Ragtime: E. L. Doctorow

Topics: E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, New Rochelle, New York Pages: 12 (4405 words) Published: March 30, 2012
In the novel Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow, injustice polarizes society by racism and murder. Racism is defined in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s dictionary as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and those racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. A clear example of this is how the police dealt with Coalhouse’s (an African-American) car. Not only did they make the car dirty and torn, they also defecated on it, too. Now, it is fairly obvious that only reason that the cops damaged Coalhouse’s car like they did is because of his skin color. In the time that this novel takes place; racism is at an all time high and even “America’s finest” had their part in it. It doesn’t stop there though. Another example is Coalhouse’s fiancée, Sarah (who is also African-American), tries to intervene on her fiancée’s behalf by petitioning the government on the matter of Coalhouse’s treatment

The author of the novel “Ragtime” is rather popular American writer Edgar Lawrence Doctorow who was born in the Bronx, New York City. He was the son of second-generation Americans of Russian Jewish descent. He published his first literary effort, The Beetle, in the school literary magazine, Dynamo. Young Edgar described his masterpiece as “a tale of etymological self-defamation inspired by my reading of Kafka”. During all his life he was send to the military service, than had a wife and 3 children and worked as an editor for the most part of his life. And finally left editing in order to write in 1969.Ragtime written in 1975 was named one of the hundred best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library editorial board. As it was told in the preface we will learn about the tragedy of the main character's life. Coalhouse Walker Jr. and his beloved woman Sarah are the two to suffer. But as we are allowed to analyze only small part of such a sad novel we will speak about changes. Changes that are supposed to be taken in the personal life of our main character and those changes that have already been taken while the family that saved Sarah got acquainted with the father of her baby. Moreover if we could deep into the final part of the narration we may have an opportunity to watch very difficult and numerous social and political changes in which our characters won't take the last part. Lawrence Doctorow when Negroes were hated and worked hard to receive their own rights to live as a normal members of the society. That's what I've meant under the political and social changes. But personal views of the family I mentioned above became different after several visits of Coalhouse to their place and especially after his amusing play “The piece was brought to a conclusion. Everybody applauded. Mother than introduced Mr Walker to Grandfather and to Younger Brother, who shook the black man's hand and said I am pleased to meet you.” The narration is from the third person and first of all we see the description of the main character. Here the author wants us to notice a man of taste “…with a gloved hand…”,with intelligent appearance “He was a stocky man with a red- complected shining brown face, high cheekbones and large dark eyes…..He had a neat moustache. He was dressed in the affection of wealth….” , having a good car“…a new model of T-Ford slowly came up the hill…His car shone.”, and proud of who he is “… and beckoned with the gloved hand. ” And to show as that not everything about Negro is mentioned still, author puts an example of an unfinished sentence “The bright-work gleamed…I am looking for a young woman of color whose name is Sarah, be said.” Besides we are allowed to hear his first words which by the way are designed not like a monologue but like a simple sentence in the flow of speech, and such phrases as “…be said.” or “…if he could please speak to Sarah.” make us believe that we're sitting in front of the author and listening how he is telling us this story live. Moving further we as...
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