Study Guide

The Art of Fielding Jealousy

By Chad Harbach


What's the leading cause of steroid use in sports, besides being a baseball player or an Olympic figure skater? It's being a jealous baseball player. At least that was Barry Bonds's excuse for why he started using steroids in 2008. There may not be doping or juicing (or whatever the rippling-with-muscles, top-heavy figure skaters are calling it these days) in The Art of Fielding, but the motivation is still there. In this book, we're left with pure, unadulterated jealousy.

Questions About Jealousy

  1. Why is Mike jealous of Henry's success? What does he do about it? How does this jealousy influence his actions?
  2. Is Guert Affenlight jealous about anything in his relationship with Owen? Owen's youth, perhaps? We never get Owen's perspective; could he be jealous about something, too?
  3. The Harpooners are a terrible baseball team. Do they ever seem jealous of other teams' successes?

Chew on This

Many times jealousy is seen as a feminine emotion—like women being jealous of other women's looks or clothes—but in The Art of Fielding, Pella, the sole female character, feels much less jealousy than the men in the book do, especially her soon-to-be ex-husband.

Mike should be proud of Henry, but his own ideas of masculinity and being the best mean that he feels inferior when Henry surpasses him. The student has become the master.