Ragtime Coalhouse Walker Essay

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Great lengths are taken by Doctorow to empathize with the Eastern European immigrant community.

With great emotion, he describes Father's impression of an immigrant ship, decidedly of a European identity because of the head shawls that the women wore (Doctorow 14).

In his reluctance to embrace a sophisticated black man, he generates the idea that Coalhouse thinks he is white to satisfy his own preconceptions.

Father appears to become disillusioned with his inconsistent views when he takes his son to a baseball game.

, the character Father seems to be constantly in conflict with from his environment.

As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that despite his claim to be a progressive, he is very stubborn and resistant to change.The reader quickly learns that Father judges these people for the simple reason that he feels that they are going to change his country in some way or another.The irony of Father's reaction is that practically all citizens of the United States arrived as immigrants from other countries, and it is likely that Father's parents moved to America shortly before he was born.Father's tolerance for others is tested when the family meets the father of Sarah's child, Coalhouse Walker Jr.After many visits to court Sarah and make a good impression on the family, Father decides that "Coalhouse Walker Jr.As Father departs on his Arctic journey, his ship passes a ship of immigrants headed to America.As he gazes across the faces of the new citizens, we are told that he "suddenly foundered in his soul." (12) It is odd that the thought of foreigners moving to America had such a dramatic effect on Father.Still, he does not make that connection and he only sees this ship of people representing a change that is out of his control.Even the most trivial changes to society elicit a strong disapproval by Father.What follows quickly after is the voice of truth and reason in the text, expressed through the fictional re-representation of the anarchist Emma Goldman, who shows white culture that "Apparently there were Negroes. Despite this laudable cultural advancement, the author's meaning of the term "immigrant" takes place within a very limited context.Asians and indigenous peoples are not "invited" in Ragtime; while black America is given a voice through the stubborn and noble Coalhouse and the eloquent Booker T.


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