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 do Tateh and The Girl go to warm up after spending the night in the train station?

2. Why does The Girl like the strike?

3. Seeing the man who has been following her, what does Evelyn think?

4. What is Father's great guilt?

5. What happens when a woman striker is shot?

Short Essay Questions

1. What plans do Father and Mother make to get away from the Coalhouse problem?

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

3. What suddenly worries Sarah after the Fire House incident?

4. How do the police learn about the history of Coalhouse Walker, Jr.?

5. What is the beginning of the trouble with Coalhouse Walker?

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

7. What does The Boy think bronze statues are?

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

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

10. What remarkable innovation in manufacturing took place about this time?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Write your opinion of E. L. Doctorow's writing style. Include such things as his omitting quotation marks and writing in very short sentences. Cite specific passages in the novel that you think either did or did not convey (1) the feeling of the characters, (2) the imagery of the day, (3) the suspense of the plot, or any other concept you feel the novel addresses. How much does Doctorow's use of fictionalized real characters add to the interest of the novel?

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 710 words
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