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Literature Study GuidesRagtimePart 3 Chapter 30 Summary

Ragtime | Study Guide

E. L. Doctorow

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Ragtime | Part 3, Chapter 30 | Summary



Father splurges at the baseball game to get good seats, excited to make a good impression on his son. He is disappointed, however, when fans around them curse and use colorful language. He is also disgusted to see the New York Giants employ a handicapped man as their mascot. He had felt nostalgic about the game but leaves feeling unsure of himself. Something about the game challenges his self-identity. The boy, however, enjoys the game's repetitive rhythm.


Father brings The Little Boy to the baseball game in a desperate attempt to form a bond. Considering his age, Father realizes his son is also an integral part of his legacy. He allows himself to feel nostalgic about moments in his past, such as going to baseball games in college and wishes to share these memories with his son. As always, however, the world has moved on from Father's "old world," and he struggles to adapt. The baseball game horrifies and disturbs Father, who longs for the good old days "when the players addressed each other as Mister." The Little Boy's comment about liking the game's repetition reminds readers of the novel's message that history repeats itself.

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