The Natural

Roy Hobbs Character Analysis

The protagonist of the novel, Roy Hobbs is introduced as a teenage baseball prodigy traveling by train to Chicago to try out for the Chicago Cubs. The novel reveals little about Hobbs’s background, only mentioning that Hobbs’s family was fractured and abusive—and that Hobbs grew up in various orphan homes—though his father taught him how to “toss a ball” during the summers. Hobbs’s talent as a player is, as the novel’s title suggests, “natural,” amplified by a bat he carved himself (nicknamed Wonderboy), though these skills are hardly enough to make him a star of the sport. He transforms from an innocent, naïve teenager into an embittered, selfish thirty-five-year-old when he returns to baseball years after his near-fatal wounding at the hands of Harriet Bird, a mysterious and sumptuous woman with a twisted penchant for shooting sports stars. Though he gains celebrity status as the strongest player for the New York Knights (a fictional team based on the New York Yankees), Hobbs is unable to overcome the traumas of his past, as well as his own greed and single-minded ambition, to become a healthy, successful, and secure adult. Though he is described as traveling “on the train that never stopped”—constantly “in motion,” determined to achieve—he is haunted by dreams of his lost childhood and distracted by the women he pursues, namely Memo Paris and Iris Lemon. Hobbs also suffers from physical injuries: he collapses shortly before the last game of the season and is told that he must retire for his own health, prompting him to agree to a bribe from Judge Banner, the Knights’ corrupt co-owner, in order to earn money for his retirement (and the future family life he envisions with Memo). Ultimately, Hobbs is the novel’s tragic hero, a character who fails to earn the wealth and glory he originally seemed primed to grasp.

Roy Hobbs Quotes in The Natural

The The Natural quotes below are all either spoken by Roy Hobbs or refer to Roy Hobbs. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of The Natural published in 2003.
Pre-Game Quotes

As [Roy Hobbs] was looking, there flowed along this bone-white farmhouse with sagging skeletal porch, alone in untold miles of moonlight, and before it this white-faced, long-boned boy whipped with train-whistle yowl a glowing ball to someone hidden under a dark oak, who shot it back without thought, and the kid once more wound and returned. Roy shut his eyes to the sight because if it wasn’t real it was a way he sometimes had of observing himself.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs
Related Symbols: The Boy and His Dog
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
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As the train skirted close in, the trees leveled out and he could see within the woodland the only place he had been truly intimate with in his wanderings, a green world shot through with weird light and strange bird cries, muffled in silence that made the privacy so complete his inmost self had no shame of anything he thought there, and it eased the body-shaking beat of his ambitions.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs
Related Symbols: The Boy and His Dog
Page Number: 16–17
Explanation and Analysis:
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[B1]Harriet brightened, saying sympathetically, “What will you hope to accomplish, Roy?”

He had already told her but after a minute remarked, “Sometimes when I walk down the street I bet people will say there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in the game.”

She gazed at him with touched and troubled eyes. “Is that all?” […] “Isn’t there something over and above earthly things—some more glorious meaning to one’s life and activities?”

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs (speaker), Harriet Bird / The Woman (speaker)
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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She pulled the trigger (thrum of bull fiddle). The bullet cut a silver line across the water. He sought with his bare hands to catch it, but it eluded him and, to his horror, bounced into his gut. A twisted dagger of smoke drifted up from the gun barrel. Fallen on one knee he groped for the bullet, sickened as it moved, and fell over as the forest flew upward, and she, making muted noises of triumph and despair, danced on her toes around the stricken hero.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Harriet Bird / The Woman
Page Number: 34–35
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 1 Quotes

For his bulk [Roy Hobbs] looked lithe, and he appeared calmer than he felt, for although he was sitting here on this step he was still in motion. He was traveling (on the train that never stopped). His self, his mind, raced on and he felt he hadn’t stopped going wherever he was going because he hadn’t yet arrived.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
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Roy found himself looking around every so often to make sure he was here. He was, all right, yet in all his imagining of how it would be when he finally hit the majors, he had not expected to feel so down in the dumps. It was different than he had thought it would be. So different he almost felt like walking out, jumping back on a train, and going wherever people went when they were running out on something. Maybe for a long rest in one of those towns he had lived in as a kid. Like the place where he had that shaggy mutt that used to scamper through the woods.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs
Related Symbols: The Boy and His Dog
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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[A] door seemed to open in the mind and this naked redheaded lovely slid out of a momentary flash of light, and the room was dark again […] when she got into bed with him he almost cried out in pain as her icy hands and feet, in immediate embrace, slashed his hot body […] he found what he wanted and had it.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Memo Paris
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 2 Quotes

