Ragtime Test | Final 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 had Morgan once done for the U.S. government?

2. What happened to Ben Reitman in San Diego?

3. Why is Houdini's mothers grave covered with a mound of small stones?

4. Who wrote Morgan's favorite story, The Birthmark?

5. What new activity does Younger Brother take up?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Morgan think about making automobiles available to the masses?

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

3. Why does J. P. Morgan want to meet with Henry Ford?

4. What does Younger Brother do that the family is completely unaware of?

5. What happens to Sarah at the rally?

6. What brings Younger Brother back to life after his breakup with Evelyn?

7. What happens on Houdini's tour of Europe?

8. What is Younger Brother's first act as a revolutionary and outlaw?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Gather information of President Howard Taft and write a short paper about him. Taft's rise to power corresponded with the turn of the century idea that obesity, especially in men, was a sign of material success. Taft weighed over 300 pounds and it is said that a special bathtub had to be installed in the White House to accommodate him. Your paper should include characters in the book as examples of men who fit that accepted image of success. By contrast Houdini and Younger Brother are of athletic build and represent change in the novel. Explain.

Essay Topic 2

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.

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)

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