Book Ragtime by E.L Doctorow summary

Categories: Doctor

In the book Ragtime by E.L Doctorow, there are 3 fictional characters. They are referred to as Mother, Father and Mothers Younger Brother.

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In my opinion Father and Mothers Younger Brother play the biggest roles in Coalhouse Walkers rebellion.

Father had a good childhood until his mom passed away. He used the money his dad got from the Civil War to invest in a firework company. Many Americans would use inherited money to fund a business during this time period. I would say Father grows the most out of any of the characters due to the fact the stereotypical middle/high class Americans were still lenient towards racism towards black people.

Father did fit this stereotype until he wouldn't let the police use Coalhouse Walkers baby as a surrender tactic to draw Coalhouse Walker to the police.

Another way he outgrew the stereotype was helping Coalhouse Walker get a lawyer for the murder case involving Coalhouse's wife Sarah. After Father returned from his trip to the arctic, his relationship with his wife becomes worse.

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As he blames her for everything that's happened because she wanted to take Sarah in. I think Father is either shy or socially awkward mainly because he doesn't interact with characters and well as I think he could. I would say Father comes to a revelation instead of a resolution because of how he was portrayed in the book as such a negative character wanting to change making his death more dramatic.

Another important fictional character that played a major role is Mothers Younger Brother. Mothers Younger Brother started in the book as a "lonely withdrawn young man with blonde moustaches and was thought to be having difficulty finding himself"(Pg. 4). He was deeply in love with Evelyn Nesbit, following her ex-husbands death and her husband getting put in jail closely. He follows Evelyn Nesbit around, basically stalking her. When he finally approaches her he asks her to go out on a date with him. Towards the middle of the book, Doctorow describes Mothers Younger Brother as "Mothers Younger Brother was losing his blonde hair. He was pale, and thin, and more uncommunicative than ever"(Pg. 112).

The biggest moment in my opinion for Mothers Younger Brother is his meeting with Coalhouse Walker. This is where he tells him about he works in the firework business. Coalhouse Walker and his guys start laughing taking this as a joke, but Mothers Younger Brother then says he can provide them with bombs. Since he is involved in fireworks he is able to make bombs for Coalhouse to rebel.

All in all you can see Father and Mothers Younger Brother helped Coalhouse Walker out. Even though Father was a mainly negative guy he still was able to find good in himself to help out Coalhouse Walker. For Mothers Younger Brother, he wanted to help from the start. Telling him he is involved with fireworks and can provide bombs for Coalhouse Walker.

Updated: Oct 30, 2020
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Book Ragtime by E.L Doctorow summary. (2019, Dec 11). Retrieved from

Book Ragtime by E.L Doctorow summary essay
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