What are the meanings of both the following quotes from "Shoeless Joe": “This must be heaven" and "baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure… If only life were so simple."
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The concept embodied in this quote evokes a feeling, the sensation that you get when you are a fan in a stadium, where 50,00 people's hearts beat as one, all for the team. Togetherness, unity, sunshine and the simplicity of the game. The cheering crowd, the winning team, all is right with the world.
These moments of shared glory, like when your favorite team wins the World Series, or the Superbowl are uniquely joyous, yet are shared by millions.
For Shoeless Joe, who loved the game with a passion, and who was marked by the scandal and may have accepted money, was more a victim in the process, manipulated by the greedy owners.
Shoeless Joe loved the game so much that he would play for next to no money. That is heaven, when you love something so much that you would do it for nothing.
Unfortunately, as Joe found out, even baseball is complicated by life and people who are greedy. Shoeless Joe's life was made very complicated by forces within the organization of baseball, but not the game itself, which for him was pure joy. He paid an exceptionally high price for his participation in the scandal, banned for life from baseball, which made him feel like he was no longer a whole person.
One way to answer both quotes is to think about the relationship between a boy and his father. Men don't speak about their feelings like women do and so the sharing of time and space together is what that father-son bond is all about in this novel. It is heaven for Ray to see a father in his prime and again just share the time and space of a baseball game. Baseball, the all-American game where just sitting there in the sun, eating, drinking, laughing, and shouting is the purest of all sports because it is more relaxed than other sports. It is a sport that is slow but has many deeper levels of understanding.
Life has a lot more complications than that simple afternoon at the park. The comradary that is shared by fifty thousand fans can be commpared to patriotism that people feel for their country when at war. You don't need to know the people to share the common bond. This is unlike real, complicated relationships.
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