Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward (Penguin American Library)
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From the 1860's through the 1890s, Horatio Alger wrote hundreds of novels to teach young boys the merits of honesty, hard work, and cheerfulness in the face of adversity. As Carl Bode points out in his introduction, Horatio Alger filled a void in American literature and met scant competition both in the nature and the number of his works. Like his heroes, Alger rose to the top by chance, coincidence, and hard work.
The hero of Ragged Dick is a veritable "diamond in the rough"—as innately virtuous as he is streetwise and cocky. Immediately popular with young readers, the novel also appealed to parents, who repsonded to its colorful espousal of the Protestant ethic. Struggling Upward, published nearly thirty years later, followed the same time-tested formulas, and despite critical indifference it, too, had mass appeal.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
missionary. “I am not sure but I have acted unprofessionally, but when I saw those men of violence despoiling us, I felt the natural man rise within me, and I smote him hip and thigh.” “I thought you hit him on the arm, doctor,” said Mr. Sprague. “Again I spoke figuratively, my young friend. I cannot say I regret yielding to the impulse that moved me. I feel that I have helped to foil the plans of the wicked.” “Doctor,” said one of the miners, “you’ve true grit. When you preach at the Black
left other hallmarks on Struggling Upwrd. He leaned so heavily on coincidence that it threatened to break under its own weight. For example, when Mr. Armstrong sends Luke out West to search for his former bookkeeper, Alger has the bookkeeper stay in the same hotel in Chicago where Luke will later stay. More than that, he has the hotel clerk find and show to Luke a diary which the bookkeeper has left behind. Astonishingly, it contains a clue to the bookkeeper’s whereabouts. Even Alger admitted
favor?” “What is it, sir?” “Take this tin box and carry it to your home. Keep it under lock and key till I call for it.” “Yes, sir, I can do that. But how shall I know you again?” “Take a good look at me, that you may remember me.” “I think I shall know you again, but hadn’t you better give me a name?” “Well, perhaps so,” answered the other, after a moment’s thought. “You may call me Roland Reed. Will you remember?” “Yes, sir.” “I am obliged to leave this neighborhood at once, and can’t
youth, but to the fact of her being still unmarried. “Yes, I am; I had it from Mrs. Flanagan herself.” “I don’t think Tim would do as well as Luke. He has never been able to keep a place yet.” “Just so; but, of course, his mother thinks him a polygon.” Probably Miss Sprague meant a paragon — she was not very careful in her speech, but Mrs. Larkin did not smile at her mistake. She was too much troubled at the news she had just heard. A dollar a week may seem a ridiculous trifle to some of my
but there are not many ways of earning money here in Groveton.” “What do you have to do?” “Make the fire every morning and sweep out twice a week. Then there’s dusting, splitting up kindlings, and so on.” “I don’t think I’ll like it. I ain’t good at makin’ fires.” “Squire Duncan writes you are to begin at once.” “Shure, I’m afraid I won’t succeed.” “I’ll tell you what, Tim. I’ll help you along till you’ve got used to the duties. After a while they’ll get easy for you.” “Will you now?