How many chapters is Shoeless Joe?

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

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Kinsella's work is five chapters.  There is a structure to the manner in which the chapters are constructed.  The first one establishes the basic exposition of the novel, in that the ball field is introduced and Shoeless Joe Jackson emerges.  The "magical" quality of baseball is first introduced here in a manner that allows it to be woven into the other chapters.  The love of baseball that comes out in the first chapter is something that is brought out in the second and third chapters, with baseball being the common thread for both Salinger and Graham.  In the third chapter, the strongest emotional connection in the book is forged between baseball and the people who love it, when Ray sees his father playing on the baseball field.  At the zenith of the novel, the love of baseball is both externalized and subjectively experienced.  In the last chapter, Salinger is asked to go with the players and fully experience the "magic" of baseball, in particular healing the wounds of the loss of his beloved Polo Grounds from 1964.  Each chapter represents some aspects of baseball and the love for it.  It is interesting to see the book after five chapters, or five innings, indicating that the love of baseball has many more chapters to be written before being considered "a complete game."

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