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 Father do with all the family watching?

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

3. What does Doctorow suggest Sigmund Freud's revenge on America was?

4. What do Mameh, Tateh, and the Little Girl do to make a living?

5. What does Mother find buried in her garden?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the lead workers doing as Perry comes leisurely behind?

2. Explain how Harry K. Shaw gets to see Harry Houdini.

3. What does Tateh notice about The Girl on their train trip.

4. What does Evelyn see when she goes with Tateh to a socialist meeting?

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

6. What does The boy see Mother do in the back garden?

7. What happens when Tateh is working in the Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts?

8. What infatuation comes over Mother's Younger brother?

9. What does The Boy recover from the trash?

10. What is Evelyn doing with Younger Brother after Tateh and The girl leave?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the rags-to-riches story of Tateh, aka Baron Ashkenazy. Tateh's story is the embodiment of the American dream--the poor immigrant who eventually achieves success. While you write this account focus on the moral shift in Tateh's thinking. Note the difference in his uptight morality that drove his wife and Evelyn away in the early part of the story and his romping with Mother in Atlantic City as the reinvented Baron Ashkenazy. There are even sexual overtones to the scene where they are searching for The Boy and The Girl and eventually they marry.

Essay Topic 2

Write about how Doctorow uses The Boy and The Girl to represent change in the novel. Perhaps because he is a young boy when the novel begins wearing sailor suits and grows into the beginnings of young manhood where he discovers girls, change is most noticeable in The Boy. When they meet in Atlantic City, neither of them recall looking eye-to-eye years ago on the street in New Rochelle. Tateh first becomes aware of The Girl's maturation on the train trip out of New York. Show how this growing up process works as a good benchmark for the passing of time in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Write your personal review of RAGTIME and make a recommendation for other readers. Write this paper as though you are a book reviewer for a large newspaper or national magazine. Be honest about what you liked or did not like about the book. [That it was required reading in class does not count as a reason to dislike the book.] Be specific when giving your reasons by quoting passages from the novel.

(see the answer keys)

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