Study Questions for the Final Three Chapters of Coover's Universal Baseball Association

Here are a few issues to consider for our discussion of the end of Coover's novel:

  1. How do the descxription of Hettie and her interaction with Henry in the opening of chapter 6 affect your views on her? Does she become a sympathetic character?
  2. How would you describe the interaction between Lou and Henry once Lou attempts to particiapte in a UBA game? In what ways does Henry's encounter with Lou become a turning point in the novel? How does Lou subvert Henry's growing desire to control the outcomes of UBA games?
  3. At the end of chapter 6, Henry actively manipulates the dice to affect the outcome of a game, removing chance. Then in the beginning of chapter 7, he further manipulates the season to punish the Knickerbockers and elevate the Pioneers. What impact do these actions have on his relation to the UBA?
  4. As he considers ways to reclaim the UBA, Henry [as Barney Bancroft] realizes that "perfection wasn't athing, a closed moment, a static fact, but process" (212). How does this moment recall his conversation with the florist in chapter 3 (80)?
  5. Ultimately, after arriving at a history of the league written by Barney Bancroft as a means of reviving interest, Henry moves to the idea of guildsmen replacing the individualist paradigm of Fenn McCaffree, which leads him to the idea of "participation in...significant time" (217). Is this revelation in any way ironically reminiscent of Zifferblatt's advice to Henry when he decides not to fire him in chapter 4 (138-39)? Does the idea of "significant time" prepare us for the events of the final chapter?
  6. Where does chapter 8 take place? Where is Henry in chapter 8? Who is the Chancellor, and what do the players see when they look up at the sun?
  7. How do the Parable of the Duel, the message that "the game is fixed" (226), the debates between Caseyites and Damonites, and the multiple references to history, myth, and truth affect your understanding of what this novel is really about? Consider Raspberry Schultz's comments on ontology, etiology, and Homo Ludens (233).