Sinclair and Alger, American Dream or Nightmare?

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 ave him an insight to the rich social world of America.

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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 hasing 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 ladder that makes up the world. He gets this chance when he rescues a businessman’s son. He gets a Job working for the man and keeps working hard after, eventually achieving his goal of working his way up to something better.

Hunter’s story is representative of the American Dream. The visions of Horatio Alger and Upton Sinclair are vastly different. Alger believes in the American Dream, one can accomplish whatever they want if they work hard enough. On the other hand, Upton Sinclair deems the American Dream out of reach and a fraud. Mr. Sinclair thinks that America, the “land of opportunity’, is really Just run by a small group of people who do not care for those who do the labor in America. A major cause of this difference in how the two authors grew up and their xperiences.

Alger was born into a minister’s family and rose to fame very quickly along with his books. On the contrary, Sinclair was exposed to the high class world though his grandparents’ wealth, while also being exposed to the struggles of workers in hard labor ruthless meat packing industry. The political viewpoints also while Alger focuses on the hard working Americans in poverty in his books, Sinclair focuses on new immigrants who come to America in search of the American Dream.

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