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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Ragtime is the sequel to Fiddler on the Roof.
Fiddler takes place during 1905 and ends with Tevye and his family leaving for New York. Ragtime's prologue opens in 1902, but Tateh doesn't arrive until 1906. Anatevka is described as a Russian shtetl but Tateh is a Latvian immigrant... except that Latvia was part of Russia in 1905! Sometime between leaving Anatevka and arriving in New York, Golde and Shprintze die during the arduous journey, leaving just Tevye's youngest daughter Bielke. In the narration of Ragtime, non-historical characters do not get proper names, so he is simply referred to as Tateh ("Father") and Bielke is merely Little Girl. The clincher is a line in the second act, said by Baron Ashkenazi (who is Tateh) about a potential movie script: "So, the young woman, forced into a marriage she does not want, decides to elope with the butcher she loves. Nonsense! People don't spend good money to see young women elope with butchers." This is exactly the kind of thing Tevye would say after his experience with Tzeitel and Lazar Wolf!
PurgatorioWMG/LiteratureRamona Quimby

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