Free  american & British Orphans Research Paper Sample

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Charles Dickens, Literature, Family, Life, Education, People, Society, School

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2021/02/18

Introduction Horatio Alger in his book Ragged Dick comprehensively covers the pleat and fate of orphans. He talks of an orphan; a homeless boy aged fourteen years who tries to make all ends meet in the street. The boy is portrayed as a hardworking, honest and generous. Alger's main theme in this story is to make people understand that hard work and determination is the key to success as in the case of Dick. On the other hand, Charles Dickens in his book Oliver Twist bring into light the pleat of the poor orphans and the sufferings they undergo in the hands of those who are supposed to care for them as in the case of Oliver.

Similarities between Horatio Alger and Charles Dickens

Horatio Alger and Charles Dickens share a lot of similarities and in their work. For instance, their similarities are vividly brought to light when they emphasized the virtue of honesty in their work. In his book, Alger brings Dick's honesty to light when they meet a boy who has lost $50.00 to a swindler. He later catches up with the swindler and through his wit he manages to convince him that the policemen were waiting to arrest him. He eventually believes Dick and passes the money to Dick, who takes it back to the poor boy from the country (Waterman, Meyer and Alger).
Charles Dickens in his book portrays Oliver as an honest boy. Oliver refuses to take part in the robbery. When he got short in the house where they were to still, he is dragged and later dumped. His honesty is clearly shown when he frankly told his story to Mrs. Maylie family hence making them adopt him. Again, the writer tells us that Oliver is desperate of showing his gratitude to Mrs. Maylie family for adopting him hence justifying his honest.
Again, the two authors are similar in the sense that they comprehensively show the sufferings the orphans undergo to make a living (Shaheen). In Ragged Dick, Alger gives a picture of Dick as a poor homeless boy who sleeps in the wooden box and makes his money by shining shoes. Dick has got no opportunity to go to school since there is no one to cater to him. The author emphasizes that he began to feed for himself when he was seven years old hence depicting the suffering the orphan experience in the society.
Comparably, Charles Dickens gives a lot of information about the suffering of Oliver. In the first paragraph, we find Oliver struggling to live after his mother's death. He is taken to the orphanage where no one cares about orphans. Again in the workhouse, the orphans are starved to the extent of threatening to eat the weakest ones. When Oliver asks for more gruel he receives a blow from the master just because of asking for additional porridge. Oliver also gets brutal treatment from the Mr. Garfield's family thus making him escape from them.
Furthermore, Charles Dickens and Horatio Alger are similar in their aspects of viewing the powerlessness of children especially those without parents. Olive's fate completely depended on the mercy of the board and Mr. Bumble, who do not understand him. The writer shows Oliver as a good honest, kind hearted and helpless boy. While on the other the side, the management looks at him as intentionally vicious, very ungrateful and greedy. His helpless is drawn when he tries to give his opinion to defend himself or voice a desire, he is misheard or misunderstood or ignored altogether. Hence, he is denied the legal power, physical power and the right to speech.
On the same note, Dick's helplessness is seen when he cannot find a place to call home. He cannot go to school since no one can help him get to school. When a young bully, Mickey Maguire accuses Dick of trying to rise above his station, brings clearly the people's attitude towards the orphans. They are not considered as people to compete fairly with others in the society hence Mickey is disturbed when he saw Dicks station successful than his.
Both writers display their main character as morally upright persons. Haratio Alger picture Dick as hardworking, honest, frank and straight forward boy. His frank and honest are seen when he takes the money back to the country boy from the swindler. Again, when they were accused by a woman in the horse-car of stealing her purse, they frankly agree to be checked by the conductor. Later the woman got that she wrongly accused them hence showing his honest.
Equivalently, Charles Dickens picture Oliver as a good moral person when he begs Bill not to go and participate in the robbery. It is his fears that made him be heard in the Mrs. Maylie's house when they went steal (Dickens). He frankly tells his story to Maylie's family and his unwillingness not to participate. Hence, he bought their trust making him be adopted in the family.
The two writers also shares the theme of uncaring by the families and the society about the orphans. Dick's uncle is portrayed as a wealthy man but could not take Dick to school or could not provide a home for him. Worst still the uncle also could not take the boy to school even at the tender age of seven, and this clearly show negligence by the family members to provide and protect the orphaned relatives. On the same note, the society also gave the orphan their back. As early as seven years old the society could not take the young Dick to an orphanage to get an education, or there was no one who adopts him.
Likewise, Charles Dickens brings to our attention to the negligence of the family and society in his book. Monk, the eldest brother of Oliver is in pursuit of him so as to get the little will Oliver's' mother left him. Again, Rose does not know his relatives since she was not told. The society's negligence is seen when the mob who was supposed to prevent Oliver from being kidnapped aid in his kidnap. The orphanage management also shows their negligence when they misuse the funds allocated for the orphans use hence neglect and uncaring.
On the same point, Charles Dickens picture Oliver as a small, witty boy. Oliver's wit is seen when he asks for additional gruel so as to avoid being weak that may make him being eaten by other workhouse occupants. His wit is also clearly tabled when he realizes that the play of pickpockets was not a game but a practice to steal people's hand chief in the street by Fagin and his group.
Lastly, the main characters in both book lack formal education. Dick has not stepped into school until he was advised to do so by Frank. He attends Sunday school so as to craps little knowledge. Again Henry Fosdick offers him tuition in his room hence he did not go through the formal channels of educations. Similarly, Oliver has got no formal education. He was born in the workhouse where he was taken to work but later ran. Mr. Brownlow tried to offer some education before his kidnap by Nancy Fagin and Bill.
The writers end their stories in a similar manner. In Ragged Dick Henry, Fosdick gets a good job while Dick is also employed as a clerk and being paid ten dollars a week thus giving the main characters well ending. On the other side, Charles Dickens also give a good ending to his main characters as we see Rose get married and lives a happy life and Oliver is also adopted by Mr. Brownlow's family and leading a good life too, hence their similarity.

