Favorite Answer Horatio Alger wrote fictional "rags-to-riches" about small-town youths who rose and became successful in business, economics, etc. Alger continued to produce stories of honest boys outwitting evil, greedy squires and malicious youths. The story, about a poor bootblack's rise to middle-class respectability, was a huge success. In the last decades of the 19th century, Alger's moral tone coarsened with the change in boys' tastes. He could have clear enemies from the beginning of the story. You could also do it yourself at any point in time. a. A general trust was central to his stories. An olive grove near the Mount of Olives, where Jesus gathered with the Apostles to pray and prepare for his Crucifixion on Calvary. By the time he died in 1899, Alger had published around a hundred volumes. Alger wrote more than 100 stories during his lifetime which were published by more than 70 different publishers. Alger was forced to give this up due to alleged sexual scandals with young boys. Mencken (6.2, 12.39) A.E.W. The reader may speculate what Cinderella achieved as Queen and what an Alger hero attained once his middle-class status was stabilized, and "[i]t is this commonality that fixes Horatio Alger firmly in the ranks of modern adaptors of the Cinderella myth".  He attended Harvard Divinity School from 1857 to 1860, and upon graduation, toured Europe. "However", he writes, "the true Americanization of this fairy tale occurs in its subversion of this claiming of nobility; rather, the Alger hero achieves the American Dream in its nascent form, he gains a position of middle-class respectability that promises to lead wherever his motivation may take him". , Alger scholar Gary Scharnhorst describes Alger's style as "anachronistic", "often laughable", "distinctive", and "distinguished by the quality of its literary allusions". Alger wrote, for example, that it was difficult to distinguish whether Tattered Tom was a boy or a girl and in other instances, he introduces foppish, effeminate, lisping "stereotypical homosexuals" who are treated with scorn and pity by others.  In the spring of 1861, he returned to a nation in the throes of the Civil War. Characters fall in love and marry on the basis of their character, talents, or intellect rather than the size of their bank accounts. Literature, Philosophy, and Mythology .  He published his earliest literary works in local newspapers. He hoped to influence the class that he was writing about. , In 1982, to mark his 150th birthday, the Children's Aid Society held a celebration. Horatio Alger Jr. (/ˈældʒər/; January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was an American writer of young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. The minor characters always saw the hero as being honest even before they knew him. During the civil war, he attempted to enlist in the union army, but was rejected many times because of his asthma and other respiratory problems. He claims that Alger's intended audience were youths whose "motivations for action are effectively shaped by the lessons they learn". I was fascinated by the images that he portrayed, and spent some time reading his stories and thinking about how they impacted society. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative, which had a formative effect on the United States during the Gilded Age. In the 1870s, Alger's fiction was growing stale. He fared better with stories for boys published in Student and Schoolmate and a third boys' book, Charlie Codman's Cruise. , Early in 1866, a church committee of men was formed to investigate reports that Alger had sexually molested boys. Scholar John Geck notes that Alger relied on "formulas for experience rather than shrewd analysis of human behavior", and that these formulas were "culturally centered" and "strongly didactic". Since 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans has awarded scholarships and prizes to deserving individuals.  Alger sent Unitarian officials in Boston a letter of remorse, and his father assured them his son would never seek another post in the church. Alger occasionally cited the young Abe Lincoln as a representative of this theme for his readers. He died on July 18, 1899, at the home of his sister in Natick, Massachusetts.  In September 1865 his second boys' book, Paul Prescott's Charge, was published and received favorable reviews.  In 1881, he wrote a biography of President James A. Garfield but filled the work with contrived conversations and boyish excitements rather than facts. During the Jazz Age and the Great Depression, "the Horatio Alger plot was viewed from the perspective of Progressivism as a staunch defense of laissez-faire capitalism, yet at the same time criticizing the cutthroat business techniques and offering hope to a suffering young generation during the Great Depression". [a] Alger denied nothing, admitted he had been imprudent, considered his association with the church dissolved, and left town. , His popularity—and income—dwindled in the 1890s.  It proved to be his best-selling work. Quite the same Wikipedia.  