Ragtime

by: E. L. Doctorow

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

He looked in Mother's eyes to detect there his justice. He found instead a woman curious and alert to his new being. He realized that every night since he's returned they had slept in the same bed. She was in some way not as vigorously modest as she'd been. She took his gaze. She came to bed with her hair unbraided. Her hand one night brushed down his chest and same to rest below his nightshirt. He decided that God had punishments in store so devious there was no sense trying to anticipate what they were. With a groan he turned to her and found her ready. Her hand pulling his face to hers did not feel his tears.

This dramatic passage addresses not only the ways in which Mother and Father have changed in each other's absence, but also the differences on their perspectives on sexuality. Father seems to experience a profound sense of immorality in deriving pleasure from sex, as evident in his fear of God's judgment. In this sense, as well as in many of his other social views, Father represents the traditional male at the turn of the century, incapable of real change, resentful of the altered world around him, which is beyond his control, and rigid in his conceptions of morality.