Shoeless Joe Essay

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In the following essay, Garman looks at the mythic structure of Kinsella's Shoeless Joe.

The mythic vision of America and its national pastime which W. P. Kinsella constructed in Shoeless Joe ([1982] 1991) has extended into millions of American imaginations, both in the form of the novel and its film adaptation, Field of Dreams (1989). Kinsella built the myth, and people came to live it. Perhaps literary critic Neil Randall best articulates the popular response to Shoeless Joe when he calls it a "moral book" which "makes us come away in the end feeling 'pretty damn good about being alive for the rest of the day.'" But when we read beyond what Randall calls "fantasy and the humor of fellow-feeling," and explore the context of the novel's morality, an unsettling portrait of America emerges. In this essay, I will argue that Kinsella engenders a culturally conservative world, which reflects...

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This section contains 6,982 words
(approx. 18 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Shoeless Joe Study Guide
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Shoeless Joe from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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