Symbolism in "The Natural"

Topics: Bernard Malamud, Baseball, The Natural Pages: 2 (739 words) Published: December 5, 2010
Symbolism in the Natural

The novel The Natural by Bernard Malamud is an excellent peace of sports literature. It follows the story of Roy Hobbs as he is reaching old age in the game of baseball. The plot follows his initial talent in a scene set years before the main plot. Sixteen years afterwards the man is playing for a losing team but can still wow the audience with his raw talents. As the story progresses Roy is characterized through his actions and through the way the supporting characters view him. One symbol that made this work more resounding is the cracking of Roy’s back in the climatic game. This event has a lot of hidden meaning, and helps convey Malamud’s theme to the audience.

The first scene in the story is where Malamud expresses the level of talent “wonderboy”, as he is affectionately called, possesses. He is squaring off against a big league allstar known as the Whammer; “At thirty-three the Whammer still enjoyed exceptional eyesight. He saw the ball spin off Roy's fingertips and it reminded him of a white pigeon he had kept as a boy, that he would send into flight by flipping it into the air. The ball flew at him and he was conscious of its bird-form and white flapping wings he heard a noise like the bang of a firecracker at his feet and Sam had the ball in his mitt. Unable to believe his ears he heard Mercy intone a reluctant strike.” (Malamud). This quote is significant because it expresses the potential of the protagonist. It is through these great feats of athletic prowess that we the reader gets to respect him. It makes the plot more important to the reader, as well. This all leads up to the finale with Hobb’s putting it all on the line.

The aspect of love is a component to this novel. While Roy is everything to be admired in the athletic sphere, he shows a deeply human aspect to his personality in his dealings with his love interest; “Noticing Toomey watching her, Roy stole a quick look. He caught the red dress and a white rose [he...
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