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Throughout the novel Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow there were major cultural and social changes. The cultural changes were from the creations of unions to the moving picture industry to the creation of a middle class. The development of unions was moving the lower class of society up into an undeveloped middle class and moving some of the rich down to this new middle class. Some of the social changes ranged from changes in women's sexual preferences to the revolution of black rights.
The two characters that I belive followed these changes the most were Tateh and Younger Brother. Tateh started out as a poor man who who painted fifteen cent silhouettes on a New York street corner. Until one day Evelyn Nesbit was driving by and saw how beautiful Tateh's young daughter was. Evelyn bought many silhouettes from Tateh so he to treat the young girl well. He went to a meeting with Evelyn and realized that she was a rich woman who enjoyed the company of men. This put money in Evelyn's pocket since she used her beauty to succeed in life.
After shunning his wife away for sleeping with her boss, he shunned Evelyn away for using her beauty for the same means. This made him leave New York to find a better life for human his daughter. Tateh ended up in this small mill in Massachusetts working on the mill. This small town, one week, was short a couple dollars in their pay checks, and decided to strike against the mill owners. The workers all got tougher and formed a union to regain their proper amount plus some to their weekly pay. Forming Unions was one of the many cultural changes in this novel.
Unions gave the poor people more power over the issues the that effect them the most. Tateh was right in the middle of this turmoil, but was seeing the strike slowly get violent. He reluctantly decided to send the little girl, his prise possession, away to weather family. But when she was about to get on the train they were attacked by the Militia. They get out and went to a little town where Tath sold his flip book to a toy store owner and got a contract for him to make four more and receive they same money for each one. He was well on his way into his later job in the moving picture industry.
This job as a moving picture producer advanced him into the middle class that he always dreamed of. This also opened the door for his later romance and eventual marriage with Mother from the New Rochel family. He was a prime example of the america dream and how people wanted to go from a poor i migrant to a middle class working man. The next character that went under a lot of change was the New Role family's younger brother. He was a shy man who just went to work ad came home.
Until one day when he became with this beautiful rich woman, Evelyn Nesbit. He flowed he around almost to protect her, and one day she noticed him. A relationship sure from that. This was a sexual relationship that showed one of the many social changes that was going on at the time. The change in womans sexual preferences from fat rich men to skinny vibrant young men.
Their romance lasted a while but developed into nothing but heartbreak for younger brother. He needed to find his identity so he went on long walks till one day it dawned on him to join Coalhouse Walker's gang. He presented it to Coalhouse and informed him that he could make bombs. This got him in and he was wth Coal house till he was told to leave before Coalhouse's death. The Younger brother takes his knowledge of explosives and helps other rebel groups until his death. This was his calling, his vision of life, his identity.
These characters portrayed the perfect examples of what the culture was like and and how it was changing. They symbolized people from ragtime from both ways of thought to different sides of the law. They displayed what it was like during ths great era of ragtime. Bibliography: My head
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