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 does Tateh do for the strike organizers?

3. What does Father see in his bathroom mirror after he returns?

4. What was the physical condition of the rich prior to William Howard Taft becoming President?

5. What happens when a woman striker is shot?

Short Essay Questions

1. What infatuation comes over Mother's Younger brother?

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

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

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

5. What does The boy see Mother do in the back garden?

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

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

8. Why is Houdini thrown out of Bellevue Hospital?

9. What does The Boy think bronze statues are?

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

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 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

Look up information of Theodore Dreiser and write about his impact on the American novel. It is interesting that Doctorow chooses Dreiser to put in his book. It might be a message about his own feelings about book critics. Dreiser was never recognized in his own time for the quality of his novels. Perhaps his most famous novel, AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, was made into a movie in the 1950s called A PLACE IN THE SUN. What is your opinion about why Doctorow chose this novelist to include briefly in RAGTIME.

(see the answer keys)

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