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The world is an ugly place full of corruption and evil people However if one possesses good morals high principles and a good work ethic this person will overcome the obstacles of wrongdoings in the world to succeed in life This is exactly what Dick Hunter does in the novel Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger Written in 1868 Ragged Dick educates its readers about the American morals and principles of the mid-1800s This novel illustrates the transition between the romantic-style literature of the pre-Civil War era and the realistic-style literature of the Gilded Age Ragged Dick takes place in the mid-1800s in downtown New York City The main character named Richard Hunter is a young bootblack who lives on the street His customers and his fellow bootblacks know him by his street name of Ragged Dick The nickname was acquired from his appearance of tattered clothes and a frequently unwashed body The book begins with Dick waking up from a nights sleep in a wooden box on the street A stranger awakens Dick and the reader gets the first glimpse into Dicks moral and historical background The stranger questions Dick about his home life honesty and financial practices Dick sets the record straight in the first few pages that he is an honest boy who does not believe in stealing Alger also makes it very clear however that Dick is not perfect and has vices just like everyone else These include swearing smoking and gambling He makes an honest living but usually spends his nights sleeping in the street because of using his earnings to support his bad habits As Dicks day begins the reader is introduced to the life of a typical bootblack in a large city in the 1860s Although Dick slept in this day he usually rises at six oclock in the morning to prepare for the mornings workforce to pass in the streets on the way to their respective jobs
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