In the book Shoeless Joe, could the ballpark symbolize redemption?

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W.P. Kinsella's 1982 novel, Shoeless Joe, belongs to the genre of magical realism, and so is rife with symbols. The protagonist, Ray Kinsella, hears a disembodied voice says (vaguely) that if he "build[s] it...he will come." He then sacrifices his corn field to convert the land into a baseball stadium, against the suggestions of some of his friends and family.

Baseball has been seen as a metaphor within the novel for religion. The baseball field can absolutely be seen as a sort of redemption. It is likened to a church explicitly, when Kinsella, traveling with JD Salinger and Archie Graham, states that "a baseball field at night is more like a church than a church, "(Ch. 4).

The baseball field as a symbol for redemption works on several levels. First the field is literally where the souls of the dead meet the living, Next, Ray achieves this redemption when he builds the field himself (exhibiting the Catholic doctrine of salvation prompting good works, or the Protestant one of good works providing salvation).

Overall, the novel as a whole is imbued with religious language and symbolism (e.g. Kinsella's daughter is would-be martyr when she nearly chokes on a hot-dog during her father's fight).

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