Shoeless Joe

Shoeless Joe is a beautifully written novel that will expose students to the richness and diversity of the English language. Students will be expected to explore theme by looking at various aspects of the novel such as point of view, the use of figurative language, character, plot development and other rhetorical devices. This page will be useful to teachers and students alike. Be sure the check out the step by step writing of a 5 paragraph essay on the character of Ray.

Shoeless Joe is about baseball. But it's also about love and the power of dreams to make people come alive. Will you be among the Iowa dreamers who can see a cornfield stadium filled with baseball's greatest heroes? (The Boston Globe)

OUTLINE INDEX

Rationale | Objectives | Lesson Outline | Reading Guide | Jigsaw Group Work | Character Analysis of Ray Kinsella

 




ENG2A Novel Unit



Rationale:



Shoeless Joe is a beautifully written novel that will expose students to the richness and diversity of the English language. Students will be expected to explore theme by looking at various aspects of the novel such as point of view, the use of figurative language, character, plot development and other rhetorical devices.

Students will also be encouraged to copy Kinsella's style by completing various modelling exercises. Students will be encouraged to look for and copy some of the more complex sentence patterns and also to experiment with figurative language similar to that seen in the novel. (This can provide an excellent review of the show paragraph taken earlier in the year.)

Objectives:



The student will be able to:

-recognize the value of "good" literature;

-understand point of view and its effect on the narrative;

-identify symbols, imagery, figurative language, narrative structure, and show how all of these elements create meaning in the novel;

-express both orally and written personal responses to the ideas and concepts presented in the novel;

-model sentence structures from the novel;

-use figurative language more effectively;

-work effectively in small groups and independently to study various aspects of the novel.

Lesson Outlines:



1. Students will be assigned the novel for independent reading. They are to write a one to two page journal entry for each of the sections of the novel. They will also have a language journal where they are to write out interesting sentence structures and images from the novel.

2. Students will then watch the movie Field of Dreams.

3. Students will be given a number of quotations dealing with various aspects of the novel. They will study these quotations in small groups followed by whole class discussion. The main aim is to have the students discover the themes and meaning of this novel with very little direction from the teacher.

1. Discuss the appropriateness of the quote by Robert Kennedy as an epigram for the beginning of Shoeless Joe.

2. Baseball becomes a metaphor for religion, a symbol of the need to hold onto something, anything, in a faithless age. Assess the validity of this statement.

3. Ray's baseball field becomes a place for a second chance: a sanctuary for healing past hurts, restoring lost dreams, and providing new opportunities. What message is Kinsella trying to get across to his reader.

4. Regret springs from the unlived life, the missed opportunities dead and gone forever. The novel portrays the fundamental need to reaffirm the love that was not expressed or shared at the time of first opportunity. Find evidence to support or contradict the above statement.

5. Shoeless Joe is about baseball and dreams and the will to believe,about love and wonder and the power of imagination to transcend reason, time, and yes, even death." Explain how Shoeless Joe is about any two of these.

6. Shoeless Joe is more about dreaming than about baseball. Or perhaps more about courage than either dreams or baseball. What is your view?

7. Shoeless Joe is, I feel, a story about the power of love and the power of dreams; it's about the ability to chase a dream and make it come true. Find evidence in the novel to support or to challenge this statement.

8. In your opinion, why did W. P. Kinsella write this novel?

9. Shoeless Joe is also about dreams as a way of escaping from the downward pull of everyday reality. Show how the novel reveals "the downward pull of reality" in the lives of several characters.

10. There are those who dream and pursue it, those who dream and suppress it and those who don't dream at all. How does this statement relate to the novel Shoeless Joe.

11. Kinsella also uses baseball to reveal the eternal verities; men and women need to dream, to find things to cherish, to fall in love and share their desires, and finally to remind us that, in one way or another, we all die too soon. Does the writer's use of a baseball setting seem appropriate for revealing these "eternal verities"?

12. Find 15 examples of figurative language in Shoeless Joe.

13. Which title do you prefer: Shoeless Joe or Field of Dreams?



Reading Guide for Shoeless Joe





This reading guide is designed to help you with your reading of the novel Shoeless Joe. Try to answer all of the questions and complete all of the exercises in the reading guide. If you encounter difficulties reading the novel, be sure to see me for help at noon hour. By completing this guide you will be prepared to discuss various aspects of the novel when we begin our in class study.

Chapter 1 "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa"

1. Write a brief summary of this chapter.

2. Make a character chart. Begin listing the characteristics of the characters you encounter in Chapter 1.

3. Make note of any unusual or effective uses of language. (vocabulary, sentence structure, imagery, similes, metaphors)

4. Make note of any religious references in Chapter I.

5. Explain what the author means by, "Shoeless Joe became a symbol of the tyranny of the powerful over the powerless."

6. What did Ray do before becoming a farmer? (Make note of this for discussion purposes.)

7. Do you notice anything different about verb tense in this first chapter? If so explain.

8. Make note of any references to dreams or magic. (Make note of this for future discussion.)

9. Ray says, "I wish someone else understood. Perhaps my daughter will...There is a magic about her." Why do you think his daughter might understand?

