Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quotations from *Ragtime*, 5 of 5
E.L. Doctorow
1931- American

Spring, spring! Like a mad magician flinging silks and colored rags from his trunk the earth produced the yellow and white crocus, then the fox grape, the forsythia flowering on its stalks, the blades of iris, the apple tree blossoms of pink and white and green, the heavy lilac and the daffodil. Grandfather stood in the yard and gave a standing ovation. A breeze came up and blew from the maples a shower of spermatozoic soft-headed green buds. They caught in his sparse gray hair. He shook his head with delight, feeling a wreath had been bestowed. A joyful spasm took hold of him and he stuck his leg out in an old man’s jig, lost his balance, and slid on the heel of his shoe into a sitting position. In this manner he cracked his pelvis and entered a period of declining health from which he would not recover.
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime

He remembered his attempt to escape from a coffin, the terror when he realized he could not. The coffin had a trick lid but he had not anticipated the weight of the earth. He had clawed at the earth, feeling its monumental weight. He had screamed into its impenetrable silence. He knew what it was to be sealed in the earth but he felt now it was the only place for him.
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime

During his absence when she had made certain decisions regarding the business, all its mysterious potency was dissipated and she saw it for the dreary unimaginative thing it was. No longer expecting to be beautiful and touched with grace till the end of her days, she was coming to the realization that whereas once, in his courtship, Father might have embodied the infinite possibilities of loving, he had aged and gone dull, made stupid, perhaps, by his travels and his work, so that more and more he only demonstrated his limits, that he had reached them, and that he would never move beyond them.
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime

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