Study Guide

The Natural What's Up With the Ending?

By Bernard Malamud

What's Up With the Ending?

In the last scene of the book, Roy leaves the stadium after throwing the championship game and burying Wonderboy and his career. He's feeling pretty lousy about himself as it is, but the worst is still to come. A newspaper boy is selling a paper with the headline that Roy might have thrown the game. He begs Roy to say it isn't true, but unfortunately, he can't:

When Roy looked into the boy's eyes he wanted to say it wasn't but couldn't, and he lifted his hands to his face and wept many bitter tears. (11.31)

This is the tragic end of our hero. Roy's lost his honor and his self-respect. He can't look his fans in the face, and he surely can't go back to baseball. He finally realizes that it was his own mistakes that brought him to this point, but that realization is too little and way too late.