10. What elements of an effective introduction are found in this first chapter? Explain

11. Describe the relationship of Ray, Annie, and Karin.





Chapter 2 "They Tore Down the Polo Grounds in 1964"

1. Summarize the chapter.

2. Continue your character chart. Be sure to note any new characters introduced in this chapter.

3. Make note of any religious references.

4. Make note of any unusual or effective language. (vocabulary, sentence structure, imagery, similes, metaphors etc.)

5. Make note of any references to dreams or magic.

6. What happens each time Ray finishes a new section of the field?

7. What is the significance of Karin announcing to her father, " Daddy, the baseball man's outside."

8. Where does the first tense shift occur? Why does the author do this? Make note of the major tense shifts.

9. When Ray is describing Annie's family he makes several references to religion. What tone is Ray using to describe the family. What do you think is the author's intent?

10. What message does Ray hear from the announcer?

11. Annie says to Ray, "Ray, it's so perfect here. Do whatever you have to, to keep it that way." What is the significance of this quotation?

12. What are we told about J.D. Salinger?

13. What is the name of Ray's twin brother?

14. What do we learn about Mark in this chapter. The description is less than flattering. What does the author seem to be making fun of in this chapter?

15. Summarize Ray's meeting with Salinger? Why do you think Salinger accepts to go along?

16. What is the basic conflict between the ideas of Ray and Mark?

17. What is ironical about Mark's statement, "Sure, you're going to discover diamonds in your cornfield."

18. Ray says to Jerry on at least two occasions, "Open up your senses Jerry." What does Ray mean by this? Why is this important?

19. What is the third message that Ray gets?

20. How is the suspense heightened at the end of the chapter?



Chapter 3: The Life and Time of Moonlight Graham

1. Summarize the chapter.

2. At the beginning of the chapter where are Ray and Salinger going?

3. What is the fourth message that is heard by Salinger?

4. How does the mention of Catcher in the Rye fit in with the overall theme of the novel?

5. Make note of any religious imagery in this chapter.

6. Make note of any of figurative language and effective sentence structures in this chapter.

7. Make note of any references to dreams or magic.

8. What do they find out about Doc Graham?

9. What is the significance of Doc's question, "Are you a magnet, Ray Kinsella?"

10. How did Doc Graham get his nickname?

11. What happens at the end of the chapter to build suspense?

12. Continue your character chart.



Chapter 4:

1. Summarize the chapter.

2. What importance reference to dreams is made early in the chapter? How does this contribute to the overall theme of the novel?

3. Briefly describe what happens at the empty baseball stadium.

What atmosphere is created in this part of the chapter?

4. Make note of the religious references in this chapter.

5. Make note of any references to magic in this chapter.

6. What new characters are we introduced to in this chapter?

7. Why do you think they cannot see the players when they first arrive at Ray's farm?

8. What is significant about the fact that once again it is Karin who announces the arrival of the players?

9. What is significant about the meeting between Ray and Gypsy?

10. Why do you think Richard cannot see the field?

11. What is significant about the following quotation: " For it's money they have and peace they lack"





Chapter 5

1. What do we find out about Salinger?

2. What happens to Salinger?

3. What is the perfect dream?



Jigsaw Work Group



We will form six groups of five students each. Your first group will be your home group. Every body in the home group will be assigned a topic. All five of the topics must be covered by your group. Once the topics are chosen, all those with the same topic will form expert groups and will work together to prepare a presentation for their home group.

Topics:

1. Figurative Language in the novel: This group will explore Kinsella's extensive use of figurative language in the novel. The group will focus mainly on Kinsella's use of simile and metaphor. The purpose of the group work is to determine how the author's use of simile and metaphor help to develop the theme of the novel.

2. Character Study 1: This group will examine the following characters: Ray, and Annie. The group will develop a character sketch of each of the characters and will discuss the importance of the character to the development the novel. It has been said that Ray is the only truly developed character. Students will explore the validity of this statement.

3. Character Study 2: This group will examine the following characters: Mark, Karin, Eddie, and Doc Graham. The group will develop a character sketch of each of the characters and will discuss the importance of the character to the development the novel. It has been said that Ray is the only truly developed character. Students will explore the validity of this statement.

4. Motif in the Novel: The group will trace the development of the following motifs in the novel: religion, magic, and dreams. Students will look at how the development of these motifs contribute to the overall meaning of the novel.

5. Setting, Point of View, and Symbolism: This group will looking at the various settings in the novel and show how these settings contribute to the overall theme of the novel. Students will also look at the effect of first person narration. In addition to this students will also look at symbolism in the novel.

Writing the Five Paragraph Character Analysis




The following outline will walk you through the process of writing a five paragraph character analysis.

