Study Guide

The Natural Chapter 9

By Bernard Malamud

Chapter 9

  • Roy ends up in a maternity hospital because that's where the Judge sends his players to save money.
  • The Knights lose without Roy, which leaves them tied with the Pirates in the pennant race. They have one playoff game a week later, with the winner heading to the World Series.
  • The doctor says that Roy can play in the final game but he should give up baseball if he wants to survive, which is about the worst thing Roy could hear.
  • Roy sneaks out of the hospital and tries some batting practice at the stadium, but he can't take it and goes back to his sickbed.
  • He hallucinates a conversation with his old friend, Sam, who tells him, "Don't do it." Don't do what? Don't ask Shmoop. Even we don't know—yet.
  • Roy spends his days reading magazines and fantasizing about Memo.
  • He starts thinking of ways that he could get rich without having to play so that Memo will love him.
  • Memo visits him and cries because she feels guilty for having the party before the team had actually won the pennant. She's looking a little haggard and her hair's a mess.
  • Roy asks her to marry him, but she explains that she's afraid to be poor so she needs someone with lots and lots of money to take care of her. She can't live without a maid, a fur coat, and a nice car. She just can't (sob).
  • Desperate, Roy starts to tell her his plans to invest in a restaurant, but she tells him he needs twice as much money as that to afford her.
  • Roy suddenly thinks that Memo's looking a little too much like Lola the fortune-teller, and asks her who sent her.
  • She admits that the Judge sent her, and that he wants to pay Roy $15,000 now and more the next season to throw the playoff game.
  • Whatwhatwhat? Throw the game?
  • He flat-out refuses, even though he knows it might lose him his gold-digging Memo.
  • Roy dozes and wakes up to find the Judge staring at him. The Judge ups his offer to $25,000 if Roy will throw the game. He thinks he can make more money from the gamblers who think the Knights will lose than he would if they actually won the championship.
  • Betting against his own team—what a creep.
  • The Judge lays out a philosophical argument for accepting the bribe. Maybe something good would come out of it. Who can tell? Roy doesn't buy it. Nothing good ever comes out of bad.
  • Roy tells the Judge to leave, but the Judge offers to pay Roy $45,000 next season on top of the bonus for losing the next game.
  • Roy asks for $35,000 to throw the game, thinking that would get rid of the Judge. It does.
  • But the Judge returns and accepts Roy's offer. Now it's Roy's turn to change his mind; he won't do it.
  • Then the Judge hits Roy where it hurts. He wonders if Memo might not prefer a "better provider." Like Gus, maybe?
  • He also mentions that there's someone else on the team who has agreed to the fix, but won't say who it is. So even if Roy plays hard—and that's a big "if" given how sick he is—the team could lose anyway.
  • Roy finally caves and agrees to the fix. He's still pretty sick about it.
  • Memo comes back and is all over Roy, happy that he's accepted the dirty deal.
  • After she's gone, Roy reads a letter from Iris. Everything in the letter shows Iris to be a mature and responsible person who worked hard to improve her life and raise her daughter. Kind of the anti-Memo.
  • But when he gets to the part about her being a grandmother, he crumples the letter into a ball and throws it.

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