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. Why does The Girl like the strike?

2. What type of labor was favored in the factories then?

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

4. How does Tateh entertain The Girl at home?

5. What does The Boy think happens to people, animals, or objects in a motion picture?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does the Franklin Novelty Company do with Tateh's books?

3. What is the gossip about Evelyn's disappearances to visit The Girl?

4. How do the second generation Irish feel about the new immigrants?

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

6. What is the nature of Evelyn's testimony in Harry's trial?

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

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

9. What does The Boy recover from the trash?

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

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 on racial discrimination in the North at the turn of the century. The commonly held belief is that racial discrimination is exclusive to the South. The story of RAGTIME takes place in New York, Philadelphia, New England, and Atlantic City. Point out the many examples Doctorow gives of discrimination against blacks and Jews in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Write a paper on child labor. Express your opinion about child labor at the turn of the 19th-20th century and in places in the world today. Perhaps Charles Dickens is the most famous novelist to address the issue of child labor. Doctorow describes child labor in America in the 1890s and early 1900s in two brief passages. One has to do with child abductions and sexual abuse and the other has to do with the reason manufacturers liked child labor. Your paper should use those examples and discuss the harmful effects on children when they are do devalued.

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 697 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
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