I have chosen the TV programme ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ as a modern example of Horatio Alger, Jr’s text ‘Ragged Dick’. This is an American television sitcom that starred a young Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his wealthy relatives in their Bel-Air mansion. The programme follows him as he has to adjust to a new lifestyle and starts to leave his old life behind.
In the TV programme, Will starts off as a fresh, young man who comes from the streets, he has a place to call home but the neighbourhood he lives in very dangerous. Very much like Dick, although he actually lives on the streets, they both have street knowledge and know how to take care of themselves. Another comparison between the two is that once both are introduced to a world of wealth and privilege they don’t want to go back to their old lifestyle. They feel ashamed to go back to their old life, what they used to wear and where they used to be seen. Both characters are heavily influenced by money, not to take it of others but to earn money and live well. However, Dick is more in favour of saving for his future and working hard to be able to have a roof over his head and food to eat. However, when Will moves in with his wealthy relatives he is given a place to live and does not have to worry about earning money to live off. However, money does still play a very large part in his life as he is always chasing it and looking for a way to make a quick buck.
Despite some differences between the two characters and their situations, I think this example of 'the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' is fairly accurate in relation to 'Ragged Dick' because they both show two guys starting off from the streets and when they come in to money their lives begin to change. Their outlook on life changes and in particular the way they treat money changes. Their characters change slightly in that they find it hard to imagine how they lived before but their personalities stay the same.