Dick the story of Dick Whittington, another “Ragged Dick.” Whittington is befriended by a... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
The boy has only one possession in the world, a kitten, but nevertheless, Frank says, he sends the kitten along on the ship. During the long voyage, the kitten... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
...he doubts he’d have that sort of luck no matter how many cats he had. Frank admits that this is probably true, but adds that Dick could become successful in other... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Pocket-book
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Dick and Frank make their way to the Fifth Avenue Hotel, which Frank knows by name. Dick says... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
As Dick and Frank walk and talk, they encounter a conman whom Dick has some knowledge of. The man... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...in exchange for the wallet. The man hurries off, and Dick explains the con to Frank, who expresses shock at the whole affair. Dick, however, is quite happy, as he’s at... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
...help figure out who owned the wallet. Defeated, the man walks off, leaving Dick and Frank laughing behind him.  (full context)
Chapter 8: Dick’s Early History
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Frank asks Dick about his early childhood. He learns that the boy has always lived in... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
...also tried to sell matches, but found the business unprofitable. Throughout it all, he tells Frank, he never stole, although it would often have been easy and profitable for him to... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Dick thanks his companion and says that he wishes more people were like Frank and Mr. Whitney. Frank again assures Dick that the shoeshine boy’s fortune might one day... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Frank questions Dick about his schooling and suggests that the boy attend a night school to... (full context)
Chapter 9: A Scene in a Third Avenue Car
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Frank and Dick hop on a horse-drawn public transport to go to Central Park. The transport... (full context)
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...to the delight of the car’s passengers. His irreverence only angers her more, however. Both Frank and Dick declare their innocence and agree to be searched by the conductor. Another passenger... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
When neither Frank nor Dick is found in possession of the woman’s purse, and, when the conductor asks... (full context)
Chapter 10: Introduces a Victim of Misplaced Confidence
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Frank and Dick arrive at Central Park, which is still under construction. Frank remarks that it... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Dick offers to show Frank Wall Street before he ends their tour. There they meet a young man from the... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
The check, however, turned out to be drawn on a made-up bank. Frank and Dick help the young man to find a police officer, who makes a report... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
...based on the description the young man gave to the police. Shortly after, he and Frank stumble upon the man while taking a ferry to Brooklyn. (full context)
Chapter 11: Dick as Detective
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
To Frank’s surprise, Dick confronts the man, acting as though he were an agent of the police.... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
...money over to Dick and dashes from the ferry, which has just docked. Dick and Frank decide to remain on board and return to Wall Street in hopes of returning the... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Frank realizes that his uncle, Mr. Whitney, has probably finished up work for the day, and... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Dick agrees to this plan, and Frank accompanies him upstairs so that the boy can get his old clothes and his shoe-shining... (full context)
Chapter 12: Dick Hires a Room on Mott Street
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 18: Mickey Maguire’s Second Defeat
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
...except that Dick continued to live his life in the responsible way he had promised Frank he would. (full context)
Chapter 24: Dick Receives a Letter
The Value of Education Theme Icon
...unclaimed at the local post office. The two decide that the letter must be from Frank Whitney. (full context)
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...time and has little trouble getting the letter, which turns out to indeed be from Frank. (full context)
The Value of Education Theme Icon
Frank’s letter—the first Dick has ever received—details his life at boarding school, including his studies in... (full context)
Chapter 25: Dick Writes His First Letter
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
...one in return and even offers to proofread it for him. Dick does this, telling Frank all about his rise in life: how he’s saved money, learned to read and write,... (full context)