A Classic Hero Essay, Research Paper
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
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 this
opportunity to settle the distressing differences between his father and
The darkness that Ray descended into was one of confusion as well as
hopelessness. During the journey, Ray watched his marriage begin to fall
to pieces and his economic stability diminish. He became increasingly
uneasy about the purpose for the journey and considered abandoning the
quest to return home and resume the life he had left behind. As he
witnessed the reaction of others to his calling, he was challenged, as many
people throughout history have been, with following his deepest intuition,
or conforming to the standards of others. After the purpose of his quest
was revealed to him, Ray’s hope was restored and he was instilled with a
new sense of faith and wisdom about life. His dissension into and
ascension from darkness were key events in his journey that changed the way
he looked at both himself and life in general.
What Ray Kinsella was looking for was the reason for the messages being
sent to him, but while he continued to seek for the meaning of the messages
he found peace within himself. In the beginning, Ray was not consciously
aware that the reason for his quest was to find a means by which he could
make amends with his father. In the end though, simply by searching for
what the mysterious messages meant, he was able to reconcile with his
father and come to peace with himself.
Though Ray Kinsella fit the general characteristics that describe a
classical hero, he also demonstrated heroism in many other ways. He was
honest, noble, caring, compassionate, and humble. It is important not only
to judge heroism by a generic list of characteristics, but also to examine
the character and intentions of an individual as well.