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057 because like all whores you value propriety
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Home Ragtime Articles of Interest 057 because like all whores you value propriety

057 because like all whores you value propriety


To fully understand what this sentence means every word should have a clear definition. In the context of Ragtime, by E. L. Doctorow, the word "whore" is used by Emma Goldman to describe Evelyn Nesbit in a sense that she has no value other than her beauty and that is "cold and useless". The word propriety basically means proper behavior, but in this case it means the way one is "supposed" to act for the wealthy society, and it stems from the root of property. It is used by Goldman to break down Evelyn and try and show her the world outside of propriety and trying to please the wealthy society. 

Evelyn's degenerate husband, millionaire Harry K. Thaw,is in prison and there is literally no reason to be with him. The point of a sentence like this in this book is to show the reader what kind of life the woman during this time had. A women like Evelyn did what she was told and did not live with the value that Goldman lived. Goldman talks about the men that she has loved and how she has never taken a man to bed without loving him. This is more than can be said about Evelyn. Goldman lives her life free and sleeps with whomever she pleases, as their equal. Evelyn can't say that she has been an equal by her lover. 

The word propriety has the stem of "prop", and there are so many works that can be related to it. Such as the word property. This can be seen as Evelyn Nesbit  being property, like the way a pimp owns a whore. The them of "prop" is also the beginning of the word propaganda. This can be interpreted like what Emma Goldman is using propaganda against Evelyn, or even that Evelyn is the result of proper society propaganda. 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 12:50  

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