E.L Doctorow’s Ragtime
Examines theme of oppression (racial, economic, sexual, political) in this satirical novel.
This study will examine the theme of oppression in E.L. Doctorow’s satirical novel Ragtime, and the suggestion that art is one way to transcend such oppression. The book is, in fact, a compendium of the economic, racial, sexual, social, political, artistic and spiritual oppression of Americans and immigrants to America in the early years of the twentieth century. Most of the characters, historical, invented, or a combination of both, are not aware of the oppression which shapes and misshapes their lives. Whether victims or victimizers, most of Doctorow’s characters move through their lives oblivious as sleepers to the dismal reality in which they dwell. The American culture as pictured by Doctorow is a thoroughly oppressive realm where only artists seem to have any idea what is going on, what is wrong, and what can be done to escape that wrong if not to make it..
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