Study Guide

The Natural Chapter 4

By Bernard Malamud

Chapter 4

  • Bump dies in the hospital and Memo loses her mind with grief.
  • She spends her days collecting things from their time together to make a scrapbook, and then looking through the scrapbook.
  • Roy sees his chance and sends Memo presents and cards all the time, but she still ignores him.
  • He gets a little bit obsessed with Bump because he's taken his place on the team and wants to take his place with his girlfriend.
  • Roy's on a major hitting streak, but Pop's nervous about it and is waiting for Roy's beginner's luck to run out.
  • But the Knights start winning. Pop starts to cheer up, cautiously.
  • Max Mercy and the other sportswriters are really interested in where Roy came from and why he got such a late start, but no one can dig up any information about him.
  • Roy's sick of carrying the team but being paid peanuts, so he starts to think of some ways he can make more money.
  • He goes up to the Judge's office in the tower of the stadium and asks for a raise.
  • Pop had told Roy all about what a crooked cheapskate the Judge is, so Roy's wary.
  • Roy asks for $45,000, which is $10,000 more than Bump was getting.
  • The Judge starts telling a story about a farmer he knew when he was a kid who had a cow that gave a lot of milk, but had an ugly spot on her rump that bugged him. The farmer traded her for an albino cow that didn't give much milk at all and ate a lot. But when he went to go get his cow for the trade, she fell over, which gave him a heart attack. The cow recovered, but the farmer never did.
  • Roy understands that the Judge is trying to tell him to be satisfied with what you have, and drops his demand to $35,000, what Bump used to make.
  • The Judge and Roy sit in the dark, and Roy lowers his offer again, even though the Judge hasn't made a counteroffer, down to $25,000.
  • Roy's still nervous and goes all the way down to $15,000. Even then the Judge refuses, and charges Roy for an extra uniform that he got after Bump ruined his original suit.
  • On his way out of the meeting, Roy runs into Max Mercy, who offers to pay him $5,000 for five articles about his past life. Roy isn't interested.
  • He does tell Mercy that the Judge refused to give him a raise and tells him to write about that. They agree to go to a night club together later on.
  • At the club, Max introduces Roy to Gus Sands, a bookie who runs bets on baseball games. He's there with Memo Paris.
  • They all sit together, and then Gus starts searching the floor for a quarter that Memo lost. Gus is throwing money around and Memo seems to like it.
  • A betting man, Gus starts inventing crazy stuff to bet on, like what the next drink to come out of the kitchen will be, or how much money Roy has on him. He wins every time. Roy's nervous because he doesn't have any money to pay up on all the bets he's losing.
  • Roy gets up and says that he'll pay Max. He throws a tablecloth over his head and yanks on his nose, and a bunch of silver dollars come out. Then he pulls a fish out of Max's mouth, and a duck egg from Memo's bosom. It's hard to tell whether or not this is real or not—he keeps pulling strange objects out of pockets and purses.
  • But Memo seems to enjoy the show.

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