What are some significant events in Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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W.P. Kinsella's 1982 novel Shoeless Joe was famously adapted as Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, and is considered a classic work.

Ray Kinsella, who is a baseball devotee, hears the voice of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson telling him to build a baseball stadium in his cornfield. Against the wishes of his family and friends, he embarks on a mission to build the stadium and give Jackson a chance at personal redemption. Kinsella also travels to meet J.D. Salinger, who helps him fulfill his destiny.

Throughout the novel, Kinsella is spoken to and meets ghosts of famous baseball players, and reconnects with his own estranged family. In the beginning of the novel, he meets "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, who was barred from the game due to his involvement with the Black Sox Scandel, and begins to build despite his low finances. After meeting and convincing J.D. Salinger to help him, they find other dead players with dreams they have never accomplished, and

Kinsella also meets and reconciles with his twin brother Richard, who helps him with the field and is eventually able to see the ghosts as well. Their connection allows their father to appear on the field; Richard had vanished after a fight and was never able to see him again. Many of the events are similar to this one, and while the magical aspects of the novel are presented as factual, they can also be seen as metaphorical; a character who has some internal problem discovers how to reconcile it, and is relieved of his burden. Finally, the help of a personal hero -- J.D. Salinger to Kinsella -- is echoed throughout as real and ghostly characters meet each other and reveal their inner selves.


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