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. Terrence Mann, a famous author from the 1970's, was
provided to Ray as a friend to assist him on his journey.
Although, at first, Terrence and Ray did not seem to agree or
even get along, as time passed and they came to know each other
more thoroughly, they became extremely supportive companions. If
not for Mr. Mann, Ray might have given up this unique and rare
opportunity to resolve a conflict he would have otherwise been
burdened by for the rest of his life.

Ray Kinsella received guidance for his journey through a series
of messages sent to him. Although the origin of the messages
was never fully revealed, the messages played an extremely
important role in the events of the journey. If not for the
voice, Ray might never have been aware of