It displays for the reader a rich and hypnotic portrayal of the soul of immigrant America, yet still fails to avoid ethnic bias in certain subtle ways.
Doctorow's Ragtime Written almost thirty years ago, describing an age far removed from its own, E. Doctorow's novel Ragtime nevertheless explores issues of identity and ethnicity that still face America in spite of its lofty ideals of individualism and diversity.
Still, he does not make that connection and he only sees this ship of people representing a change that is out of his control.
Even the most trivial changes to society elicit a strong disapproval by Father.
To his dismay, the game he loves is now dominated by immigrants.
Father thinks to himself that "there was no reason the Negro could not with proper guidance carry every burden of human achievement," however we do know that Father looked poorly upon Coalhouse for being as successful as a white man.
The reader quickly learns that Father judges these people for the simple reason that he feels that they are going to change his country in some way or another.
The irony of Father's reaction is that practically all citizens of the United States arrived as immigrants from other countries, and it is likely that Father's parents moved to America shortly before he was born.
This outlook has a negative influence on his family and leads to the eventual separation of him and his wife.
Ultimately, Father's attempt to hold on to the past ends up destroying his future.