Ragtime Essay, Research Paper
Ragtime is one of the most powerful books that I have ever read, and E.L. Doctorow is an author unlike any other. Just as the name suggests, the seemingly serene beginnings that are presented in each of the miniature books within the book are quickly unraveled by the onslaught of complicating situations and by the unpredictable reactions of each character. The plot, containing an abundance of twists and turns, and the author s style of writing, work together harmoniously making it nearly impossible for me to stop reading.
The interplay between fact and fiction is so greatly entangled that it made me wonder if certain famous characters truly did do the things that were described in the book. Doctorow s style of magic realism contributed to my curiosity. For example, the scene in Book I concerning Houdini meeting the little boy, fascinated me. I asked myself, could such an incident have been possible? If so, what are the chances? Peeking into the intimate lives of several well-known people gave me the sense that I actually knew who they were. Since Doctorow describes their inner feelings so well, I was able to put aside the reality that their experiences in the book are mostly from Doctorow s creativity. These great accounts of their emotion made me believe that he personally knew them and therefore knew what they have gone through and what they were feeling at particular moments.
This story made me question how likely or unlikely certain events could occur and the extent to which something stops being a coincidence and instead becomes the fulfillment of a specific destiny. This is especially true about the section regarding Tateh and his daughter meeting Mother and the little boy. From one perspective, it can be hypothesized that it is pure chance that Father chose to stay at the same place as Tateh and his daughter is staying. Then again, is it time for his daughter to find a friend whom she can be completely comfortable with? After all that Tateh has had to go through, is it finally time for him to find his companion in life therefore some outside force intervenes to speed up the process? The complexity of the situations fueled my liking of the book because I was able to incorporate the events with incidents that happen in my life concerning mere chance or inevitable fate.
The book was very interesting, and I was drawn to reading it throughout the whole story. It has drawn my attention to possibly read more of Doctorow s books because I believe it would be time well spent if they resemble the exceptionality of Ragtime.