What could be a thesis statement to describe J.D. Salinger in Shoeless Joe?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One thesis statement in describing the characterization of Salinger is to discuss how he might serve as what Doc Graham would call "a magnet."  When Doc meets Ray in Minnesota, he asks Ray whether he is a "magnet?"  The concepts connects to how individuals are agents of change in bringing forces together, unifying that which is disparate. Salinger embodies this in his ability to unify baseball to the American consciousness.  Salinger also operates in a magnetic manner in how his bringing together individual choice and what they are meant to do.  Ray is meant to be reunited with his father, baseball is meant to reunite the disparate American consciousness, and Salinger himself is meant to write as he was meant to return to the game he loves.

A more direct way of analyzing Salinger in the novel is to focus on how he assists Ray in understanding the power of baseball.  Salinger is able to do this on personal levels and social levels.  His ability to enable Ray to see beyond even his own tendencies to dream and transform reality is essential in this process.  At the same time, Salinger is the force that enables Ray to understand how the field will become profitable and how individuals can find instant attraction in the powers of baseball.