Alger once estimated that he earned only $100,000 between 1866 and 1896; at his death he had little money, leaving only small sums to family and friends. Most importantly, the specter of World War I is always lurking beneath the surface of this novel— … In Silas Snobden's Office Boy, Frank , the hero, met many men who were rich, but had been poor in their past. Just better. , Alger's works received favorable comments and experienced a resurgence following his death. What is a phoenix? His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative, which had a formative effect on the United States during the Gilded Age. Great lens and blessed by a Squid Angel.  In 1926, however, reader interest plummeted, and his major publisher ceased printing the books altogether. There are many lines to the plot, which thickens as many enemies of the main character go against him, some together. 1. The backdrops of these novels, however, became the American West rather than the urban environments of the northeastern United States. The stories give hope and comfort to those that read them because they are so uplifting, unlike reality.  An effort was made to remove his works from public collections, but the debate was only partially successful, defeated by the renewed interest in his work after his death. I hope you enjoyed my trip back through my old research article as much as I did! The stories that Alger wrote followed a few basic themes. Research the meaning of any allusions that are unfamiliar to you. Horatio Alger American author (1832-99). Alger sold more than 200 million books after the Civil War by writing about characters such as "Ragged Dick" and "Poorhouse Jed," who overcame incredible odds to succeed in life. Horatio Alger Jr. (/ˈældʒər/; January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was an American writer of young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through good works.  His last novel for adults, The Disagreeable Woman, was published under the pseudonym Julian Starr. He is buried in Natick, Massachusetts. In The Train Boy, for example, a wealthy heiress chooses to marry a talented but struggling artist, and in The Erie Train Boy a poor woman wins her true love despite the machinations of a rich, depraved suitor. Although Alger was willing to speak to James, his sexuality was a closely guarded secret. The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles.  He enjoyed a reunion with his brother James in San Francisco and returned to New York late in 1877 on a schooner that sailed around Cape Horn. These children were brought to cities and trained as pickpockets on the streets and had to serve masters. , Alger began attending Chelsea Grammar School in 1842, but by December 1844 his father's financial troubles had worsened considerably and, in search of a better salary, he moved the family to Marlborough, Massachusetts, an agricultural town 25 miles west of Boston, where he was installed as pastor of the Second Congregational Society in January 1845 with a salary sufficient to meet his needs.  He is buried in the family lot at Glenwood Cemetery, South Natick, Massachusetts. Alger became the bestselling author of his time period with millions of copies sold to the public. In 1870 the elder Henry James wrote that Alger "talks freely about his own late insanity—which he in fact appears to enjoy as a subject of conversation". USA: Doubleday & Company INC, 1973. His publisher suggested he tour the American West for fresh material to incorporate into his fiction. I first learned about Alger in my 11th grade American History class. The romance between that man and I was no Romeo and Juliet, but we will sacrifice for each other in any situation. He was an honors student at Harvard. His name has come … Horatio Alger, Jr. (1834 1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many formulaic juvenile novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of respectable middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His rise to become head of an international corporation is a real Horatio Alger story. The name Midas is now used to mean very rich. , On December 8, 1864, Alger was enlisted as a pastor with the First Unitarian Church and Society of Brewster, Massachusetts. Scharnhorst writes, "Financially insecure throughout his life, the younger Alger may have been active in reform organizations such as those for temperance and children's aid as a means of resolving his status-anxiety and establish his genteel credentials for leadership. "Alger, Horatio" Encyclopedia Britannica Online [Accessed March 8, 2001], Alger, Horatio. Read the sentences below and explain their meaning based on the allusion in each sentence. He never experienced any of the hardships that he portrayed in his stories.  He submitted stories to The Student and Schoolmate, a boys' monthly magazine of moral writings, edited by William Taylor Adams and published in Boston by Joseph H.  