Ray Kinsella is the protagonist of W. P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe. Throughout the novel, the author shows the main character as restless and curious, as he wonders whether he and his family should continue to farm and possible future directions his life might take. His curiosity has an introspective aspect, as he also reflects on his relationship with his late father, Johnny. These inner thoughts are manifested through Johnny’s appearance and their playing baseball as well as talking.
Ray’s warm, kind, and compassionate nature is shown through his interactions with his wife, Annie, and their daughter, Karin. Beyond his family, this side of Ray comes out through his efforts to seek and help J. D. Salinger. The phrase “ease his pain” that constantly goes through his head compels him to find Salinger.
This compassion extends to the ghostly (or imagined) characters of his father and Shoeless Joe Jackson, and it is a key factor in his decision to build the ball field.
Once Ray makes that all-important choice, other sides of his personality are revealed. Ray’s idealism emerges in adopting an unlikely quest. While his tendency was to be relaxed and let problems resolve themselves, once Ray fixates on building the field, he becomes resolute and determined. This is shown by the long hours of hard work he puts in researching the best methods and then actually building the field.