How does Doctorow incorporate metaphors of imprisonment and false liberation into Ragtime? How does imprisonment manifest itself in the novel's characters, psychologically, economically, and physically?

How do some of the main characters serve allegorical roles? What movements or social trends are they intended to represent?

What questions and concerns does Doctorow raise about the nature of historical truth?

How does the struggle for stability and meaning manifest itself in the characters' thoughts and actions?

What is the role of the motion picture in Ragtime? What is its significance as a cultural influence at the turn of the century in the United States? How is the process of "duplication" significant?