Doctorow describes various characters with different social statuses in his novel Ragtime. In pursuit of Sarah, Coalhouse Walker enters into the family of Father and Mother. Walker is an integral factor that brings forth changes in other characters. After Sarah learns that the Vice-President is in town, "she waited in the evening until her child was safely asleep, and wrapping a shawl about her head, left the house without telling any member of the family and ran down the hill to North Avenue. She was shoeless" (189). Sarah runs to the Vice-President for Coalhouse's justice, and she is so ardent that she runs out without any shoes on. When Coalhouse first pursues Sarah, the girl does not show any emotion towards her suitor. She only sits in the attic, barely acknowledges Coalhouse, and refuses to talk about anything. The most she has said in month is tell Mother to "send him [Coalhouse] away, please" (156). However, after Coalhouse intrudes into Sarah's life, persistently visits her every Saturday, and plays ragtime music on piano, the girl has been changing internally. Although Sarah does not blatantly show her affection, her personality starts to turning sanguine. Gradually Sarah starts to "taken on the duties of the departed housekeeper and now cleaned rooms so energetically" (161). .
Coalhouse brings brighter emotions to Sarah, and teaches her to express her feelings. He transforms Sarah from an indifferent girl to an ardent girl who would run around without shoes and who does housework with energy. Moreover, not only does Walker bring changes to Sarah, he also has great impacts on Mother's Younger Brother. Coalhouse links Mother's Younger Brother to passion and motives. After playing piano for the first time on a visit, Walker has attracted the young man with his music. Mother's Younger Brother feels that, "in the way the black man acted upon his [Walker's] intentions more manhood than he himself possessed" (163).