They were briefly successful, but interest in Alger's novels was renewed in the first decades of the 20th century, and they sold in the thousands. Very few of the characters came from "old money", most were self made men. The boy might return a large sum of lost money or rescue someone from an overturned carriage. In his early adulthood her was a Unitarian minister in Massachusetts. Horatio Alger had many different reasons for writing his success stories. The end of Silas Snobden's Office Boy says, "As for Frank, all goes smoothly with him. In paragraph 3, the author makes four allusions: three to works of literature (Horatio Alger, Pamela, Franklin’s Autobiography) and one to a religious ideal (Protestant Ethic). , His first book, Bertha's Christmas Vision: An Autumn Sheaf, a collection of short pieces, was published in 1856, and his second book, Nothing to Do: A Tilt at Our Best Society, a lengthy satirical poem, was published in 1857. During the civil war, he attempted to enlist in the union army, but was rejected many times because of his asthma and other respiratory problems. By work, perseverance, and luck he became rich.". , In January 1867 the first of 12 installments of Ragged Dick appeared in Student and Schoolmate. This novel was a huge success. In The Young Bank Messenger, for example, a woman is throttled and threatened with death—an episode that would never have occurred in his earlier work. , Alger had no job prospects following graduation and returned home. , In spite of the series' success, Alger was on financially uncertain ground and tutored the five sons of the international banker Joseph Seligman. Horatio Alger, Jr.(January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many formulaic juvenile novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of respectable middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. After this book came out, then New York state legislators made some laws preventing cruelty to children.  The times had changed, boys expected more, and a streak of violence entered Alger's work. Horatio Alger creates a hero that every child, from the time his books were written to the present, would love. , He attended the theater and Harvard reunions, read literary magazines, and wrote a poem at Longfellow's death in 1882. Hudson, The Purple Land (2.3) Horatio Alger (2.3) H.L. 9. The public wanted sensational thrills. All of Alger's juvenile novels share essentially the same theme: a teenage boy improves his circumstances by virtuous behavior. The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple.  Other major themes include the Old World versus the New.  He was writing both urban and Western-themed tales.  He observes that it is impossible to know whether Alger lived the life of a secret homosexual, "[b]ut there are hints that the male companionship he describes as a refuge from the streets—the cozy domestic arrangements between Dick and Fosdick, for example—may also be an erotic relationship". The stories of Horatio Alger were misleading because they caused people to believe that anyone could improve their social status. I have heard of him but not know much so this is information for me. Alger secured his literary niche in 1868 with the publication of his fourth book, Ragged Dick, the story of a poor bootblack's rise to middle-class respectability. The officials were satisfied and decided no further action would be taken. , He had many connections with the New England Puritan aristocracy of the early 19th century. He wrote magazine stories and poems, a few novels for adults, and 100 plus boys' books. He wished to do this by showing them what "energy, ambition and and honest purpose may achieve." -allusion to a place … Occasionally a magazine would run two of Alger's stories at the same time, so to avoid confusion, they would put one of them under a pen name (Silas Snobden's Office Boy is an example of this.) If you look through his stories, you can find that some of the details aren't consistent. Critics claim that through Alger's books "he misleads kids, probably causing many who stood up to the neighborhood bully to wind up with a bloody nose." That's it. The first, the Rise to Respectability, he observes, is evident in both his early and his late books, notably Ragged Dick, whose impoverished young hero declares, "I mean to turn over a new leaf, and try to grow up 'spectable."  He began reading Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, and other modern writers of fiction and cultivated a lifelong love for Longfellow, whose verse he sometimes employed as a model for his own.  Between ministerial duties, he organized games and amusements for boys in the parish, railed against smoking and drinking, and organized and served as president of the local chapter of the Cadets for Temperance. Phil the Fiddler brought attention to the "market" of children taken from poor families in Italy. He continued to write, submitting his work to religious and literary magazines, with varying success. , A 1982 musical, Shine!, was based on Alger's work, particularly Ragged Dick and Silas Snobden's Office Boy. Horatio Alger and Rags-to-Riches Beatitudes The Sermon on the Mount Rising Tide of Color against White World Supremacy (Theodore Lothrop Stoddard) Rosie Rosenthal Cannes Carnegie Hall Owl-eyes Marseilles Castle Rack-rent Chartreuse Marie Antoinette Cunard Follies Madame de Maintenon Immanuel Kant Fox-trot French bob Hopalong Cassidy Hotel de Ville Scharnhorst writes that Alger "exercised a certain discretion in discussing his probable homosexuality" and was known to have mentioned his sexuality only once after the Brewster incident. Each story has its clever hero, its "fairy godmother", and obstacles and hindrances to the hero's rise. Trachtenberg concludes, "in Ragged Dick we see Alger plotting domestic romance, complete with a surrogate marriage of two homeless boys, as the setting for his formulaic metamorphosis of an outcast street boy into a self-respecting citizen". While this kind of change didn't happen to many in the times, the stories, while a little misleading, gave hope to those who read them. , In 1882, Alger's father died. Alger was born in Massachusetts, and attended Harvard College.  