What are some connections between the narratives offered in  Shoeless Joe and "The Legend of Bagger Vance."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that one particular connection between both narratives is the idea that sports can provide a transcendental realm for those who endure personal pain or questioning.  For Ray, building a baseball field and seeking out baseball are ways in which his own sense of purpose is established.  Ray understands what he must do and what has to be done only through baseball.  Through this, purpose and meaning become evident in his own life.  For Junnah, there is a similar sense of questioning.  In the wake of his service in World War I, Junnah struggles to understand his own purpose and his own sense of meaning.  This is something that is alleviated through Bagger's caddying for him and reminding him of the purpose of what he does.  In this, Junnah finds purpose and meaning in his "authentic swing" and his golf game, something that had become lost and separated from him in the course of his experience.  In both works, protagonists are shown to be lost or confused, and the realm of sports in both baseball and golf are what enables them to find purpose and meaning in a world that might be devoid of it.