Differences between Haratio Alger and Charles Dickens

On the other hand, the writers have some difference in their work. To begin with, in Alger's story, the main character Dick, do not suffer physical beating from people but he suffer from the difficulties in getting how to feed himself. Dick tells Frank that he often becomes lonely and depressed from time to time by his hard life. This forces Frank to advise him to go to school if he wants to transform his life. On the contrary, Charles Dickens shows Oliver suffering beatings and physical torture constantly from people. When he tries to escape from Fagin's Company, he is tortured and beaten. Oliver is also beaten by Mrs. Charlotte and Noah, and this makes him run to away from them and hence, showing the differences between these two writers.
Again, the two authors differ in the sense that Charles Dickens awards his main character with a will from the late parent while Horatio Alger shows that Oliver got his possession from his hard work. Oliver's mother on her death bed had a ring to him as his will. It is this ring that makes Monk hunt Oliver so that he can get the share of that will. While on the other side, Dick works hard so that he can get something in the end. He takes Frank's advice to save some of his money instead of spending on entertainments hence at long last he got something to call his right will.
Further still, the two authors differ in the senses that the destinations of the two main characters are divergent. In Ragged Dick, the main character aims at improving his financial and social status in the society. He engages in shoe shining to earn a living. Later Dick began to attend Sunday classes in an attempt to improve his education level. He is motivated by the story of a poor boy who rose to become a mayor. Dick is more than willing to do anything to make him achieve his dream. He eventually got employed as an office clerk and his life transformed suddenly.
On the contrary, Charles Dickens tells us how fate made Oliver what he is. His mother's gift helps him to be financially stable but still he cannot stand on his own as Dick. He is taken by Mr. Brownlow as his son so that he could care for him. Again, Oliver is portrayed as weak compared to Dick. He cannot fully make his decisions concerning his life.
Another difference between these two authors emerges on how they end their stories (Rooswinkel, Mulder and van Deventer). In Ragged Dick, the writer only award a good life to the good people while the bad people are ignored or are not mentioned at all. Dick and his friend Henry are awarded good paying jobs by the author while other bad people such as the swindler and the bully; their fate is not mentioned at the end of the story.
On the contrary, Charles Dickens give elaborate ending to each character. The good people are awarded good lives as in the case of Oliver. He is given a will and later adopted by Mr. Brownlow as his son. Rose also gets married to Mr. Harry Maylie and lives a happy life afterward. Monk also got part of the will but was sent to jail because of his bad deeds. Mrs. Bumbles also admits her guilt, and they lost their jobs and went back to the workhouse where they used to run. They get mistreated the someway they used to treat others hence what comes around goes around. In the end, Nancy is dead, and Fagin is sentenced to death for killing her. Bill Sike also commits suicide plus his dog. Thus, clear showing that Charles only gives good people good ending and bad people bad ending hence is story ends in fantasy.
Additionally, the two writers differ by the fact that Horatio Alger only mentions Dick's uncles as his family member. The other family members or Dicks family trait is not given in the book. We meet Dick as a street young homeless orphan who lives in the docks. The background of his family or his origin is not properly dug by the author. The author misses mentioning the family of the Dicks uncle.
On the other side of the coin, Charles Dickens tells of the family background of the character. He tells us about Oliver's relationship with Leeward. He also gives elaborate explanation concerning the Rose background. Hence making Oliver and Rose to take on their surrogate families thus Charles emphasized the importance of knowing once family.
The Charles Dickens and Horatio Alger differ in the way they designed their main character to escape their lives they were born. Alger designs Dick as a hard working boy. His hard work and determination make him set up a station where he shine shoe so as to earn a living. Again, his determination propels him to seek education even if he did not attend formal education system. Through his hard work and determination, he achieves a good education that enabled him to be employed as a clerk in the office. He financially escaped from his previous poor live. On the contrary, Charles Dickens designed Oliver's' fate through a will he got from his mother. He can escape from the life he was born in through the help of the will and adoption as a son of Mr. Brownlow.


Both the two writer emphasizes the importance of hard work and courage in live. They show that for someone to succeed they need to work hard and must be courageous to find the solution to problems they are facing in their lives. Again, the writers' emphasis on the need to help others especially the needy poor people in the society. Alger shows how Dick was of importance to various people hence he was later rewarded by being offered a job as a clerk. Thus emphasizing the proverbs “What goes around comes around."

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist. Madrid: Gaviota. Print.
Rooswinkel, Rogier, Geert-Jan Mulder, and Sander van Deventer. 'Acquiring Orphans'. Bioentrepreneur (2014): n. pag. Web.
Shaheen, Aaron. 'Endless Frontiers and Emancipation from History: Horatio Alger's Reconstruction of Place and Time in Ragged Dick'. Children's Literature 33.1 (2005): 20-40. Web.
Waterman, Bryan, Michael Meyer, and Horatio Alger. Ragged Dick. New York: Signet Classic, 2014. Print.

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