In Shoeless Joe, what values does the author present?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shoeless Joe is a 1982 novel by W.P. Kinsella, best known for its film adaptation Field of Dreams.

The protagonist, Ray Kinsella, is a man driven by his past and his dreams. He is visited by a ghost and compelled to build a baseball field on his land so all the forgotten great players can achieve their own failed dreams through his efforts. Although his dream is rejected by others, he does not let this rejection dissuade him, and so he practices the value of persistence.

Ray is also loving towards his family, even though they are skeptical of his ambitions. His twin brother is estranged, but the magic of the baseball field lets them reconcile, and it also allows Ray to reconnect with his long-dead father. Ray's wife also supports him faithfully, and while his brother-in-law tries to buy the land and shut him down, he is doing it for good reasons; he thinks Ray is going to ruin himself and his family and is trying to help, albeit ineffectively. Ray's love for his family is echoed by his love for the baseball greats, who he sees as having had a raw deal; this love is altruistic and selfless, allowing Ray to push through criticism and obstacles with optimism.