Study Guide

The Natural Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Bernard Malamud

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Anticipation Stage

A young Roy Hobbs has always wanted to play baseball professionally, and he's finally about to get his chance. He's on his way to a tryout with the Cubs. On the way, he meets a famous player and strikes him out. It seems like he's really on his way to the big leagues, but at the last minute a crazed woman shoots him and he disappears from the scene.

Dream Stage

Many years later, Roy picks himself back up and tries baseball again, this time with the cellar-dwelling New York Knights. He's actually doing pretty well, and when the team star, Bump, is killed in a freak accident involving his face and the outfield wall, he actually has a shot at becoming MVP and winning over Bump's beautiful but manipulative girlfriend, Memo.

Frustration Stage

Hobbs can't seem to make Memo love him, because she's still hung up on Bump. This sends him into a batting slump. He meets a woman named Iris who seems nice enough, but he can't get over the fact that she's a grandmother, even if she is only 33. Memo hangs out with a bookie named Gus who insinuates that Roy could make a lot of money if he would team up with him to fix games.

Nightmare Stage

Memo throws a party for Roy and the team right before the playoff game, where he eats so much that he ends up in the hospital. Memo and the Judge, the team owner, show up to ask him to throw the playoff game. Roy wants Memo to marry him, and she says that she can't because she's afraid of being poor.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

Roy finally gives in, hoping that with the money he makes he'll get Memo to marry him. He doesn't actually die, but he loses his principles by agreeing to throw the game. The team, too, suffers a huge loss; their season dies that night in Roy's hands and so does his career and his self-respect.