The analysis of the extract from “Ragtime”
(by E.L. Doctorow)
“Ragtime” is an E.L. Doctorow’s novel that was published in 1975 and later won the National Book Critics Circle Award. E.L Doctorow himself is a famous American writer who is widely known for his unique works of historical fiction. The novel itself belongs to the epic kind of literature. It’s a contemporary realistic novel because it depicts actual events of the beginning of the 20th century taking place in the USA in spite of most characters being fictional ones. Thus, the novel blends fictional and actual historical figures into one basis that revolves around events, characters and ideas important in American history. The given extract leaves mainly dramatic effect on a reader, though the tenseness of the situation is given rather implicitly through the actions of the characters and the atmosphere created by the music occurring in the plot. Emotional experience of the main character also shows up throughout the extract. According to this we may say that the story belongs both to plot and psychological type. The system of characters is rather simple. The main character is Coalhouse Walker Jr. – a black pianist who having recently become successful musician came to reunite with his girl – young Sarah and their common baby. Except Sarah and the baby being rival characters we may include there the whole white family in which house most of the action in the extract takes place. All the characters are described both indirectly (through their actions and speech) and directly (“He was a stocky man with a red-complected shining brown face, high cheek-bones and large dark eyes…”). As for the theme of the extract on plot level, it may be represented as main character’s attempts to bring back the trust of his lover towards him, while the theme on general level – hard destiny of a black couple that is used to live through numerous misfortunes connected with social inequality. Due to theme...
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