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. How had Father gotten his start in business?

2. In reality, who are the baron and his daughter?

3. When a reporter looks up Houdini to get his reaction to the escape, where is he found?

4. What has The Boy taken to doing now that Sarah is communicative?

5. Why does Coalhouse accept Younger Brother's help?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Write a paper on child labor. Express your opinion about child labor at the turn of the 19th-20th century and in places in the world today. Perhaps Charles Dickens is the most famous novelist to address the issue of child labor. Doctorow describes child labor in America in the 1890s and early 1900s in two brief passages. One has to do with child abductions and sexual abuse and the other has to do with the reason manufacturers liked child labor. Your paper should use those examples and discuss the harmful effects on children when they are do devalued.

Essay Topic 3

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.

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