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Literature Study GuidesThe NaturalBatter Up Part 10 Summary

The Natural | Study Guide

Bernard Malamud

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The Natural | Batter Up!, Part 10 | Summary



Sobbing, Roy buries Wonderboy at the stadium. He finds an envelope with his $35,000 and marches up to the judge's tower to return it. Memo and Gus are there, and Roy turns on them all. Roy punches Gus in the face, and Memo leaps out to defend him. Roy pushes her down and she exclaims that she hates him and has always hated him, ever since he killed Bump. Roy turns on the judge, knocking off his wig and dumping the money over his head. The judge pulls a gun, which Roy easily wrestles away. Memo grabs the gun and tries to shoot Roy. Overcome with grief, she puts the gun in her mouth, but again, Roy takes it away. Outside the tower a boy sells newspapers calling Roy a sellout. Roy reads the paper and weeps.


Although Roy has failed as a vegetative god and, within baseball, is doomed to remain a tragic hero, he has learned his lesson. While the novel does not mention a future with Iris or their son, Roy now desires to be a better man. He will not let evil win, at least not in his personal life. He finally embraces Iris's words that he must "give up" something to become a hero, and he has indeed given up everything: his career, his fame, and now, his money. Roy defeats the evil forces in his life, characterized as the judge, Gus, and Memo, by breaking into the crooked tower and literally beating them. To further highlight the transformation of Roy's character, the novel creates parallel scenes of shooting. During the altercation in the tower, Memo raises the gun and shoots, but unlike with Harriet Bird, the bullet does not hit Roy.

The novel provides a short and simple moral: pride goes before a fall. The plot builds to a test of Roy's character; when he fails, the story ends. Yet Malamud offers some hope. During Roy's date with Iris, she said, "We have two lives, Roy, the life we learn with and the life we live with after that. Suffering is what brings us toward happiness." If this is true, Roy's life of suffering has ended, freeing him to live a life of happiness, although it remains unclear where that happiness will come from. The novel's closing chapter does not mention Iris or the baby, which makes Roy's future somewhat ambiguous. He has thrown away $35,000 and lost his job, leaving unclear the path his life will take from here.

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