Ragtime Analysis

771 Words4 Pages
Alex Jackel
Mrs. Mcfarland
AP Language and Composition
3 October 2017
Ragtime Essay
Present in the different novels of E.L. Doctorow are many themes, ranging from the impact of technology on society to the drastic effects of war. All of his books have something in common: the prevalence of the American dream. The United States of America was founded around the fact that anybody can come here and succeed with the right amount of effort. Ironically, the people that praise the United States oppress blacks and other minorities so that they cannot succeed. In E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, Booker T. Washington advocates the abandonment of the pursuit of the American dream by illustrating the sacrifices that many African-Americans were willing to make to obtain racial peace.
The famous, black, nineteenth century politician Booker T. Washington plays a large role in Ragtime. An actual quote from Washington in 1894 reads that he was indeed willing to give up the “demand for racial equality” as well as “political and civil rights” in order to achieve the dream of racial peace. Washington advocated that something had to be exchanged for racial harmony. Although Washington clashed with other civil rights activists such as W.E.B. Dubois, and seemingly accepted segregation, he was nonetheless recognized for his movement to promote racial peace among African-Americans. The foremost black educator and institution builder of his time was completely willing to have blacks remain subordinate to
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