LITERATURE: Ragtime – Changes

I realize that this is not really first person but third; the reference to Mother and Father, etc. are an unusual way for the narrator to refer to his characters, yet it is reminiscent of the recently read works of Peter Taylor.

We have a father who sells patriotic supplies–everything from flags to fireworks, and he travels quite frequently.  After the episode with Harry Houdini’s car breaking down in front of their house, the father takes off on another business trip via train.  From his seat, he can see the boat full of immigrants coming in to the harbor and imagines the desperate hope the thousands aboard hold inside their fear.

And then this, which should make one think in view of current affairs:

He watched the ship until he could see it no longer.  Yet aboard her were only more customers, for the immigrant population set great store by the American flag.  (p. 15)

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