The Natural Essay

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In the following essay, Henningfeld aligns the failure of main character Roy Hobbs with that of Gawain in Gawain and the Green Knight.

Bernard Malamud, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, published short stories in a variety of magazines during the 1940s and 1950s. He published his first novel, The Natural, in 1952. That Malamud chose to focus his first novel on baseball surprised and mystified his readers; even in his early short stories, Malamud had generally used Jewish characters, settings, and themes. The early reviews of The Natural illustrate the hesitation with which critics approached the novel. Many found the subject matter strange, the allegory strained, and the symbolism difficult.

Consequently, apart from reviews, the novel received little critical attention in the first years after its publication. However, after the publication of The Assistant and The Magic Barrel, literary scholars returned their attention to Malamud's first novel, looking...

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This section contains 1,914 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Natural Study Guide
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The Natural from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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