The baseball field is a great place to contemplate right and wrong, temptation and resistance. The combination of ambition, poverty, and limited time (no one's getting any younger!) make the players in The Natural especially susceptible to offers from shady dealers to throw games. It would be a way to earn more money than they could hope to make in several seasons. But the novel doesn't let any bad deed go unpunished. It takes a clear moral stand and punishes any character that falls into temptation.
Questions About Morality and Ethics
Why did you think that Malamud chose to make the shadiest character a judge?
Why do you think that Roy finally gives in and throws the game in the end? Why does he break his own moral code?
What do you think the book is trying to say about the American dream? Does it require unethical behavior?
Chew on This
In the novel, even though Roy sells out in the end, he is still considered to be a morally good character because he feels remorse for his mistakes.
The novel shows that everyone can be bought, and that the world pretty much stinks.