How can we relate the novel to the dynamic of collectivism and individualism?

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

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I think that the idea of collectivism and individualism is shown to be an everchanging dynamic.  One does not live in either realm as Kinsella's work shows.  It is everchanging.  Shoeless Joe is a part of a collective identity as a member of the White Sox.  His act of throwing the World Series is an act of individualism, consigning him to the realm of the individualistic.  Yet, when the baseball field is built, it is a moment where collectivity is embraced.  Salinger's character is much the same, having retreated to the realm of the individual, only to be found and then move to the realm of the collective.  Ray's building of the baseball field and listening to voice that he alone can hear are examples of him living in the realm of the individualistic, but one that leads to a collective vision, shared by others.  The novel uses the love of baseball as a love that exists on individual levels, spheres whereby an individual has memories and personal attachments that emanate from the domain of the subjective.  However, the novel also shows how individuals share these passions in common, making something subjective and personal universal and creating a collective identity that human beings are forced to embrace.  In this, Kinsella's work is something that shows the dynamic of individualism and collectivism as fluid.

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