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Word Count: 1,183
The use of symbolism has always been a prevalent way for writers to communicate important issues to the public It is not uncommon to read a simple childrens story and discover underlying political or moral messages for example Horatio Algers novel Ragged Dick This story was written after the Civil War when America experienced a period of huge industrial growth The capitalistic work ethic had become a universal idea in the North and in response the Government agreed to stay out of business affairs following the industrial policy of laissez-faire This widened the gap between the rich and the poor making it difficult for a less fortunate individual to work his way up in society Many Americans however believed that it was definitely not impossible to become successful in life Horatio Algers character Ragged Dick is a young boot-black who works his way up in society to become a respectable gentleman Through symbolism Alger uses several material objects to reveal Dicks transformation into a successful young man Dicks new suit is one example of symbolism that Alger uses It is introduced when Dick offers to be a city guide to young Frank Whitney The Whitney family is very kind to Dick and they take him into their home to prepare him for a day as Franks tour guide After a bath Dick is given a suit that had once belonged to Frank The suit was Dicks very first gift and it made him look so different that it was difficult to imagine that he is the same boy The Whitneys intervention gave Dick the ability to be more than a simple boot-black Since he now looked like a young gentlemans son Dick received respect and was soon unwilling to wear his old clothes which were ragged dirty and ill fitting Frank Whitney inspired Dick to quit squandering his money and begin saving Dick said that he means to turn over a new leaf Frank
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