What is significant about the meeting between Ray and Gypsy?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most significant things about the meeting between Gypsy and Ray is its embrace of mystery and the unexplainable in consciousness.  The story is predicated upon the belief in that which is unexplainable.  The construction of the ballfield, its acceptance, and resistance becomes an essential part of the narrative.  This is seen in the initial meeting between Ray and Gypsy.  When they meet for the first time, she expresses surprise that both men are twins.  Ray challenges this with the idea of how does she know they are different.  It could be that Ray is "Richard in a change of clothes."  Gypsy's response is significant:

The eyes.  The eyes.  Richard's are harder than yours:  His look like jade that might crack at any second.  Yours are warmer, wittier.  You've probably loved somebody very much.

There is something in "the eyes" where the answer lies.  It is not empirical, but it is as valid if it can be seen.  Sounding like the baseball field itself, such a sentiment underscores the introduction between Ray and Gypsy.  It represents the novel's assertion that some aspects of being in the world cannot be rationally explained.  There are aspects of the world that have to be taken on faith and love, defying the quantifiable and the world of "data driven."  It is this element of magic in the world that makes life worth living and makes consciousness more bearable in the novel.  This is illuminated in the first meeting between Ray and Gypsy and helps to make it significant.

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Shoeless Joe

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