Most life is losing a loved one.Most life is losing a loved one.

Most times, the greatest tragedy in someone’s life is losing
a loved one. The heartbreak of this event can be amplified if the last words
between the two are negative or there are somethings one wished to tell them
but had no chance to. “Shoeless Joe” by W.P Kinsella, stars the protagonist,
Ray Kinsella, who is trying desperately to reconnect with his dead father at
any means. Individuals who want to reconnect with their past loved ones are
willing to put their financial security at risk along with their sanity up for
question to do so.

Ray, while working on the pitcher’s mound, yells, “What about the catcher” …Joe smiles. “I
said we’d look at him, remember?” (Kinsella, 24). Ray makes it clear that
he wants his father to come back to play, and that is the driving force that
pushes him to finish the home plate. He follows what he is told without
questioning anything because of his need to see his father is too great, he
doesn’t seem to care if he appears normal or if his reputation of being a great
farmer is ruined.  He is willing to look
crazy, watching and talking to a deserted field both appearing crazy to the
large part of his community and his wife’s family. When Ray gives up his
reputation, and social perceptions, he has crossed a barrier he won’t be coming
back from. “I want you to come with me,”
I stutter and let me trench-coat-covered left hand peak above the car’s window
ledge…” are you kidnapping me?” (Kinsella, 60-61). This shows that the
process doing what the voice tells him to do he travels across the US to pursue
a man he has never met before, practically kidnap him and then take him to a
baseball game. He does this all-in hope that his father will finally come to
play baseball just as Shoeless Joe has. This is probably on of the most serious
and questionable things he does in the novel and it really goes to show how
much an individual is willing to go through to meet his loved ones once again.

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The lack of care that Ray Kinsella projects to the people
around him is great.  Especially when he decides
to purchase a tractor for a large sum of money although he can’t afford it and
he really doesn’t have the need for such equipment. Ray tells Eddie, “Eddie still carps about the $4000 I
spent on the tractor” (Kinsella, 195). This shows the risks that a person
is willing to take financially and other means.

Ray clearly was already on a shaky financial situation, but
made the decision anyways. You see that Ray his willing to give up his very
lively hood to reconnect with his father. Ray Kinsella does many things in the
attempt to reconnect with his father. Many of these things put an even larger
pressure on Ray’s shaky financial situation. While building the field he is
discussing the prices of things with himself saying “Home plate was 14. 95,bases cost 28.95 for a set of three.”(Kinsella
pg. 23) This quote shows that some of the many expenses he had during the
field construction. Spending money she should have been using on his family.
Furthermore, Ray is only one-person working on the field by himself. Dedicating
both his money and time he should’ve been focusing on farm and family while
jeopardizing his family’s financial security. All this behavior is in in the
hope that he accomplishes Shoeless Joe’s goals, so once the field is completed
Ray’s dad will be invited to play. Ray continually spends money throughout the
story including is travels to J.D Salinger which requires that he spends more
money on travelling costs, food and maybe sleep. He says, “I’m a little short for a meal, Mac can you help me out?” (Kinsella Pg.
53).  This shows that he has already
spent most of his money, and is willing to put himself in a uncomfortable
financial position just to reconnect with his dad. Another example of this is
when he reads books like “Ten ways to
beautify your baseball field for less than $100” (Kinsella pg. 42). When it
comes to his baseball field, Ray is willing to spend money over that over his
family. These are unnecessary risks, but as long as there’s hope of connecting
with his father at the end it is okay.


Sanity, it is what allows any person to think rationally and
normally. Ray Kinsella put himself in multiple scenarios where he had to
question his sanity, and even more, cause him to believe he is crazy.  In J.D Salinger’ situation, he thinks this is
true about Ray when he says, “I just
want to take you for a drive. I have tickets to a baseball game” (Kinsella, pg.
61). This is a very questionable statement and would make any person
question his sanity. Throughout the book, Ray does things, which are all based
off a voice in his head. The need to reconnect with his father drives Ray to
delirium and to do things that no sane person would do. Another instance where
this occurs is when Salinger and Ray pick up a hitchhiker named Archie, and Jerry
says, “Archie Graham, is it?”. This
is a key moment in the book where it shows the clear lack of sanity in both Ray
and Salinger, as they were picking up a person whom had died many years go.  Furthermore, Ray constantly hears the voice say
“If you build it, he will come”(pg. 6). He
has developed a deeper meaning for this quote than just referencing it to
Shoeless Joe Jackson as Ray believes it to be his father who will really

Ray’s words and actions state how much Ray really misses his
dead dad and is willing to both believe, and do anything to see him one last
time. He is willing to risk his reputation, financial situation, and to put his
sanity up for question just to have the opportunity to reconnect with his dead
father. This shows a scenario where losing someone close to you, leads to doing
the unimaginable just to see them again.