The "American Dream" is an ideal that has been present since American literature's commencement, but what exactly is it? Some might say that it's a quest for wealth, prosperity, and generally a high position in society, while others might say it is nothing but the act of settling down and having a good life. What is true is that all of the mentioned notions can be ascribed to the fundamental idea of the "American Dream." Through the passing of time, the original quest for settlement and freedom has evolved into a continuing struggle to achieve a big house, a nice car, and a life of ease. Horatio Alger's book Ragged Dick is a very suitable portrait. Alger tells the reader that anyone and everyone could improve themselves with hard work, a positive attitude, and an education, and the "American Dream" is a possible dream that can be attained by anyone.
Bill Rancic, an American entrepreneur, has been quoted saying, "The "American Dream" is still alive out there, and hard work will get you there. You don't necessarily need to have an Ivy League education or to have millions of dollars of startup money. It can be done with an idea, hard work and determination." In the book Ragged Dick, the main character Dick was nothing more than a poor city boy who was trying to earn money on the streets of New York City. Dick started with nothing, and had no education, savings, respect, home or hope for change. The only thing that Dick had going for himself was a boot blacking business and a very good value of honesty. He worked and struggled to remain honest. Through his business, he had the chance to meet plenty of people. There were many times when Dick's honesty was tested yet, being a good honest boy, he never cheated anyone. The inspiration Dick gets in the story is life changing. Throughout the novel advice is given to Dick from others who see that he can become something in his life.