Strive and Succeed; or, The Progress of Walter Conrad
is a novel written by Horatio Alger Jr. and published in 1872. The book tells the story of a young boy named Walter Conrad who is orphaned at a young age and forced to make his way in the world alone. Through hard work, determination, and a bit of luck, Walter overcomes numerous obstacles and eventually achieves success in his chosen profession.
The novel is set in the United States during the mid-19th century, a time when social mobility was limited and opportunities for the working class were often scarce. Alger, who was known for his “rags to riches” stories, uses Walter’s journey as a way of illustrating the values of hard work, self-reliance, and perseverance that he believed were necessary for success in American society.
At the start of the novel, Walter is living with his mother and younger sister in a small town in rural New England. When his mother dies of illness, Walter is left to provide for his sister and himself. He takes on odd jobs and eventually lands a position as an apprentice in a nearby town. Through his hard work and dedication, he earns the respect of his employer and eventually becomes a successful businessman in his own right.
Throughout the novel, Walter faces numerous challenges and setbacks, including financial difficulties, health problems, and personal tragedies. However, he remains steadfast in his determination to succeed and never loses sight of his goals. Along the way, he receives help and guidance from a variety of mentors, including a kind-hearted businessman and a successful lawyer who becomes his friend and mentor.
Alger’s writing style is straightforward and accessible, with a focus on the values of hard work, self-reliance, and perseverance that he believed were essential for success in American society. His characters are often presented as archetypes of these values, with Walter Conrad serving as the ideal example of a self-made man who overcomes adversity through his own efforts.
While “Strive and Succeed” was written over 150 years ago, its message remains relevant today. The novel is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and self-belief, and serves as a reminder that success is possible for anyone who is willing to put in the effort. Alger’s vision of the American Dream, while somewhat simplistic, continues to inspire readers of all ages and backgrounds.
In conclusion, “Strive and Succeed; or, The Progress of Walter Conrad” is a classic work of American literature that continues to resonate with readers today. Alger’s timeless message of perseverance and hard work has made the novel a beloved classic, and its themes remain as relevant today as they were when it was first published. The novel serves as a testament to the enduring power of the American Dream, and continues to inspire readers to strive for success in their own lives.