Explain what the auther means by,"Shoeless joe became a symbol of the tyranny of the powerful over the powerless."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Kinsella's assertion of Shoeless Joe being a symbol of the oppressive nature of power can come from how his professional life evolved.  On the field, Shoeless Joe was a marvel at both his craft from offensive and defensive ends.  A talent beyond measure, he was used by the owners to advance both the game and their own material greed.  This would represent a type of legitimate power structure that exercised their power over the powerless.  Jackson could certainly be seen as powerless for he had little leverage in negotiating his own contracts and was compensated very little in comparison to the amount of money he generated for the owners.  At the time, baseball profit margins were skewed heavily towards the owners.  Leading to the 1919 World Series, Joe became used by the gamblers in their attempt to generate more money for their own devices.  While Joe took the money, his play indicated that he was far from being "on the take."  He hit multiple home runs and batted over .350.  In this manner, Joe was at the mercy of the gamblers by taking their money, proving again the notion of being at the mercy of the powerful.  Kenesaw Landis, Commissioner of Baseball, sought to make a statement and banished Shoeless Joe from the game.  Despite the fact that no one could really prove that Jackson "threw" the Series, he was used as a symbol by the Commissioner, the symbol of power.  Finally, Joe's treatment as an exile from baseball reflected the tyranny of the powerful over the powerless in that he was never allowed to play the game again and was not allowed near it, deemed of poor character.  In being ostracized from the game that he popularized, Joe is again the symbol of the powerful exerting control over the powerless.

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