Analysis Of Bernard Malamud's The Natural

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Bernard Malamud emerged as a crucial and contemporary innovator of sports literature. Sports literature as defined by Kevin Baker’s introduction, are stories “drawing upon the natural drama of any sporting contest, and imparting life lessons freely along the way” (viii). Malamud’s debut novel The Natural, is a grim and “antiheroic tale” of a baseball player Roy Hobbs “whose ambitions and desires are constantly thwarted” (vii). Through his novel The Natural, Malamud emerges as a prestigious figure of sports literature through his combination of mythology and baseball, in order to create memorable works in this literary tradition. Malamud in his novel The Natural “draws heavily upon this genre, then stands it on its head” (viii). Baker draws…show more content…
Hobbs is an immensely talented athlete and a “pitching prodigy” who, despite his good intentions fails to live up to the world’s expectations of him (xii). For all of his physical tools, Hobbs cannot overcome his personal flaws. Baker claims that this paradox is enough proof to brand Hobbs with this fatal notorious flaw, but then the question is, does this truly make him an unsympathetic hero or a lesson to readers? The novel from a logical perspective reads as a lesson; associating back with Malamud’s mythological inspiration, it is the pathei mathos (“learning through suffering”), as seen in the Agamemnon. Malamud creates Hobbs to be a tutor, expanding his role to be a rival of timeless…show more content…
Despite this notion, he had attempted to fix his mistakes, proving himself to be a genuinely sympathetic hero. Although a little too late, Hobbs by the end of the novel ultimately proves himself to be a sympathetic character through his sincere behavior. While waiting to bat in his last game Hobbs acknowledges and reveals that saving this game is “the most important thing that he ever had to do in his life” (230). Hobbs, after all, is “thoroughly human” and readers are reminded of this nature when “going down the stairs he fought his overwhelming self-hatred. In each stinking wave of it he remembered some disgusting happening of his life” (xii,
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