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Author Bernard Malamud
Type of Work Novel
Genre Sports novel; myth; tragedy
Time and place written 1950–1951; United States
Date of first publication 1952
Publisher Harcourt & Brace
Narrator An anonymous third person omniscient narrator
Point of View The narration always focuses on Roy Hobbs's perspective
Tone The tone of the novel is one of the traditional baseball yarn, so it is written in a rough New York vernacular language (for instance, Pop Fisher's head is described at various times as both a baldy and a bean)
Setting (time) 1950s
Setting (place) New York City
Protagonist(s) Roy Hobbs
Major Conflict Roy Hobbs, at the age of thirty-four, has achieved his dream of being a superstar baseball player, but his inability to control his appetites (for food, women, and wealth) threatens to undermine his performance and cost his team the pennant
Rising Action Roy's leadership of his team into a pennant race; Roy's infatuation with Memo Paris; Roy's liaison with Iris Lemon
Climax Roy's strikeout in his last professional at-bat
Falling Action Roy's beating of the Judge and Gus Sands; Roy's discovery that Max Mercy has ruined him
Themes Mythology; the tragic flaw; the lack of modern heroes
Motifs Vegetation; birds; water
Symbols Wonderboy; the train; the playing field
Foreshadowing There is much foreshadowing in The Natural, the most obvious of which is perhaps the young Roy's striking out of the Whammer—an event that repeats itself at the end of the novel, when Youngberry strikes out Roy