Sinclair and Alger, American Dream or Nightmare?

Topics: Social class, Upton Sinclair, Sociology Pages: 2 (575 words) Published: December 12, 2013
Sinclair and Alger, American Dream or Nightmare?

Horatio Alger was the highly praised writer and graduate of Harvard University. Alger was born to minister in a small Massachusetts town, in the year 1832. From his first book in 1856, until his death in 1899, Horatio wrote many books, including the highly acclaimed Ragged Dick book. Another author, Upton Sinclair, wrote the much-acclaimed novel, The Jungle, published in 1906. While his parents showed Upton the lower social standards as they were somewhat poor, Sinclair’s grandparents’ wealth gave him an insight to the rich social world of America.

The American Dream can be defined in the saying “Rags to Riches”. This theory represents America as a place of opportunity. A place where many people can come with nothing, yet with hard work, can accomplish whatever they desire. It portrays the fact that it does not matter what social class you are born into. It shows that your success is based on how hard you work and what you set your mind to accomplish.

In Upton Sinclair’s famous book The Jungle, the main character is portrayed as chasing the American Dream. Jurgis, the main character in The Jungle, is an immigrant who comes to America in search of achieving the American Dream with hard work and opportunity. During of the book Jurgis and his family work hard, taking any job they can get, but obstacles keep making this dream a non-reality. As Jurgis discovers by the end of the book, America is a corrupt place controlled by a small group of people called capitalists. Jurgis becomes a unionist, who wants the world to be run by the majority, the laboring class of people.

In Horatio Alger’s many novels, his characters pursue the American Dream. His characters come from low level social classes that they are born into. They achieve the American Dream with hard work and the desire to want more. In Alger’s book, Ragged Dick a poor boy named Dick Hunter is very ambitious to work himself up the social...
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