Ragtime: a Time of Change

Topics: Ragtime, E. L. Doctorow, Fiction Pages: 2 (761 words) Published: October 6, 2010
The beginning of the twentieth century was a period that marked great change in the United States. Immigrants from all over the world reached the American coasts hoping to achieve their dreams in the Land of Opportunity; women began to realize they had the potential to do certain things only men did, and change lay upon everybody in one way or another. But the question is: Was the country ready for these changes? E.L. Doctorow shows the reactions of the different people in America at the time through the characters in his historical fiction novel Ragtime, intended to be read by young adults. Edgar Lawrence Doctorow was born in New York City on January 6, 1931. After graduating with honors from Kenyon College in 1952, he did some graduate work at Columbia University and served in the US Army in Germany. E.L. Doctorow has worked as senior editor and editor in chief in different companies, but now he dedicates his life to writing and teaching. (Book Browse, 2005) “E.L. Doctorow's work, and Ragtime in particular, expresses his political beliefs as well as the time in which he wrote. Doctorow published Ragtime in 1975, the year in which the Vietnam War came to a close. The 1970s were a time in which many Americans grew disillusioned about both international and domestic issues” (SparkNotes Editors). This novel is settled during the difficult times that immigrants suffered during the first years of the twentieth century. It is a narrative sequence of experiences of two families and many real characters from those days. In Ragtime, Doctorow shows his disagreement with racism towards the segregated and criticized immigrant population using the characters of Tateh, a Yiddish, and Coalhouse Walker Jr. and Sarah, African-Americans, who are full of hope for a brighter future for their races. Tateh eventually reaches this by selling his movie books (133) and, later on, entering the moving-picture business as Baron Ashkenazy (254), even when he and his daughter...
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