Ragtime Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What are the ages of Coalhouse's followers?

2. Why do Coalhouse and his boys end up in the marble museum?

3. What could The Boy see in the polished rear doors of the Pierce Arrow hearse?

4. How does Morgan dress?

5. What lecture does Emma Goldman give Younger Brother?

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

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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