Ragtime Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 66 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ragtime.
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Victims and victimization comprise one of the major themes of Ragtime. Perhaps the central event in a novel that is packed with background incidents concerns the abuse and humiliation that Coalhouse Walker, Jr. receives from the members of the Emerald Isle firehouse. Their actions against him are clearly based on classic bully mentality: he is different from them; they are jealous because he has a nicer car than most of them could afford; and they outnumber him. The novel is quite clear about the fact that early twentieth-century society allows the continued victimization of Coalhouse because he is black. Not only do the police refuse to help him when he wants justice for the damage to his car, but they actually arrest him, and the legal system is effective in tying up his civil litigation. At each step in the process, well-intentioned people advise him to drop his...

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This section contains 1,169 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ragtime Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Ragtime from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.