Roy's negotiation with the Judge is all the more infuriating because Roy clearly has a hint of what is going on. He shrewdly balances the benefits of selling out against the odds of doing well at the game and making it through one more season. Sadly, Roy never considers playing the game simply for the sake of winning the pennant, or for Pop Fisher, or even simply for a love of baseball. Indeed, Roy even gets angry with Pop because Pop reprimands Memo. Roy only considers his decision in terms of which option would bring him more money, and therefore win him Memo (he thinks). Memo is Roy's one true blind spot. His desire for is so unbelievably single-minded that it can be considered Roy's tragic flaw. Many of Roy's self-centered desires—wealth and, to a lesser degree, fame—fall by the wayside as he goes through the novel, but his desperate need for Memo (rather than the loving, caring Iris) remains long enough to bring him down.

The final sections and outcome of The Natural are almost maddeningly enigmatic. It is up for debate whether Malamud, after modeling his story on vegetative myths and the story of the Fisher King, abandons these underpinnings (and his characters) in the end. It might even be said that the two myths are in opposition to one another: Roy completely fails in obtaining the Holy Grail (the pennant) for Pop Fisher (the Fisher King), but he comes very close to achieving it—he is stopped only by the pitcher Youngberry, the next vegetative god, who puts Roy away just as Roy put away the Whammer fifteen years before. Finally, it is worth noting that the story of Perceval—upon which Malamud partially models his novel—written in the twelfth century by a French noble named Chrétien de Troyes, was unfinished. Chrétien modeled his own version of the story on earlier Celtic stories, and so scholars are confident in predicting that Perceval, after failing one time, eventually achieves the Grail—the outcome that occurs in earlier versions of the story. However, there is no reason to assume that Chrétien's finished version would necessarily follow the same pattern as the earlier texts. Indeed, in writing The Natural, Malamud writes his own ending to Chrétien's story. Malamud's is a somewhat pessimistic ending, suggesting that real heroes can only exist in fairy tales. However, as Roy does learn from his suffering, there is also some hope for everyone who is not a "natural."