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A Classic Hero

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Field of Dreams: Ray Kinsella a Classical Hero?

Was Ray Kinsella a triumphant hero who dared to live his dreams, or merely

an insane lunatic who blindly followed voices that could only be heard

within the confines of his mind? Although either of these theories could

be argued successfully, the idea that this intrepid man was indeed a hero

is supported by a list of characteristics that generally indicate a

classical hero.

In the movie, Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella was introduced to the viewers

as an ordinary man, living an ordinary life, in an ordinary town.

Conversely, he was given the extraordinary supernatural ability to revive a

number of celebrities from both the world of baseball and literature who

had been dead for many years. Kinsella related to common people, but

possessed powers that are not only uncommon, but ultimately inhuman.

Although not a fool, Ray Kinsella was also not invincible. For example, he

was forced to deal with defeat and hopelessness throughout his travels.

Once, he misunderstood a message given to him and journeyed to a place that

he was not called to go to. But, being the bright and resourceful person he

was, he was not discouraged and continued to persevere.

Ray Kinsella was called upon by forces left unknown to the viewers and

himself to go on both a physical journey as well as a journey of the heart.

After hearing voices proclaiming, "If you build it, they will come," Ray

risked the economic and emotional stability of the family he loved dearly

to build a baseball field. At first, Ray Kinsella was highly skeptical,

but eventually he realized the significance of his obscure calling. Upon

the completion of the baseball field, "Shoeless Joe Jackson", the baseball

player who had been his father's hero before he passed away, suddenly

appeared in the field to talk with Ray and to play baseball. As the plot

progressed, Ray continued to receive messages. After each new message, Ray

was called upon to further his journey. This journey involved traveling to

various cities around the United States, as well as facing issues within

himself that he has successfully hidden from for years.

The reason for his journey, and the path to follow were never clearly

manifested to Ray Kinsella. Blind faith and perhaps a bit mythically

guided of insanity were all that drove him to continue on his journey.

Throughout his journey, Ray never once knew where the next piece to the

puzzle was located. Only at the end of his journey was it at last made

clear to him the purpose for his quest. Years ago, when Ray was an

adolescent, he had a falling out with his father that he never resolved.

After the death of his father, John Kinsella, Ray was overcome with a sense

of guilt and emptiness due to the fact that the horrible conflict with his

father would never be resolved. Completing his journey allowed him to make

amends with his deceased father and alleviate himself of the eternal burden

of never forgiving his father or being forgiven himself for the painful

words they had exchanged. During his journey, Ray faced danger and

loneliness as well as temptation. Ray plowed down his corn field, his only

source of income, to build the baseball field and placed himself and his

family in danger of losing his house and land. This also placed his

relationship with his beloved wife and daughter in jeopardy. Loneliness

seemed to follow Ray wherever he traveled. He continuously felt that no

one, including himself, knew what he was doing or where he was headed. At

one point in the story Ray Kinsella was tempted to give up his quest and go

back home to Iowa to re-establish economic as well as emotional security.

Tenacity prevailed, though, and he was able to conquer these obstacles.




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