E. L. Doctorow Writing Styles in Ragtime

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Point of View

The narrative voice of Ragtime is difficult to pinpoint. Written entirely in third person, with the exception of the second to last paragraph of the novel (“Poor Father, I see his final expedition”), it is at omniscient and at times journalistic as the narrator includes historical observations and details. The argument can be made that the narrative voice may in fact be that of the un-named little boy. The inclusion of the single “I” sentence at the end of novel indicates as much as does the extra attention given to describing the boy’s thoughts and appearance in greater detail than any of the other characters. However, the narrator also describes events and emotions that the little boy could not possibly have known or experienced. Additionally, the novel frequently switches between multiple character perspectives and often uses the first person plural “we,” indicating a voice...

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This section contains 633 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ragtime Study Guide
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