The Natural | Study Guide

Bernard Malamud

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Bernard Malamud's The Natural. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

the-natural-bernard-malamud_TEST3Roy, Chapter 5 will do my best—the best I am able—to be the greatest there ever was in the game.Sources: Contemporary Novelistsby Alan Lupak and Barbara Tepa Lupak from King Arthur in America, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Georgetown University, IMDb,, Society for American BaseballCopyright © 2017 Course Hero, Inc.Bribes Roy to throw the final game and lose the pennantStar of the Knights before Roy Hobbs showed upUnhappy woman; rejects Roys affectionMain CharactersCoach of the New York Knights; health is tied into his teams successGrandmother at 33; offers life-affirming loveNaturally talented baseball player; seeks fame and wealthCaliber of the gun used to shoot Cubs player Eddie Waitkus, whose story likely influenced The Natural.22Years Pop has been desperately trying to win a pennant in The Natural25Hobbss age when he makes his baseball comeback34Oscar nominations for the 1984 film adaptation of The Natural, starring Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, and Kim Basinger4The Naturalby the NumbersBorn into a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Malamud infused his writing with allegory, symbolism, and references to the Jewish struggle. In his years of writing short stories and novels, one of which won a Pulitzer, Malamud created characters like Roy Hobbs, whose actions are realistically complicated.BERNARD MALAMUD1914–86 AuthorSymbolsWonderboyRepresents Hobbss masculinity and his allegorical swordFoodSymbolizes Hobbss obsession with and unyielding quest for fameThemesHobbs struggles to be a hero, not realizing his desire for success and women is destroying him.All of the characters are driven by a deep desire to obtain something—fame, wealth, or victory.Women in the novel are presented as either saviors or destroyers, with the ability to bring happiness or misery.Tragic FlawAmbitionPower of WomenSet in 1950s New York, The Natural tells the story of Roy Hobbs, a country bumpkin turned baseball star. Although Hobbs has an insatiable desire to break every baseball record and finally win a baseball pennant for his coach, he is distracted by other desiresfood, women, and fame—that challenge his morality and legacy.An Allegory of AmbitionOVERVIEWRoy Hobbs strikes out the Whammer and accidentally kills Sam Simpson.1Harriet Bird shoots Roy.2Roy joins Pop Fishers New York Knights with a paltry salary.3Bump Baily dies from a sports-related accident.5Roy develops an obsessive crush on Memo Paris.4Roy leads the Knights to victory after victory.6Fans shower Roy with gifts.7Distracted by Memo, Roys performance falters.8Roy meets Iris Lemon and is reinvigorated.9Judge Banner bribes Roy to throw the final game.10Roy decides to play his best and win the pennant but ultimately fails.11Bernard Malamud1952EnglishNovel AuthorYear PublishedOriginal LanguageThe NaturalDrama

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