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 plea does Shaw's mother want him to make in court but he flatly refuses?

2. What is Goldman's political stance?

3. Who does Mother call after she and the maid clean up the baby?

4. The winter The Boy was skating on the pond, where were Tateh and The Girl?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What does The Boy recover from the trash?

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

3. What does Younger Brother do for a political rally in Rye, New York?

4. What does newspaperman Riis find when he goes to the docks to interview Stanford white about housing for the poor?

5. What are Tateh's plans for him and The Girl as they leave New York?

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

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

8. How does Evelyn lose The Girl?

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

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

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.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Look up information on Henry Ford and the assembly line production of Model-T cars and write a brief paper. What did Ford's assembly line have to do with Coalhouse Walker's ability to own a brand new Model-T? What does Coalhouse's car symbolize to the men at Emerald Isle Fire Station? Does ownership of the car give Coalhouse an air of superiority? Analyze how the car might have affected Father who never really liked Coalhouse. When Father and The Boy go into New York to the Giants game, they take the train. Even though he can afford a car, why does the family not seem to have one?

(see the answer keys)

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