Study Guide

The Natural Three-Act Plot Analysis

By Bernard Malamud

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I

In "Pre-game" the stage is set for all the rest of the novel. Roy shows himself to be the next big thing in baseball, which attracts Harriet's predatory eye. She shoots him, ruining his chances of becoming a baseball star and condemning him to a terrible, dissatisfied life.

Act II

Many years later Roy makes it back into the game and actually does pretty well, turning around his losing team and taking them to one step away from the World Series. He gets greedy though, and agrees to lose the final game on purpose in exchange for a lot of money.

Act III

The playoff game has Roy playing like a wimp. In the middle of the game, he discovers that he has impregnated Iris, a loving and decent woman that he only slept with once. He decides to play his best, but strikes out and loses the game for his team. He returns the money he got for the fix and rejects everyone involved with it, including Memo. The press gets wind of the story and Roy's career ends in disgrace.