Ragtime

by: E. L. Doctorow

Mother

Characters Mother

Mother's reactions to her changing environment provide us with important insights into her emotional, psychological, and intellectual processes of change. Her relationship with her husband undergoes a dramatic transformation after his return from the Arctic. After finding the tasks of the family business both simple and somewhat boring, Mother loses the respect she had had for his professional life. Mother's hosting of and caring for Sarah and her baby have also changed her. Although she still feels love for her husband on occasion, it constitutes the old love of friends or family members rather than the passionate love of lovers. Mother has become an idealistic and creative dreamer, while Father, resistant to change, has remained dull and static. Mother's dissatisfaction with her husband, and in particular the ways in which he fails to satisfy her, foreshadows her subsequent union with Tateh. Mother grows enamored with the concept of the motion picture and the perspective it affords on daily life. Mother's transformations manifest themselves most clearly in her increasing awareness of her own sexuality. Mother and Father have drastically different perspectives on sexuality. While Father seems to experience a profound sense of immorality in deriving pleasure from sex, Mother exalts in her growing awareness of her sexuality.