In W. P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe , we’re looking for evidence of the character J. D. Salinger helping Ray realize that the newly constructed baseball field can bring income to the family. We’ll find those quotes in chapter 2, “They Tore Down the Polo Grounds in 1964,” as Ray...
In W. P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe, we’re looking for evidence of the character J. D. Salinger helping Ray realize that the newly constructed baseball field can bring income to the family. We’ll find those quotes in chapter 2, “They Tore Down the Polo Grounds in 1964,” as Ray and Salinger (who is also referred to by his first name, Jerry, in the text) are at the baseball game together:
“You’re putting all this pressure on me, but how much sharing are you willing to do? Be honest. If you’ve got what you say you have out there in Iowa, then it shouldn’t be hidden. You’re making thousands of people unhappy. It’s like hoarding the secret of eternal life.”
Above, Salinger is indicating to Ray that if Ray really does have a baseball field built on his property in Iowa, he could bring that field to the public's attention and allow thousands of people to come enjoy it.
Salinger goes on to help Ray envision the field as a financial success—a burdensome success, one that would overrun and ruin Ray’s simple, happy lifestyle:
"You’ll be off doing the talk-show circuit, and interviews with Playboy and Cosmopolitan. And the Los Angeles Times will pay Jim Murray’s way to your stadium, and he’ll write a column about being there, and there will be two hundred thousand new people beating at the doors of travel agencies all across North America. You’ll be busy setting up trust funds, someone will ghost a book for you, and you’ll have to hire a bodyguard for your wife and child."
As you can see, although Salinger is suggesting to Ray that the field could be a way to earn money (and perhaps a lot of it), Salinger is not actually recommending that Ray do this. Salinger himself prefers to stay out of the spotlight, shunning fame and public attention; to him, these burdens are not at all worth the money they would confer.
And, despite Ray's increasingly stressful financial troubles, he is not at all captivated by the idea that the field could solve those troubles. In fact, the idea frightens him, and he squeaks out this response to Salinger:
“I’d never let things get out of hand like that.”