Ragtime Author EL Doctorow Characters ¾ 2

Review Ragtime Author E.L. Doctorow

Ragtime Author E.L. Doctorow Characters ¾ 2 ñ Published in 1975 Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be An extraordinary tapestry Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century the First World War The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle NY at the home of an affluent American family OneErican family One lazy Sunday afternoon the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house Almost magically the line between fantasy historical fact between real imaginary characters disappears Henry Ford Emma Goldman JP Morgan Ev. The time from 1902 to about 1914 the place around New York City an its prosperous suburb New Rochelle New York the Ragtime Era Scott Joplin lively syncopated music has swept the nation if you ever seen the film The Sting you will recognize the sounds A wealthy family they make fireworks and American flags living contently in all appearances outside the city Father Mother Mother's Younger Brother Grandfather and the little boyyes no proper names given here kind of uirky to be sure The author EL Doctorow to mix things up has an abandoned newly born black baby found and saved by the unnamed family near their home Sarah a naive teenager who left her child on the ground to die is very depressed a broken love affair the reason and taken in as a housekeeper they feels sorry for her Coalhouse Walker Jr the unfazed lover a musician and superb piano player locates Sarah after a search visits every week the backdoor of course ironically at first she will not see him or even care for the unwanted infant Mr Walker a native of St Louis is a proud man and doesn't take insults from anyone the color of his skin has not made him feel inferior uite the contrary Showing the impressed family how great a pianist in their out of tune piano that embarrasses the head of the house So when he is harassed by the volunteer firemen led by racist chief Will Conklin jealous of Walker's Model T Ford passing the station the well dressed and soft spoken black man demands justice when his car is damaged by them Not receiving satisfaction from the uninterested local authorities he reported the incident to and takes justice into his own handswhich causes much destruction than the fireworks family ever imagined; to the usually uiet small town no justice no peace the writer seems to say Terror permeates the whole municipality making national headlines as the destruction spreads Nevertheless how far can this be taken without injuring innocent people This uestion can never be answered properly and it isn't hereHistorical figures materialize in the novel continuously Harry Houdini Henry Ford JP Morgan Emma Goldman Evelyn Nesbit etc they spice up the narrative A fun aspect of this book one of many This a short but important and thought provoking prizewinning work for readers who dig underneath and discover the truth everyone wants respect no matter the race they are born intopeople are just people

E.L. Doctorow  2 Free read

Elyn Nesbit Sigmund Freud Emiliano Zapata slip in out of the tale crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family other fictional characters including an immigrant peddler a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violenc. Sometime early in his career EL Doctorow figured out a great formula for historical fiction He takes real life iconic figures from whatever era he’s covering and has them interact in believable ways with his fictional characters It makes for a “show don’t tell” scenario that brings history alive With Ragtime we get to peek inside the heads of Houdini Freud JP Morgan Emma Goldman Henry Ford and others In the process we learn the issues of the day and get an authentic feel for the setting We can appreciate the context and connections that animate his stories Ragtime is set in the decade leading up to WWI There was a lot going on in those days especially in a place like New York It was a period of social unrest brought on no doubt by the great divide between the haves and the have nots An upper middle class family in New Rochelle was one focal point of the book and a Jewish immigrant and his young daughter were another Their changing fortunes were charted in revealing ways A ragtime pianist also featured prominently – as articulate and clean as a President sorry Joe Biden has always seemed blunderously funny to me until racist stupidity on the part of a fire chief pushed his buttons Doctorow as usual weaved the stories together well He was long on conflict too which kept the pages turning World’s Fair and Billy Bathgate were very good in a similar way that is in mixing real people and events with those of his own creation At the same time I’ve also noticed some common threads that have begun to put me off just a tad For one the men and even the young boys are often – how should I put it – carnally preoccupied Some might say it’s almost to the extreme of actuality Another repeated theme seems to be how much fully evolved the Jewish soul is compared to the Gentile one Again some may say it’s a representative depiction of the true demographic but it seems a little too overt when virtually all the Jews are wise both in the book sense and the street sense morally superior and rife with character for having been so downtrodden Doctorow grew up in the Bronx of Russian Jewish parentage so I suppose he comes by any biases honestly It’s not like any of that particularly bothered me It was just something I noticed What seemed provocative though was the favorable light he seemed to shine on the anarchists he profiled Anytime killing people is part of your agenda I like to believe you’re inviting an “Extremist” label to your cause but I didn’t get the feeling from the book that EL agreedI’m still a big Doctorow fan but I don’t necessarily look to him as a guide across history’s rockier political landscapes When he’s just telling his stories I think he’s great; as an essayist on morality maybe less so

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Ragtime Author E.L. DoctorPublished in 1975 Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be An extraordinary tapestry Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century the First World War The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle NY at the home of an affluent Am. A ragin' feelin' I had during the first half of Ragtime was oh my gawd this may possibly become my favorite novel all year Yeah That overwhelmingly delicious feeling last year achieved during my Where'd You Go BernadetteThe Godfather double whammy was reproduced until it almost organically chose to focus on one specific era in US history Ragtime is just so majestically beautiful taking on the whole of America between 1903 1915 aka the dawning of the 20th century displaying an intrepid attitude that blazes that acceleratesIt is incredible; an accessible long meditation like a panorama portrait described with broad lush strokes; accessible unlike Saramago or Garcia Maruez It's funny it's very clever with its use of scales for everything in literature is worth a mention from a simple shadow on the floor to the features of the general populace of the great American metropolis this novel has it all when the scale becomes unfathomable Doctorow maintains one singular strand in a huge tapestry that has many strands it seems He chooses to fix the novel past the faux majesties of the new money set where Gatsby existed and the slum wretched poor the days before the grapes of wrath in a factual story of a black man robbed of his property his basic human dignity and conseuently of his revenge on the white cowards Ragtime is entertaining wholesome very educational I would urge every American History teacher to add it to the syllabus It describes a macrocosm effectively the factoids are invigorating Plus the prose well it's endearing unforgettable good great amazing