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. Why does Father go to the police?

2. After his mother's death, what does Houdini set out to do?

3. Where do Father and The Boy go in spite of the tension surrounding Coalhouse's being at large?

4. What happens to Coalhouse after he comes out of the museum with his hands raised?

5. What finally really captures Morgan's attention in the world?

Short Essay Questions

1. What plans do Father and Mother make to get away from the Coalhouse problem?

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

3. Why does Father return alone to New York, leaving the family in Atlantic City.

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

5. That spring, what happens at the Matteawan State Prison Farm?

6. Why is Emma Goldman arrested after Coalhouse takes over the museum?

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

8. What does Father decide to do to make up for the time he has not spent with The Boy?

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

10. How have the fortunes of Tateh and The girl changed?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Write a paper on the subject of art as seen in the novel. Take it from Tateh's silhouettes to Morgan's collection. Tateh's cutout silhouettes and movie books are art for the people. On the other hand, Morgans fabulous art collection are limited to the upper classes. Tateh's art leads him to film animation and making movies. Morgan's art is nearly destroyed in one quick action. Mother's association with art is limited to putting up Egyptian wallpaper. Your paper should discuss how art influences people and the value of art as an equalizer.

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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