The second major theme is Character Strengthened Through Adversity. Horatio Alger, Jr. (1834–1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many formulaic juvenile novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of respectable middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. This brings the boy—and his plight—to the attention of a wealthy individual.  His death was barely noticed. Alger was a highly prolific writer authoring 120 major works before his death in 1899, cementing his place among the pantheon of popular novelists at the time. He never experienced any of the hardships that he portrayed in his stories. There were never full sentences of description, just clauses attached to the sentence identifying the character. The "rags to riches" stories that Horatio Alger Jr. wrote in the late nineteenth century helped the population of the United States believe the myth that anyone could work hard and become rich, a "self made man". Referring to someone as a “Horatio Alger hero” means that person has overcome adversity and achieved success thanks to hard work and perseverance. Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 24, 2011: Well done page about this vintage author! The story itself was amusing because the whole situation relied heavily on luck, but then again most stories of this type do. The Erie Train Boy.  His genteel poverty and less-than-aristocratic heritage, however, barred him from membership in the Hasty Pudding Club and the Porcellian Club. Geck notes that perception of the "pluck" characteristic of an Alger hero has changed over the decades. By 1926, he sold around 20 million copies in the United States. It was extremely hard to improve their situations in the workplace. Alger was born on January 13, 1832, in the New England coastal town of Chelsea, Massachusetts, the son of Horatio Alger Sr., a Unitarian minister, and Olive Augusta Fenno. His boys' books were hugely popular. Because of the determination of its people, the country rose like a phoenix from the ashes of revolution. He tutored with never a whisper of scandal. The following provided the information for my thoughts in this lens. Horatio Alger, born in 1832, was the oldest of five children born into a middle class family. His many books that followed were essentially variations on Ragged Dick and featured stock characters: the valiant, hard-working, honest youth; the noble mysterious stranger; the snobbish youth; and the evil, greedy squire. , In New York, Alger continued to tutor the town's aristocratic youth and to rehabilitate boys from the streets. The villains are dirty and scary looking whereas the heroes are clean, honest, good people. He was also the descendant of Sylvanus Lazell, a Minuteman and brigadier general in the War of 1812, and Edmund Lazell, a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1788. He also wished to show the middle class the hardships faced by the poor children of the country. It was rare that a kind rich person would help them out by giving them money or a better job. The Protestant work ethic was less prevalent in the United States, and violence, murder, and other sensational themes entered Alger's works. Turgenev, Sportsman’s Sketches (14.1, 14.7) Historical References. Born in 1832, Horatio Alger, Jr. grew up in a middle class Massachusetts family, attended Harvard, and worked briefly as a pastor before putting his pen to paper professionally in the early 1860s. In Massachusetts, he was regarded with the same reverence as Harriet Beecher Stowe. What is her purpose in uniting these seemingly disparate references in one paragraph? The third theme is Beauty versus Money, which became central to Alger's adult fiction. ", Alger scholar Edwin P. Hoyt notes that Alger's morality "coarsened" around 1880, possibly influenced by the Western tales he was writing, because "the most dreadful things were now almost casually proposed and explored". He would end up in some kind of situation where he would help someone and in return received money or a better job. This myth was important to the general population because as the United States was becoming more corporate and industrialized it because harder for people to control their own fates. His work appeared in hardcover and paperback, and decades-old poems were published in anthologies. The majority of his readers clung to the images of success, fortune, and wealth, but ignored the morals. As the stories