Ragtime - Chapters 37-40 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Chapter 37. The narrator describes the great African American academic Booker T. Washington’s beliefs regarding the advancement of the “Negro” people. Washington believes advancement will be achieved through friendship with white people. A great orator with an impressive education, Washington is used to people heeding his advice and is surprised when Coalhouse does not. Coalhouse steadfastly believes he must not sacrifice his self-respect and bow to the white man’s will. Coalhouse, however, for the first time decides he will leave J.P. Morgan’s library if, in an act of good faith, Willie Conklin is forced to rebuild his car, returning it to its original condition. Washington fails to see this as a modification of Coalhouse’s original demands and leaves angry and disappointed.

Chapter 38. Post-meeting, Washington makes a public statement declaring Coalhouse a brainsick man and encourages his friends and colleagues to come to Harlem...

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This section contains 883 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ragtime Study Guide
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