Shoeless Joe

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Shoeless Joe
WP Kinsella wrote Shoeless Joe in 1982. The novel was the source for the popular movie, Field of Dreams, in 1988. Shoeless Joe is the story of Ray Kinsella, an avid baseball fan, and the journey he takes and the lengths he goes to fulfill a dream. The Journey takes Ray too many different places around the Northeast; and even places he thought his mind would never go. Ray Kinsella is your typical mid-west farmer. He and his wife Annie have a daughter and a small corn farm in the middle of Iowa. An area fit for farming, not an area fit a baseball field. Ray is content with his life. As a former insurance salesman, Ray doesn’t greatly enjoy farming, but he loves his family. The Kinsella family makes enough money at the farm to just get by and survive as they are consistently being harassed to sell the farm to Annie’s brother, Mark, and his partners. The consistent answer has always been no. The denial of Mark’s proposal became even more eminent when Ray started hearing the voices and following his dream.

“If you build it, he will come.” Such a powerful phrase. A phrase that was so powerful that it drove Ray to plow under his precious crop to build, of all things, a baseball field. A crazy thought for any farmer. Many farmers in the Midwest struggle just to make ends meat, they use every inch of land possible to farm. Who would build a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, in land needed for “more important things?” Well, regardless of the illogical thought of doing this, and with the support of his wife, Ray started to work on the baseball field. Eventually the one he thought he was building the field for, the great “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who died some thirty years before the field was ever thought of, appeared from the corn field and onto the baseball field. The sight of this would put anyone in awe and sure enough it did and pushed Ray to continue on. During the rest of the construction of the field, Ray had to interpret other things the voice said such as “Ease his pain,” and “Go the distance.” Each one was met with confusion and each one was eventually figured out. “Ease his pain.” Someone was hurting, but who? Ray was confident that he had to ease the pain of a great American author, his name, JD Salinger. As Ray was heading towards the secluded Salinger in Vermont, he first stopped in Chicago, mostly to pay ammage to the field Shoeless Joe called home during his playing days. “…Chicago, as always, is cold, grimy, and impersonal…there is intermittent rain, cold drops that pelt down at odd angles…[1]” Chicago was a bit wasn’t easy for Ray. The purpose of this stop was so he can visit Wriggly Field, the old stomping ground of Shoeless Joe and the eight other Black Sox players played. After a stop in Cleveland to watch the Indians loose, Ray makes his way to Pittsburgh and to “The House that Ruth Build” in New York City, and eventually, to Boston. Boston showed a little friendlier attitude then Chicago, “‘I’m eighty cents short of a price of a ticket…’I give him a dollar and say I hope he enjoys the game…[2]” Finally, Ray is driving through Vermont almost to the home of JD Salinger. “The land is foreign to me. The hills are blanketed with trees and foliage…The sky is clear, with a rumble of clouds on the horizon. I walk into the woods – oak, maple, white birch, conifer, poplar, the ground clothed in green crawling vines decorated with tiny purple flowers. Acorns cover the ground like pebbles. The trees are a golden-green; spring bristles all about me. There is more rock than I imagined, although the mountains, compared to the real mountains of the West, are only green hills.[3]” After some resistance from Salinger, Ray was able to convince Salinger to accompany him to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston. On the way to Boston, Ray excitingly told Salinger the story of how he had gotten to this point. While the pair watched the Red Sox and Twins battle it out on the...
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