Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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RAGTIME Ragtime is the story of three New York families that become intertwined with life and the people who epitomized it. They come in contact with not only one another but with great people of their time, including Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford. It takes place in the early nineteenth century, leading up to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the beginning of the Great War.

The story begins its course with a description of a family living in New Rochelle, New York. The family consists of Mother, Father, Mother?s Younger Brother, The Boy, and Grandfather. They are given no distinct names. For a good portion of the novel, the actions and incidents of Evelyn Nesbit are traced. Evelyn is a prostitute to the rich. Her husband, Harry K. Thaw is put into the insane asylum for the murder of famous architect Stanford White.

She begins to pursue a secret interest in Manhattan in a poor socialist immigrant who makes silhouette portraits on the street. He has a little girl whom he keeps in close watch to save her from the harsh dangers of the street. The immigrant?s name is Tateh. Evelyn pursues a relationship with him and his daughter due to the lack of substance and value in her life. After attending a rally in which anarchist Emma Goldman speaks, Evelyn loses all contact with Tateh. She then becomes acquainted with Emma Goldman herself who enlightens Evelyn with talk of freeing herself from the society that oppresses her. All this time Mother?s Younger Brother had been stalking Evelyn in admiration of her. The two finally cross paths and form a relationship. Back at the household in New Rochelle, Mother and Father?s relationship is tried along with their happiness. Mother discovers a Negro...