When Ray first meets Dr.Graham, he finds him walking down the street at night. What do you think is happening? What sort of magic has just happened? Why it is important that you meet the older Dr.Graham first?
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Ray's experience with meeting the older Doctor Graham builds the magical element that had been present throughout the novel. It is magical because it reconfigures time. When Ray meets Doc Graham, he is meeting and talking with someone who is dead. Ray has essentially broken the time- space continuum in meeting Moonlight Graham, and he has done so because of baseball. The magic of the game allows individuals of different backgrounds, different times, different narratives to share something in common. Graham's dream of baseball and Ray's love of it is what allows the connection between them to be forged, and when Ray meets Graham, this is the first time he realizes the power of the magic being experienced and does not question it. When voices were heard, Ray wondered what they meant. Seeing Graham, there was little wondering about what needs to be done next as he knew that he was supposed to "follow this thing through." In meeting the older Graham first, Ray understands a different component of pain being presented and also comprehends why he and his field are so important. While Ray might not have been able to help Graham fulfill his dream at the time he saw it as appropriate, he begins to understand and see his field as a way of being able to help others fulfill their dream, their visions and their hopes. Ray does not fully embrace this at the moment of meeting Graham, but the magical element to this encounter allows Ray to have the groundwork that develops this sense awareness. When they pick up the younger Graham, both Sallinger and Ray don't question it. They understand their purpose.
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