Bernard Malamud Writing Styles in The Natural

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Allegory

The allegorical framework of The Natural successfully links historical, mythical, and fictional elements. Malamud borrows historical elements from the "Black Sox" scandal in 1919, when eight members of the Chicago White Sox baseball team were charged with bribery during the World Series. He acquires mythological elements from the Holy Grail legend and the wasteland myth. New York City becomes a moral wasteland in the novel, and Roy Hobbs becomes Perceval the Knight as he searches, under the guidance of Pop Fisher (the Fisher King), for truth and redemption and to restore the team by leading it to a pennant win. In Leslie A. Field and Joyce W. Field's interview with Bernard Malamud in their Bernard Malamud: A Collection of Critical Essays, he explains, "I became interested in myth and tried to use it, among other things, to symbolize and explicate an ethical dilemma of American life."

Realism and Fantasy

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The Natural from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.