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 Evelyn call the old man Tateh?

2. How is it possible for them to travel cheaply?

3. What does Father find on Mother's bedside table?

4. Who did Houdini meet at a private function thrown by Mr. Stuyvesant Fish?

5. What does Evelyn hope for in her husband's trial?

Short Essay Questions

1. What causes Harry K. Shaw to propose marriage to Evelyn Nesbit?

2. What is it that Evelyn Nesbit does not understand when she sees The Girl tied to her father?

3. What does Tateh notice about The Girl on their train trip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

Write a paper about class distinctions in the novel. Examine the fixation Americans had on Europeans and whether it still exists today. [Compare to America's fixation on the late Princess Diana.] Use the arrival of Freud and Young as one example and Mother's preference for the Europeans at Atlantic City as another. Show how that also influences Tateh to adopt the persona of Baron Ashkenazy.

Essay Topic 3

Analyze and write about the character of Younger Brother in the novel. From the opening description of Younger Brother in the novel, it is predictable what he will become by the end of the story. He is a brilliant young man with limited social skills and limited interests. His interest in pyrotechnics suggests future problems. He is a loner and reticent, even with the sister he loves. Compare Younger Brother with what information you can find on Lee Harvey Oswald.

(see the answer keys)

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