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Americas Pastime

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Americas Pastime

Composition I, 9:00 MWF

Compare and Contrast Essay

Professor Taylor

Americas Pastime

A true American game and past time that has been part of our lives from the beginning. It has stood the test of time simply because of it’s purity and infinite list of players that have fostered the game into what it is today. Yet a single blemish remains that took place in 1919 when the World Series was thrown by eight players including Shoeless Joe Jackson. Shoeless Joe Jackson last played major league baseball in 1920 and was suspended for life, along with seven of his compatriots, by Commissioner Mountain Landis, for his part in throwing the 1919 World Series. Many of Shoeless Joe’s greatest fans including Ray Kinsella were deeply saddened to hear the news that their hero would no longer be playing baseball. The name Kenesaw Mountain Landis became synonymous with the devil. In the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella and the movie Field of Dreams by Phil Alden Robinson differ in terms of relationships, characters, and are similar in plot, and both have magical content. In each of the works the relationships between the characters are contrasted.

In the novel, Annie was very supportive of her hard working husband Ray who ran their farm. When Ray told Annie that he had heard voices in the field she was interested in what he had heard. The words Ray heard were, “If you build it he will come.” He could not believe what he was hearing. At first he thought he was dreaming. Ray knew the voice meant something about a baseball field. When he informed Annie about his dream she gave him her blessings and encouraged Ray one hundred percent. In the movie however Annie’s perception of her husbands aspirations differed greatly. When Ray suggested the idea to Annie, she thought he was crazy and out of his mind. They had worked so hard to establish their farm, and she did not want to give it up for such a risk. In the movie Annie portrayed some of the characteristics that her brother Mark had shown in the novel.

The relationship between Ray and the voice also differ between the two works. In the novel Ray was instantly able to interpret what the voice was telling him. In the movie however Ray had a difficult time at first in finding out the intentions of the voice. These relationships were changed from the novel to the movie. There are many characters in the novel that have been deleted or altered. In the novel J.D. Salinger played a prominent role in Ray’s journey. The producer was unable to get permission from J.D. Salinger to use his name in the film. Instead the film makers created a fictional character Terrance Mann, an African American who allowed the movie to appeal to a broader range of ethnic groups. The novel also had two very important characters, Richard Kinsella who was Ray’s twin brother and Eddie Scissions who had previously owned their farm. These characters were completely deleted in the movie Field of Dreams.

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