In "Shoeless Joe," both men read Dr. Graham's obituary. What's the obituary supposed to tell the reader about Moonlight Graham? How is his life different from Shoeless Joe's life? What does this...

In "Shoeless Joe," both men read Dr. Graham's obituary. What's the obituary supposed to tell the reader about Moonlight Graham? How is his life different from Shoeless Joe's life? What does this say about the importance of the baseball game for each other?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Moonlight Graham's obituary reflects the story of an athlete who has a pure love of the game and does not experience the glory of the game.  Shoeless Joe Jackson possessed natural talent in the game and received the praise and glory of the game for it.  Simply put, he is a legend.  Yet, for every Shoeless Joe there are numerous players who love the game, but for whom the dream simply does not materialize.  Moonlight Graham loved the game, worshipped at its altar, and all he wished for was one major league at bat.  The sum total of his dream is one inning of work for Shoeless Joe.  However, both love the game and pursue the same dream within it.  In reading the obituary of Moonlight Graham, the reader understands this.  Baseball and the love of it is not comprised of simply larger than life, mythical giants.  Rather, the backbone of the game are the "grinders," the players who are anonymous, remembered only in obituaries, but who loved the game with an almost unrequited love.  If one wanted to take a cynical spin on it, Shoeless Joe represents what can be in the game of baseball, while Moonlight Graham represents what is for there are always more of the latter than the former.