The Effects Of Harriet Bird, Memo Paris, And Iris Lemon In The Natural By Bernard Malamud.

1717 words - 7 pages

In The Natural by Bernard Malamud, the main character, Roy Hobbs joins the New York Knights with an uncontrollable desire to be the best, at first in baseball, but later on in other aspects of his life. Roy is unable to control his appetites, one of them being for women. Roy is considerably influenced not by stereotypical ‘fatherly figures’, but rather women, namely Harriet Bird, Memo Paris, and Iris Lemon. While Harriet and Memo are not positive influences, and only wishes ill of Roy, Iris certainly is a positive influence, and cares about Roy, liking him from the start. Harriet and Memo does not care about Roy, the two women only leads him on to further their own goals. On the other hand, Iris does care about Roy, she is concerned about Roy’s well – being, and wants to help him make his life better. Harriet Bird, Memo Paris, and Iris Lemon all have a substantial effect on Roy, but Roy ultimately chose his own path, which leads to his ultimate failure in baseball and, in certain aspects, life.Roy first meets Harriet on his train ride to Chicago for his tryouts for the Chicago Cubs, in Major League Baseball when he is nineteen. His first impression of Harriet is as “a girl in a dressy black dress… her hair a forth of dark curls” with a “striking” face that is “a little drawn and pale”. As Harriet “stepped up into the train her nyloned legs made Roy’s pulse dance.” (8, Malamud) Harriet is a pretty girl that Roy is almost instantaneously attracted to. On the other hand, Harriet, after she realized that she did not “recognize” Roy “from somewhere”, “her expression changed instantly to one of boredom.” (9, Malamud) Harriet is not interested in Roy because he is not famous, but a common man. Instead, Harriet attaches herself onto the Whammer, currently the “leading hitter of the American League” and “three times winner of the Most Valuable Winner award.” (14, Malamud) Though the Whammer and Harriet soon are very close, the Whammer, describes Harriet as “that queer dame Harriet.” When the Whammer misses one pitch by Roy, Harriet, “who had five minutes ago been patting him on the back for his skill in the batting cage, now eyeing him coldly for letting one pitch go by.” (22, Malamud) After Roy strikes out the Whammer, Harriet latches onto Roy, leaving the Whammer, taking advantage of Roy’s attraction. When Roy and Harriet are conversing on the train afterwards, Roy can hardly believe his luck, but despite his fascination, Roy still notices the outside scene, seemingly contrasting his other object of attention, Harriet. While Roy floats “through drifts of clouds on his triumph”, Harriet goes “on about the recent tourney… the unreal forest outside” swings forward “like a gate shutting. The odd way she saw things” was interesting to him, but all the while, he is “aware of...

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