The book The Natural by Bernard Malamud has several different themes. The first theme is mythology; there are several different mythology references in The Natural. The first reference is the story of The Fisher King, where the knight Perceval fails to ask the king about the grail and therefore fails to save the people of the Wasteland. The second reference is a character in The Fisher King called Perceval, Perceval represents Roy Hobbs. Both the characters are unintelligent and uncultured. The second theme is the tragic flaw.
Pop Fisher is the manager on the Knights. He is trying to lead the team into winning the pennant, which he has unfortunately not been able to do himself as a player and a manager. Roy Hobbs was supposed to cure Pop’s unlucky streak by winning the pennant for him. This resembles the story of The Fisher King when the Knight is sent on a task to retrieve the grail from the king and cure the people of the Wasteland. Unfortunately the knight and Roy were not able to complete the task. This situation is common in today’s world because anybody who is competing for something wants a leader to lead them into victory. Unfortunately not everyone is able to meet that goal.
Another mythical reference in The Natural is the knight Perceval, who represents Roy Hobbs. Something that both these characters have in common is that they are not very intelligent. In one part of the book Pop tells Roy to “knock the cover off the ball”. When Pop says this he means for Roy to hit the ball really hard. However, Roy literally took it to heart and hit the cover off the ball. Some people in this world take things to literal and don’t understand the meaning behind the words.
The second theme is Roy’s weakness towards women. In the book he is obsessed with Pop’s niece Memo, and really badly wants Memo to give him a little attention. When she starts to hang out with Roy he begins to over think things and stresses out about them, which causes him to not be able to perform on the field. Feeling upset he realized that people were losing hope in him, until one day a woman stands in the bleachers to show her support, and give him encouragement. That was all Roy needed to get back in the game. After that Roy started dating Iris the woman who stood in the stands, until he found out that she was a grandmother. Then he left her for Memo. Roy didn’t realized that he never really had a chance to fully be with Memo because all she wants is to have money and Roy wasn’t able to offer her that.
The final theme is that Roy cares too much about his own glory which in the end causes him to fail. Roy sets the bar high for himself, his goal is to be the best baseball player there ever was and sets out to break all the records. The pressure that he puts on himself causes him to have high blood pressure and later put himself in the hospital for several days.
The themes that popped up in The Natural are things that people go through today. It’s common for people to set certain goals for them to reach; it has also happened that some people set goals so high that they are never able to reach their goal, which causes them to over stress about it. Another thing that happens in society is that people use each other to get an advantage. In the book the manager Pop uses Roy to lead his team to the top and hopefully bring back the pennant.
Courtney from Study Moose
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