Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

1502 WordsJan 25, 20186 Pages
Throughout the past couple of centuries the human narrative has been increasingly presented in terms of acceleration in a phenomenon testifying to what can be termed “the ecstasy of speed.” Novels tend to create societal themes and expressions of progress that change and explode within texts. Uses of world and historical acceleration are overarchingly some of the most easily arrived at examples of “the ectasy of speed.” E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime, which has been adapted into a stage production as well, stands as an example of precisely this sort of text. There is the question of the association of the cultural, historical, and fictional characteristics of Ragtime that critic Brian Roberts has called the “central metaphor” of the novel. When put together with the cohesive historical narrative within the novel, the discussion reveals the ways in which Doctorow uses Ragtime to perform a work that mirrors the ups and downs of the classic ragtime style of music. Doctorow does this through the introduction of a distinctive way of reading history which is vitally deconstructive and politically charged. When a curious soul looks for critical material available on Ragtime they are sure to find materials that focus on the relationship between the form and the theme of the novel at its core. The novel can be characterized as historical fiction. Although it takes on the style of historical fiction it ultimately challenges what the reader believes to be true about history and

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