Sunday, November 27, 2011

'The Horatio Alger Myth is Alive and Well in American Culture'

The Horatio Alger myth apparently rings true to society today according to the following link -
This article claims that the way in which you work hard is only 'slightly different' to the way suggested by Alger, in that the work is different, not the attitude. The writer claims that they key to success is still with education. It is true that this is how 'Ragged Dick' made his way to success. Even though his interviewer was obliged to give him a job, as Dick saved his son, Dick was still questioned on his arithmetic ability and was asked to demonstrate that he could write his name.
The problems facing today's society in question to the Horatio Alger myth and hence the restricted success of Algers other Novels, is with regard to the Majority population, the female's place in the working world.
The writer claims that success is capped almost by 'a glass ceiling' in the female working society, which Alger does not depict in 'Ragged Dick' for obvious reasons that feminism had not came into place when it was set. The writer mentions that females in todays settings are finding it 'difficult to advance through the ranks' of occupations previously dominated by men.
It could be argued that opportunity is still being given by chance to other races. An interesting point made in the article is that current Universities are obliged to give spaces to black students, when in fact the University may not even be best suited to the academic record of the individual. There is a definite sense of descrimation, through 'affirmative action' of giving people opportunity, which defines even now a definate struggle for individuals to succeed and a definite sense of chance which comes their way.
There are parallels from this article to 'Ragged Dick', in that, yes education gives you better opportunity to succeed. However, the biggest critiscism I have with what was sat about being able to work hard and succeed in America, is that this is rare. Mark Zuckerberg is a common beacon of the Horatio Alger Myth, noting that not even Dick reached his kind of success. Mark does not represent the majority, it may be that not enough people try hard enough to demonstarte the possibility of the ethic, however it more than likely demonstrating the impossibility to acheive in todays standards, by the restriction set out in the article linked above. Sexism being a comparitve devlopment of today, providing reason to question the myth

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