Theme Of Change In Ragtime

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In the novel Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow tells a complex story where historical figures and fictional characters are woven together to make up the narrative. Evident themes include: race, class, and change and transformation. Throughout Ragtime, there are many characters who are influenced by certain people or encounters. Ragtime not only tells the individual struggles of each character throughout the novel but also shows how each character is affected by another. The different characters in Ragtime represent different responses to change - from encouraging change to responding to it, and from resisting change to accepting it. The novel represents characters who provoke change (Coalhouse), characters who accept change (Mother and Tateh), and characters who resist change (Father). Coalhouse Walker Jr. is a black musician, a stubborn man of principle, who symbolizes provoking change. Father said that Coalhouse is a man who doesn’t “act or talk like a colored man” (162). He defies the social norms that exist for African Americans in this era. He does not dress or …show more content…

Mother and the little boy have become self sufficient as a result of Fathers travels. Not only has she taken on the responsibility of being the sole parent, but she also has to run Father’s business. She “could now speak crisply of such matters was unit cost, inventory and advertising. She had assumed executive responsibilities” (112). Mother’s new found business knowledge makes her feel empowered as a woman. After finding Sarah’s baby buried in the garden, she nurses the baby back to health and houses both the mother and baby saying “I will take the responsibility” (70-71). Mother nurtures them without question, providing for the baby and Sarah as if they are her own family. After Sarah’s death, Mother continues to raise the baby as her own and after the death of Father and a year of mourning, she marries

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