Ragtime Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ragtime.
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Change/Growth

Every character within the novel grapples with change, be it personal growth of the world-at-large. Social, economic, ideological, and personal change are all present and the manner in which characters react to change speaks to both their position within society as well as their personality. Some characters embrace change, while others fail to do so. Mother and Father, for example, act as foils in the sense that Mother accepts change and as a result thrives, whereas Father’s inability to accept change emotionally cripples him. Throughout the novel, father becomes increasingly depressed and experiences feelings of alienation and helplessness brought on by Mother and the little boy’s increased self-sufficiency. Father is unable to adapt to change, and suffer for it. Mother, on the other hand, embraces both societal and emotional change. She all-but-adopts a black child and marries a Jewish man—both events that were not...

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This section contains 817 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ragtime Study Guide
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