Rags to riches
Rags to riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth, and in some cases from obscurity to fame--sometimes instantly. This is a common archetype in literature and popular culture (for example, the writings of Horatio Alger, Jr.).
- Fairy tales, such as Cinderella and Aladdin
- Genghis Khan who was homeless with just his mother and his siblings went on to create the largest land empire in history.
- The Roman Emperor Diocletian, born in poverty and whose father was a former slave (by some sources, the emperor himself was born in slavery) .
- The Arthurian story of Sir Gareth, who rises from a lowly kitchen boy to a prominent Knight of the Round Table.
- Pope Leo III was of commoner origin and attained the high position in spite of violent opposition from the nobility, who considered the papacy as their preserve.
- Chandragupta Maurya of India, who from a humble beginning founded the Maurya Empire
- China's Hongwu Emperor and Emperor Gaozu of Han, who were born into peasant families, but eventually founded two of the nation's most illustrious imperial dynasties.
- Movies, such as Rocky, Trading Places, Citizen Kane, My Fair Lady, Scarface, The Pursuit of Happyness, Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush, Goodfellas, The Blind Side, Guru, Slumdog Millionaire, and Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story.
- Video games such as Rags to Riches, a 1985 computer game released for the Commodore 64, or Grand Theft Auto: IV, wherein the character is a poor Yugoslavia born immigrant who rises up in the criminal empire.
- Game shows like The Price Is Right, Queen for a Day, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
- Reality television shows such as American Idol, The X Factor and Joe Millionaire.
- Rags to Riches (TV series).
- "Rags to Riches" (song), from 1953, by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, popularized by Tony Bennett.
- Rags to Riches, a 1981 romance novel by Joanne Kaye (Rachel Cosgrove Payes)
- Guns and Roses' song Paradise City features the term in its lyrics.
- Rags to Riches (comic) a comic book by Four Color Comics Edition #356
- Andrew Carnegie was born in a one-room cottage in Scotland to weavers, and became one of the richest men ever by creating a steel empire in the United States
- Li Ka Shing worked his way into becoming Asia's richest man ever.
- A term used in many team sports when a team goes from a poor finishing position one season to a strong finishing position the following season.
- Jay-Z's song 99 Problems features the term in its lyrics
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The concept of "Rags to riches" has been criticised by social reformers and revolutionaries, who argue that only a handful of exceptionally capable and lucky persons are actually able to travel the "rags to riches" road, and that the great publicity given to such cases is an illusion designed to help keep the masses of the working class and the poor in line, and prevent them from agitating for an overall collective change in the direction of social equality.
- Nouveau riche
- Ragged Dick
- Self-Made Men
- Social mobility
- Starman Jones
- The Ugly Duckling