Study Guide

The Natural Plot Analysis

By Bernard Malamud

Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Outta Luck

Roy Hobbs is discovered by a scout and headed to the big leagues, but just before he gets there a psychotic woman shoots him, ruining his chances. This is the setup for the rest of Roy's life and all the bad luck that comes with it. In fact, it's even conveniently labeled in the novel as "Pre-game."

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

It's a Rich Man's World

Roy finally claws his way back into baseball after many years and falls in love with Memo, his coach's niece; she, however, seems to be more interested in money than love. The conflict arises because Roy doesn't have any money, so we're left with the question: how can he get it? A lot of obstacles are in his way, including the Judge's stinginess and his own limitations (he's already 34, ancient for baseball).

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

An Offer He Can't Refuse

After turning down several similar offers, Roy finally agrees to throw the playoff game in exchange for enough money to make Memo happy. There's really no turning back from here; Roy used to be an honest player who loved the game, and now he's a cheater.

Falling Action

L is for Loser

Roy doesn't play his best at the playoff game, even though his conscience is gnawing at him the whole time. This is basically just us watching the consequences of Roy's decision, and not being able to do a thing about it.

Resolution (Denouement)

Say it Ain't So

Even though Roy changes his mind at the end and plays his best, it's not enough. The Knights lose the pennant. The season's over, and Roy goes home a disappointment to himself and his fans.