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In E L Doctorows Ragtime we learn the story and struggles of distinct genders classes races and ethnicities during the turn of the last century Two such members of these different backgrounds are Tateh and Coalhouse The first man is a Jewish immigrant who transforms himself from a poverty stricken frightened newcomer to Baron Ashenazy a wealthy flamboyant Americanized filmmaker The second man is an educated well-dressed black musician who comes to be known as an enraged lunatic because of his organized violent raids against the more powerful white class Together these men are a prime example of how American society its demands prejudices and opportunities can change a mans mentality In this essay I will contrast the difficulties faced by Tateh and Coalhouse in establishing their roles as fathers as they relate to gender class race and ethnicity At the beginning of twentieth century it is the role of the man to provide for his family He must contribute a steady income safety and maybe for the first time in history love of his wife and children Throughout our story we find that Tatehs and Coalhouses sole purpose in life seems to be to take care of their families Because Tateh is a single parent he must bring his daughter to work with him each and every day For safety purposes he wears a clothesline attached to his daughters wrist so that the girl is not stolen from him 37 This is done because it is a common occurrence for young girls of the immigrant slums to be stolen from their parents and sold into slavery Black haired brown eyed and olive skinned Tatehs daughter is the only thing he has to represent himself She is simply his only source of joy As time continues and his wealth increases Tateh moves his daughter out of the slums and provides her with ample food gorgeous clothing and a hope for the future Coalhouse too
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