Study Guide

The Natural Chapter 10

By Bernard Malamud

Chapter 10

  • The crowd's restless on the day of the tiebreaking game. There are fistfights everywhere, fans throwing rocks and food all around the ballpark.
  • Roy shows up to play, and everyone's surprised to see him out of the hospital. He says he feels weak; he doesn't want to get anybody's hopes up.
  • Pop has a long talk with Roy before the game, saying that he blames Memo for what's happened to Roy.
  • Pop tells Roy that he knows he'll never win a World Series, but he tells Roy he'd give his own life to win the pennant. He makes Roy promise to play his damnedest today.
  • Shmoop is getting that sinking feeling right about now.
  • Roy figures out that it's his teammate Fowler, the pitcher, who's the other player planning to throw the game.
  • He sees Memo watching the game in the tower with the Judge. She hadn't been to see Roy since the day that Roy agreed to the deal. Mission accomplished, we guess.
  • Roy gets up to bat and takes a called strike. He's itching to swing away, but a deal's a deal.
  • He pretends to swing at the next pitch. In the middle of the at-bat, he suddenly thinks about the time his mother tried to drown the family cat in the tub. It struggled and clawed his mother, but she finally held it under the water and it died.
  • Okay then.
  • He takes strike three and walks back to the bench.
  • At his next at-bat he walks, but doesn't make it home.
  • He starts thinking about going back on his deal with the Judge, and at his next at-bat he approaches the plate with the sun in the sky and the roar of the fans in his ears. He knows it was a mistake to agree to the Judge's offer. He's feeling strong.
  • A fan in the stands starts jeering him, so Roy sends a few foul balls in his direction.
  • A dark-haired woman in a white dress stands up in the crowd. Roy hits the next pitch towards the obnoxious fan and sends it right into the woman's face. She goes down. Mayday!
  • Roy runs up into the stands and finds that it's Iris. Before they take her to the hospital she tells him that she's pregnant, and that he has to win this game for their child. She knows he can do it.
  • Roy's stunned by the news and starts madly kissing Iris.
  • Inspired by what he's heard, he goes in to finish the at-bat. He smacks a high fly ball that sounds like a thunderclap. The Knights on base take off but the ball lands foul. And Roy sees Wonderboy lying on the ground split in two.
  • Swinging with a new bat, Roy lets the last pitch go by and strikes out.
  • Roy starts threatening Fowler, kind of hypocritically, saying he knows he's going to throw the game. Fowler thinks Roy's got a lot of nerve telling him to play better.
  • Roy starts making some crazy good plays in the outfield and Fowler starts to pitch better. Some fans noticed Roy looking up to the tower and thumbing his nose at where the Judge was watching the game.
  • The Knights are down by a run in the last inning. One of the Knights hits a triple and buys his team one last chance to win.
  • Pop sends in our Roy.
  • The pitcher's afraid of Roy, who's standing at the plate like a gorilla with burning eyes. He throws three balls and considers walking him.
  • Looking at Roy waiting for the next pitch, he faints dead away.
  • The Pirates send in a new pitcher, a young guy just up from the minor leagues.
  • He blows two fastballs over the plate past Roy.
  • Wait, wait! We know what happens! He hits that last pitch into the lights and…
  • Oh, sorry, that was the movie version.
  • Here's what really happens: Roy goes after a bad pitch and goes down swinging.