Study Guide

The Natural Chapter 8

By Bernard Malamud

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Chapter 8

  • The Knights win twelve in a row and actually have hope of winning their league. Roy eats like he has a tapeworm but he's still always hungry.
  • He thinks about Iris, but he's terrified of her because if they got married that would make him a grandfather. He feels way too young for that.
  • He also thinks about Memo, and they meet up in New York when Roy has a game there. He's mad at her for ignoring him when he was in his slump, but they make up and make out.
  • The Knights are doing great, and the fans and press are gaga for Roy even though he's kind of offish toward them. Roy resents the fans for abandoning him during his slump. They didn't want him then, they're not getting him now.
  • All the sportswriters wonder what Roy could have accomplished if he'd come into the game at twenty.
  • Max is the only one who doesn't buy the hype. He's more interested in digging up info about Roy's past. He interviews people who say that Roy had worked as a clown and even prints a picture, but no one really pays attention.
  • Roy decides to get revenge on Max.
  • Max apologizes to Roy and invites him along with Pop and Red for dinner at a steakhouse. They agree, but Roy doesn't show up. The waiter spills soup on Max and brings him a burnt steak. He tries to take away his food before he's finished eating and spills beer onto his lap. Max screams at the waiter, who throws Max over his knee and starts spanking him.
  • When Pop gets up to fight the waiter, everyone discovers that it's actually Roy in a fake mustache, which is the funniest thing everyone in the restaurant has ever seen.
  • That night Roy visits Memo, but she's with Gus. The three decide to shoot craps. Roy starts to lose, but comes back and takes $2100 from Gus.
  • Gus insinuates that Roy could make a lot of money by fixing games. Roy's totally disgusted. What kind of man does Gus think he is?
  • The Knights' winning streak ends at 17 and nobody sees how they could ever win the pennant this year. But they come scraping back and keep their season alive.
  • At the hotel after their second-to-last win, Memo invites Roy over to celebrate. He brings up Bump, which makes her cry, but he wants her to love just him and forget about her dead boyfriend.
  • Memo says she's organized a party in the hotel ballroom. The whole team's invited along with plenty of girls to have a good time.
  • Roy's still always famished, so the party sounds great to him even though what he'd really rather be doing is having sex with Memo.
  • When Memo mentions that Gus helped pay for the party, Roy's not happy. When he sees the smorgasbord, he gets over it pretty quick. Memo's looking drop-dead gorgeous.
  • Memo won't eat much, says she's not hungry; Roy eats enough for the whole team.
  • Memo seems very interested in Roy eating enough and she tells the chef what to feed him.
  • While he's busy shoveling it in, Memo asks him some questions about his past and finds out that he lived with his grandma, then went into an orphanage. He calls his mother a whore who ruined his dad's life, and says his dad died young.
  • Roy eats so much and drinks so much soda that he's about to burst.
  • He starts to feel guilty about Iris, and drowns his guilt in six hamburgers.
  • Roy thinks the hamburgers look like dead birds, so he drowns them in ketchup.
  • (ISHO that would make then look more like dead birds, but whatever.)
  • Red shows up and tells Roy to take it easy so he'll be fit for the big game.
  • Roy's starting to feel a little wobbly.
  • He goes to Memo's room and finds her naked there. Just as he's about to finally have sex with her, he keels over, sicker than a dog.
  • Being around her just doesn't seem healthy for Roy. Guess he didn't get the memo. Hahahahahaha.
  • Sorry. We've been waiting for eight chapters to say that.

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