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. Where does The Boy get some of Tateh's silhouettes?

2. Where is the train headed?

3. At the jail called The Tombs, what do the guards invent?

4. From where does the North Pole expedition set off?

5. Why does The Girl like the strike?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What crime is Harry K. Shaw accused of committing?

3. How is Father sent off on his trip with the Perry expedition to the North Pole?

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

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

6. What is Mother's concern about Younger Brother?

7. How does Evelyn lose The Girl?

8. How are Tateh and The Girl rescued from being separated?

9. What becomes the fashion among the rich in turn of the century America?

10. What sight as they sail out of New York Harbor depresses Father?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write about Harry Houdini's fixation on finding a way to communicate with his dead mother. The attachment of Houdini to his mother is a documented fact. He also spent the rest of his life looking for someone who could make contact with the dead. In the process he became an authority on fakes and charlatans who claimed special powers to channel the dead. In your paper, explain why you think Doctorow used Houdini as a major character in the book? Point out the societal changes that were happening at that time that Houdini symbolizes.

Essay Topic 2

Write a paper comparing Evelyn Nesbit with notorious movie stars of the 20th century. A good comparison might be to Marilyn Monroe. Compare their beginnings, Evelyn's posing nude for a statue and Marilyn appearing nude in Playboy Magazine, their notoriety in the press, and their many romantic entanglements. Doctorow suggests that Evelyn is the model for all the show business women who followed her. This should be a fun paper to write.

Essay Topic 3

Write a paper about the transformation of Tateh in the novel from the time he was scandalized by his wife and Evelyn until he romps on the beach in Atlantic City. Discuss what you think makes the transformation. Is there a tendency for the poor to be judgmental of the morals of the rich? If so, why? How does affluence change a persons attitude toward all things in society? What are the good and bad points of such changes?

(see the answer keys)

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