Shoeless Joe Jackson Return To America Analysis

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In Kinsella's Shoeless Joe Jackson returns to Iowa, Kinsella questions the American fascination with the past and also criticizes Americans and their dreams. By presenting what is basically a ghost tale disguised as an American sports story, Kinsella blurs the lines between practicality and what is unreasonable. A middle aged farmer, Ray Kinsella who obsesses over a baseball diamond to the point in which it almost causes financial turmoil builds a baseball field to watch the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson play ball. While many just argue he is just a hardworking American with a dream to build a field, it is easy to see the absurdity of his mission. However, as Ray and many others are taught to believe really true? Can you achieve anything you …show more content…
Americans obsess over this idea of keeping memories alive. It is common for people to define themselves by their past achievements and also to aspire to others legacies. Ray is no different. Kinsella presents Ray as the average stereotypical American male. The characterization of Ray allows many readers to affiliate and understand Ray's life because it is so similar to their own. So, like all Americans, Ray dwells in the past. Ray's dad played minor league baseball and Ray "found his statistics in a dusty minor-league record book." (743) He reads his dad's stats and fantasizes about his dad playing ball. Not only did his dad play but he watched a lot of baseball. As a kid, Ray was constantly told about the 1919 World Series and about many of the famous players. Ray's dad's favorite player was Shoeless Joe Jackson. His dad would reminisce about the days when Shoeless Joe played the game. His dad instilled this love for baseball and built up the legend of Shoeless Joe in and to his son. Kinsella satirizes this obsession of the past by stressing the importance of baseball memories in the father-son bond and ignoring other vital pieces of a relationship. All Ray can remember about his dad is his baseball stories and career; which proves that dwelling in the past can make one miss out on the

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