E. L. Doctorow Writing Styles in Ragtime

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The point of view of this novel is uncertain. The prevailing consciousness is certainly that of the Little Boy—his personality is explained in detail, and much of the information that is given could have reached him, either from direct experience or through secondary sources, such as his uncle's diaries or newspaper clippings. When the narrative places itself in time as speaking "nearly fifty years after Houdini's death," it leaves open the possibility that the grown-up boy is telling the story (Houdini died in 1926, nearly fifty years before the book was published). On the other hand, there are many details here that the Little Boy really could not know, such as the intimate thoughts of prominent figures like J. Pierpont Morgan and Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Throughout the book the narrator speaks as an unidentified "we," presumably representing America. The narrator is given a distinct persona...

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This section contains 683 words
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Ragtime from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.