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

by

Horatio Alger

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Johnny Nolan Character Analysis

Johnny Nolan is a bootblack with little ambition who hangs around with similarly unmotivated bootblacks. Johnny openly admits that he’s lazy, but he also doesn’t believe that working hard will save him. Rather, he sees his life as already prescribed, with no way to rise from his current status, even though he witnesses Dick do just that.

Johnny Nolan 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 Johnny Nolan or refer to Johnny Nolan. 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 2 Quotes

Now, in the boot-blacking business, as well as in higher avocations, the same rule prevails, that energy and industry are rewarded, and indolence suffers. Dick was energetic and on the alert for business, but Johnny was the reverse. The consequence was that Dick earned probably three times as much as the other.

Related Symbols: Bootblacking Box, Restaurants
Page Number: 10
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:
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Johnny Nolan Character Timeline in Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks

The timeline below shows where the character Johnny Nolan 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 2: Johnny Nolan
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
...ramshackle restaurant that the narrator compares unfavorably to Delmonico’s. There, Dick meets an old friend, Johnny. Fourteen-year-old Johnny isn’t as industrious as Dick and struggles to find work. As such, he... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
After their breakfast is over, Dick and Johnny begin to go their separate ways, when Johnny suddenly takes cover in an alley. He’s... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
...he probably wouldn’t like country life either, he’s glad that he’s not as lazy as Johnny is. While pondering this, he stumbles on another customer. Yet again, Dick can’t make change... (full context)
Chapter 4: Dick’s New Suit
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...is a new hat. As they leave the hotel to find one, Dick stumbles upon Johnny. At first, Johnny doesn’t recognize Dick in his suit, but after a moment is amazed... (full context)
Chapter 25: Dick Writes His First Letter
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
The Value of Education Theme Icon
On the way to mailing the letter, Dick encounters Johnny Nolan, whose station remains the same as ever. Johnny is amazed to learn that Dick... (full context)