can lead you to believe, there weren't people looking to help others out everywhere, the work place could be very competitive because everyone hoped to succeed. A plain ordinary, hard working boy managed to go from a penniless office boy to a rich Bank clerk in Silas Snobden's Office Boy. Alger doesn't give any hair color, the biggest details are the cleanliness of the person and their approximate age and occupation. Horatio Alger's novels illustrated the nation's most popular myth in the late nineteenth century, that anyone could improve their social position through determination and hard work. Mason (12.31) Circe, character in Greek mythology (13.52) Ivan Turgenieff, a.k.a. , In 1866, Alger relocated to New York City where he studied the condition of the street boys, and found in them an abundance of interesting material for stories. adjective of or characteristic of the heroes in the novels of Horatio Alger, who begin life in poverty and achieve success and wealth through honesty, hard work, and virtuous behavior: the Horatio Alger story of his rise in the business world. "... the story and message were invariably the same: A poor boy from a small town went to the big city to seek his fortune. , In the last two decades of the 19th century, the quality of Alger's books deteriorated, and his boys' works became nothing more than reruns of the plots and themes of his past. He published two poorly received adult novels, Helen Ford and Timothy Crump's Ward. Buckley, always adept at lacing his political/legal analysis with literary allusions, begins with a panegyric to Horatio Alger ’s character Ragged Dick, the plucky urchin of late 19th century fiction who rises from the streets of New York City to a position of respectability by dint of honesty, thrift, and hard work. Boston: McGraw Hill College, 1999. After Ragged Dick he wrote almost entirely for boys, and he signed a contract with publisher Loring for a Ragged Dick Series. Scharnhorst credits these allusions with distinguishing Alger's novels from pulp fiction.. Unlike real life, in the stories everything works out great. Alger put an emphasis on the moral values of his heroes and a lack of morals in his villains. Church officials reported to the hierarchy in Boston that Alger had been charged with "the abominable and revolting crime of gross familiarity with boys". (Forward written by Ralph D. Gardener). Horatio Alger. Profits suffered, and he headed West for new material at Loring's behest, arriving in California in February 1877.  He abandoned forever any thought of a career in the church, and focused instead on his writing. Horatio Alger, Jr. (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many formulaic juvenile novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. Brinkley, Alan. According to Scharnhorst, Alger made veiled references to homosexuality in his boys' books, and these references, Scharnhorst speculates, indicate Alger was "insecure with his sexual orientation". He was chosen Class Odist and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Society honors in 1852, eighth in a class of 88. In this lens, I will explore what Horatio Alger gave our country, from cliffhanger episodes to the myth that the good will rise up. The cinnamon rolls were huge and golden brown, reminiscent of the twisted buns the sides of Princess Leia’s head. Scharnhorst describes six major themes in Alger's boys' books. Research the meaning of any allusions that are unfamiliar to you. Ambition Allusions, Definition, Citation, Reference, Information - Allusion to Ambition Alger, Horatio author of a series of rags-to-riches stories. There is reason to believe that Alger was homosexual, but his sexual orientation wasn't known to the general public so it probably didn't affect his fame at all. Some of the winners include later presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. The "Alger hero [became a] synonym for spectacular rise to fame and wealth." American History. The book sold well.  Although he continued to write for boys, Alger explored subjects like violence and "openness in the relations between the sexes and generations"; Hoyt attributes this shift to the decline of Puritan ethics in America.. Silas Snobden's Office Boy was a quick, fun read. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" …  For example, the boy rescues a child from an overturned carriage or finds and returns the man's stolen watch.  In 1849 he became a professional writer when he sold two essays and a poem to the Pictorial National Library, a Boston magazine. In the actual stories, invariably the cause of success is an accident that works to the boy's advantage after he conducts himself according to traditional virtues such as honesty, charity, and altruism. One example of his fame comes from an award that bears his name, the Horatio Alger Award.  The 14-member, full-time Harvard faculty included Louis Agassiz and Asa Gray (sciences), Cornelius Conway Felton (classics), James Walker (religion and philosophy), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (belles-lettres). Leyden, MA: Aeonian Press Inc., 1975. 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