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 is a theme established in the first two chapters?

2. What does Riis call his colored map of Manhattan?

3. What happens when the Young Man hides in Goldman's closet?

4. What began to be heard in the ghettos?

5. What is worrying Mother back in New Rochelle?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does Evelyn lose The Girl?

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

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

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

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

8. Why is Houdini thrown out of Bellevue Hospital?

9. What is Perry's attitude towards the Esquimo people?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

Do some research and write a brief paper on J. Pierpont Morgan. Political cartoons of his time pictured Morgan as being bigger than Uncle Sam. In fact, he did bail out the U.S. economy at one time. There is even an undertone of racism in Morgan in the novel when he cables the D. A. to give Coalhouse his auto and hang him. From your research, explain how Doctorow's use of Morgan in the novel is believable.

(see the answer keys)

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