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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.
When he decries these changes, he is showing dislike for more than just Egyptian culture, but foreign changes to his own culture.
He can not stand this outside influence over his lifestyle unless he is causing it.
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.
What follows quickly after is the voice of truth and reason in the text, expressed through the fictional re-representation of the anarchist Emma Goldman, who shows white culture that "Apparently there were Negroes. Despite this laudable cultural advancement, the author's meaning of the term "immigrant" takes place within a very limited context.
Asians and indigenous peoples are not "invited" in Ragtime; while black America is given a voice through the stubborn and noble Coalhouse and the eloquent Booker T.Washington, and the Eastern European immigrant community is given a rich and touching voice through "Tateh" and his daughter, Doctorow never ventured far enough along to include Asians in his spectrum of ethnic narrative.Just like the "Oriental silk cushions" that made Houdini feel so trapped in Father's home, they are deprived of a true voice.In his reluctance to embrace a sophisticated black man, he generates the idea that Coalhouse thinks he is white to satisfy his own preconceptions.Father appears to become disillusioned with his inconsistent views when he takes his son to a baseball game.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.Great lengths are taken by Doctorow to empathize with the Eastern European immigrant community.With great emotion, he describes Father's impression of an immigrant ship, decidedly of a European identity because of the head shawls that the women wore (Doctorow 14).Father's close-mindedness prevents him from seeing how close-minded he is, a cycle which only reinforces his unbending attitude.From the beginning of the book, Father's stubborn attitude prevents him from appreciating the very qualities of the country that welcomed his family because he so fears change.