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

by

Horatio Alger

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The Suit Symbol Icon

Dick’s suit symbolizes who he wants to be in life. It’s said that the clothes make the man (or woman), and nowhere is that more true than in Ragged Dick. Dick literally changes over night when he’s presented with a new suit, thanks to Frank and Mr. Whitney. Prior to this, Dick had been a bit of a vagabond, wasting his money on luxuries like cigars and gambling. With just the addition of the suit, however, Dick begins his rise to respectability. This is because the suit is more than just a collection of tailored fabric—it represents Dick’s ideal image of himself. Thus, when Dick (and later, Fosdick) improves this outer image, he has no choice but to improve his life choices to match it, propelling himself closer and closer to his ideal self.

The Suit 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 all refer to the symbol of The Suit. 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 11 Quotes

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 19 Quotes

Mr. Henderson, this is a member of my Sunday school class, for whose good qualities and good abilities I can speak confidently.

Related Characters: Mr. Greyson (speaker), Henry Fosdick
Related Symbols: The Suit
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks PDF

The Suit Symbol Timeline in Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Suit 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 4: Dick’s New Suit
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
Once 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... (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 needed to... (full context)
Chapter 11: Dick as Detective
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
...hotel, they find Mr. Whitney, who remarks that he barely recognizes Dick in his new suit. Whitney tells Dick his life story, noting that he used to be as poor as... (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
...a new leaf. He also worries that if he continues to sleep outside, his new suit will be quickly ruined. (full context)
Chapter 13: Mickey Maguire 
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...or not to wear his old clothes to work or to risk staining his new suit. He finds that he’s ashamed of his old clothes and can’t wear them. Instead, he... (full context)
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
American Democracy vs. The British Monarchy Theme Icon
Dick finds that his new suit enables him to get customers more quickly, and he earns a substantial amount of money... (full context)
Chapter 14: A Battle and a Victory
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
...Whitney and so starts the account with five dollars. The teller assumes, based on Dick’s suit, that he can write; Dick must then write out his name to open the account,... (full context)
Chapter 26: An Exciting Adventure
The Power of Thrift Theme Icon
Fortune Favors the Industrious Theme Icon
Clothes Make the Man Theme Icon
...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... (full context)