Skip over navigation

The Natural

Bernard Malamud

Batter Up! Part V

Batter Up! Part IV

Batter Up! Part V, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

The Knights do very well at the next game. Roy attempts to follow up on his date with Memo, but she refuses him, telling him she is going out with Gus Sands that night instead. Roy is annoyed, and though he is beginning to think he would be better off without Memo, she is more and more on his mind.

In the game the next day, Roy does not have a single hit. He goes hitless the next game as well, and people begin to talk of a slump. Roy ignores this talk, however, instead checking the newspapers for reports of a boy being hit by a car, as he is convinced that Memo struck a child on their date. But Roy continues to strike out, and the pitchers begin to feel confident pitching against him.

Roy begins to miss the sensation of making a good hit, but even more, he misses the gloating when they add a new tally to his record. Roy does not know what is causing the slump; he stops reading and going to movies in an attempt to protect his eyes, and he overanalyzes his batting posture until he is completely unsure of himself. He cannot decide whether to ask for help or to try and wait out the slump.

Roy asks Red Blow about it, and Red thinks that something is worrying Roy. Roy just has to figure out what it is. Pop's advice is to stop going after bad balls, but Roy does not think that is the problem. Pop is worried too, and his hands are beginning to break out again. Pop recommends that Roy try bunting, but Roy thinks he looks foolish bunting, so he stops. Pop suggests that Roy stop batting with Wonderboy, but Roy resists this suggestion.

Memo tells Roy that Bump Baily used to ease his nerves when in a slump by visiting a fortuneteller named Lola. Roy goes and visits Lola, but all she can tell him is that he will soon meet and fall in love with a dark-haired lady. She can tell him nothing else; his future his closed to her. After the meeting, Roy tries many superstitious behaviors, though he had never been particularly superstitious before.

Roy's superstition begins to affect the knights, who go back to their own superstitions while their talent continues to unravel. The entire team's performance sags along with Roy's, and the fans quickly begin to blame Roy, claiming that he jinxed himself on Roy's Day by promising to be "the greatest ever in the game." Sportswriters begin to claim that Roy has been playing on borrowed time all along. Finally, a furious Pop tells Roy that he will sit on the bench until he uses a bat other than Wonderboy.

More Help

Previous Next

Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!

Follow Us