Doctorov's Ragtime - Analysis of an Extract

Topics: E. L. Doctorow, Black people, Ragtime Pages: 4 (1437 words) Published: May 6, 2013
e - analysisAnalysis of the text “Ragtime”
The text under analysis is an extract from a novel “Ragtime” be E. L. Doctorow, a well-known American writer who is also famous for his other novels which include “Welcome to Hard Times” and “The Book of Daniel” nominated for a National Book Award. The events of the story take place in New Rochelle, NY, where white people live. The story starts with a young black man coming up on a new T-Ford to one of the houses where New Rochelle family lives. The man whose name is Coalhouse Walker Jr. is looking for a young black woman Sarah who is given a shelter by the New Rochelle family. The Mother of the family lets him in but Sarah doesn’t want to see Coalhouse Walker so he has to go away. While waiting for Sarah he sees a little black baby in a carriage and understands him to be his son. Coalhouse Walker visits them every weekend but Sarah doesn’t come down from the attic where she lives. When the Mother understands him to be a respectful and rich man she decides to invite him for tea. The author gives a detailed description of the way they serve him tea. The family asks Coalhouse Walker to play on the piano and he plays ragtime music so perfectly that even the whole family comes down to the parlor to look at him. Coalhouse Walker sees all members of the family but he doesn’t see Sarah. Then the Father asks him whether he knows some of coon songs which seem for Coalhouse Walker of a lower degree. All these facts seem to be unpleasant to him and he abruptly leaves the family. The main character of the story is Coalhouse Walker Jr. His character is round and static. He is stable throughout the extract. He comes to visit Sarah every weekend in spite of the fact that Sarah refuses to see him. That proves him to be stubborn and persistent. The author uses indirect method of characterization; E. L. Doctorow just gives clues about what kind of person Coalhouse Walker is through his words, actions and reaction of the other characters...
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