Ragtime Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Mother insist on doing with the baby and its mother?

2. Where is the train headed?

3. Who will be speaking at the meeting Evelyn goes to with Tateh and the girl?

4. What worries Tateh as he observes The Girl?

5. Why does Evelyn call the old man Tateh?

Short Essay Questions

1. What suddenly worries Sarah after the Fire House incident?

2. How have the fortunes of Tateh and The girl changed?

3. Why does Father return alone to New York, leaving the family in Atlantic City.

4. Why does socialite Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish bring Houdini and circus freaks to her house?

5. What does Morgan think about making automobiles available to the masses?

6. What causes Harry K. Shaw to propose marriage to Evelyn Nesbit?

7. What is it that Evelyn Nesbit does not understand when she sees The Girl tied to her father?

8. Who are the famous psychologists who visit New York at this time and what is their reaction?

9. What is Sarah's funeral like?

10. How do the police learn about the history of Coalhouse Walker, Jr.?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Look up information of Theodore Dreiser and write about his impact on the American novel. It is interesting that Doctorow chooses Dreiser to put in his book. It might be a message about his own feelings about book critics. Dreiser was never recognized in his own time for the quality of his novels. Perhaps his most famous novel, AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, was made into a movie in the 1950s called A PLACE IN THE SUN. What is your opinion about why Doctorow chose this novelist to include briefly in RAGTIME.

Essay Topic 2

Write your opinion of E. L. Doctorow's writing style. Include such things as his omitting quotation marks and writing in very short sentences. Cite specific passages in the novel that you think either did or did not convey (1) the feeling of the characters, (2) the imagery of the day, (3) the suspense of the plot, or any other concept you feel the novel addresses. How much does Doctorow's use of fictionalized real characters add to the interest of the novel?

Essay Topic 3

On their trip out of New York, Tateh observes a completely different country from what he had known in New York. Doctorow says that for the first time Tateh began to think he might be able to live in America. Use examples of what Tateh and The Girl see on their trip that are so different from anything they had ever seen in New York and explain how those sights began to change Tateh's outlook on America. Then look at Freud's visit to New York and what they force him to go see. Give your opinion as to whether Freud might have had a different opinion of America if he had seen the more rural side of the country.

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 2,186 words
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