Assignment: You have been asked to write a five paragraph character analysis of Ray Kinsella in the novel Shoeless Joe.

Pre-Writing:

Before beginning to write your draft you need to take some time to jot down some ideas about the character of Ray. Usually when we are asked to do a character analysis we look at what the character does, at what the character says, and at what is said about the character. Begin your pre-writing by writing down the things that Ray does. For example:

Ray:

-builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield

-he does what the "voice" tells him to do

-he travels across the country to meet J.D. Salinger

-he argues with Mark about the farm

-he leaves his job to take up farming etc.

Next look at what Ray says in the novel. Since this novel uses first person narration, it is very important to look at what Ray says. What he says will give you some idea about his character. Once you have done this look at what others say about him.

Once you have outlined the above, look for words that you think best describe Ray. (Hint: Be specific. Avoid saying things like, "Ray is nice". This is not specific. Try using a thesaurus to help you find words that best express what Ray is like.

Most of you have said some of the following things about Ray:

-Ray is a dreamer.

-Ray has childlike innocence.

-Ray follows his dreams.

-Ray is determined.

-Ray follows his dreams.

-Ray is an idealist.

-Ray is a loving person.

-Ray believes in pursuing his dream.

Developing the Thesis Statement:

Now what you need to do is to begin formulating your thesis. Remember a thesis must contain a limited subject, an opinion and should contain a blueprint or directional statement. The thesis statement does not have to be one sentence. The blueprint or directional statement can be in a separate sentence.

At this point you should have a list of what Ray does, says and what is said about him. You also have made a list of statements about Ray's character. You will use this to formulate your thesis statement and to provide you with support.

Thesis: In the novel Shoeless Joe, Ray Kinsella is an idealist who believes in the power of dreams and the ability to chase a dream and make it come true.

Once you have a thesis, the next thing is to begin developing your support. (Oops! I forgot the blueprint.) Actually, sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at how you are going to support your thesis before you actually develop your blueprint.

What you have to do at this point is ask yourself the following questions: What is there in the novel to support my thesis statement? What is there in the novel that shows that Ray is an idealist? What is there in the novel that shows that Ray believes in the power of dreams? What is there in the novel that shows that Ray believes in the ability to chase a dream and make it come true?

Once you have answered these questions you will have an outline for your middle paragraph support as well as blueprint for your thesis statement.

Thesis: In the novel Shoeless Joe, Ray Kinsella is an idealist who believes in the power of dreams and the ability to chase a dream and make it come true. Blueprint: Ray's idealistic nature can be seen when he plows under his field to build his baseball field ; when he travel across the country to meet J.D. Salinger and finally in the last chapter when he meets his father.

You might be asking, "Where did your blueprint come from"?

I chose three places in the novel that I felt would prove that Ray is an idealist.

1. When Ray plows under his field, this shows that he believes in the power of dreams. Someone who did not would not follow what his heart told him to do.

2. Someone who did not believe in dreams would not drive across the country to meet someone he/she did not know.

3. His love for his father and his need to heal past hurts is so great that it makes his dream come true. He does get to meet his father at the end of the novel.



You now have a thesis statement and a blueprint and a basic outline for your three middle paragraphs

At this point you want to begin working on the middle paragraphs. Begin by developing the topic sentence for each of the paragraphs. Remember that these topic sentences should have a transition and a reminder of the thesis.

Topic Sentence 1: At the beginning of the novel, Ray's belief in the power of dreams of the novel gives him the courage to plow under his cornfield and build a left field for Shoeless Joe Jackson, a baseball player who had been dead for years.

Topic Sentence 2: Later in the novel when Ray hears the voice say, "Ease his pain", Ray idealistic nature sends him off in search of J.D. Salinger.

Topic Sentence 3: Finally, it is Ray's idealistic nature and his belief in the ability to chase a dream and make it come true that allows him to be reunited with his father at the end of the novel.

The next step is to fill in the support for each of the middle paragraph. Try to include at least two or three items of support for each of the middle paragraphs.

Once this is finished you are ready to write your reworded thesis statement for you concluding paragraph.

Reworded Thesis Statement: Ray's idealism and his belief in the power of dreams does in fact allow Ray to chase a dream and make it come true.

Yes! Yes! Yes! We are almost finished. You are almost ready to write your first draft. THAT'S RIGHT! YOUR FIRST DRAFT. Most of what you have done so far is pre-writing. You have been thinking and writing down your thoughts. Now you are almost ready to put it all down in draft form.

The last thing you have to do is write your motivator and your clincher.

The motivator comes at the beginning of your introduction. Basically, you want to introduce your reader to your topic. Sometimes you can simply give a brief summary of the novel that leads into your topic. We will look at some motivating techniques in class.

The clincher comes at the very end of your essay. Here you sum up and try to leave your ready with something to think about. One technique that is sometimes overused is to end the essay with a question. If you do this make sure that it fits.

There you have it. I hope that this will be helpful. Good luck.