Staring at the light gleaming on Pop’s bald bean, Roy felt himself going off … way way down, drifting through the tides into golden water as he searched for this lady fish, or mermaid, or whatever you called her […] Sailing lower into the pale green sea, he sought everywhere for the reddish glint of her scales, until the water became dense and dark green and then everything gradually got so black he lost all sight of where he was.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Pop Fisher, Doc Knobb
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 3 Quotes

Even the weather was better, more temperate after the insulting early heat, with just enough rain to keep the grass a bright green and yet not pile up future double headers. Pop soon got into the spirit of winning, lowered the boom on his dismal thoughts, and showed he had a lighter side […] His hands healed and so did his heart.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Pop Fisher
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“Pardon the absence of light,” the Judge said, almost making [Hobbs] jump. “As a youngster I was frightened of the dark—used to wake up sobbing in it, as if it were water and I were drowning—but you will observe that I have disciplined myself so thoroughly against that fear, that I much prefer a dark to a lit room […] There is in the darkness a unity, if you will, that cannot be achieved in any other environment, a blending of self with what the self perceives, an exquisite mystical experience.”

Related Characters: Judge Goodwill Banner (speaker), Roy Hobbs
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 4 Quotes

He felt contentment in moving. It rested him by cutting down the inside motion—that which got him nowhere, which was where he was and [Memo] was not, or where his ambitions were and he was chasing after. Sometimes he wished he had no ambitions—often wondered where they had come from in his life, because he remembered how satisfied he had been as a youngster, and that with the little he had—a dog, a stick, an aloneness he loved.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Memo Paris
Related Symbols: The Boy and His Dog
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
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He felt he had been running for ages, then this blurred black forest slid past him, and as he slowed down, each black tree followed a white, and then all the trees were lit in somber light till the moon burst forth through the leaves and the woods glowed. Out of it appeared this boy and his dog, and Roy in his heart whispered him a confidential message: watch out when you cross the road, kid.

Related Symbols: The Boy and His Dog
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 5 Quotes

[Hobbs] woke in the locker room, stretched out on a bench […] He sat there paralyzed though his innards were in flight […] He longed for a friend, a father, a home to return to—saw himself packing his duds in a suitcase, buying a ticket, and running for a train. Beyond the first station he’d fling Wonderboy out the window.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Pop Fisher, Memo Paris, Iris Lemon
Related Symbols: The “Wonderboy” Bat
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 6 Quotes

Half [Iris’s] life ago, just out of childhood it seemed […] she had one night alone in the movies met a man twice her age, with whom she had gone walking in the park. Sensing at once what he so unyieldingly desired, she felt instead of fright, amazement at her willingness to respond […] She had all she could do to tear herself away from him, and rushed through the branches, scratching her face and arms in the bargain. But he would not let her go, leading her always into dark places.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Iris Lemon
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 7 Quotes

It later struck him that the picture he had drawn of Memo sitting domestically home wasn’t exactly the girl she was. The kind he had in mind, though it bothered him to admit it, was more like Iris seemed to be, only she didn’t suit him. Yet he could not help but wonder what was in her letter.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Memo Paris, Iris Lemon
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 8 Quotes

[A]s the Judge had talked [Roy Hobbs] recalled an experience he had had when he was a kid. He and his dog were following an old skid road into the heart of a spooky forest when the hound suddenly let out a yelp, ran on ahead, and got lost. It was late in the afternoon and he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving the dog there alone all night, so he went into the wood after it. At first he could see daylight between the trees—to this minute he remembered how still the trunks were, as the tree tops circled around in the breeze […] but just at about the time the darkness got so thick he was conscious of having to shove against it as he hallooed for the dog, he got this scared and lonely feeling that he was impossibly lost.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Judge Goodwill Banner
Related Symbols: The Boy and His Dog
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:
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Batter Up! Part 10 Quotes

When [Roy Hobbs] hit the street he was exhausted. He had not shaved, and a black beard gripped his face […] He stared into faces of people he passed along the street but nobody recognized him.

“He coulda been a king,” a woman remarked to a man.

At the corner near some stores he watched the comings and goings of the night traffic. He felt the insides of him beginning to take off (chug chug choo choo…). Pretty soon they were in fast flight.

Related Characters: Roy Hobbs, Judge Goodwill Banner
Page Number: 231
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Roy Hobbs Character Timeline in The Natural

The timeline below shows where the character Roy Hobbs appears in The Natural. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Pre-Game
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Roy Hobbs lights a match inside a train car and gazes out the window into darkness.... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Roy thinks he might be hallucinating, as the sight reminds him of a dream he has... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Back on the train, Roy decides that he will have an early breakfast so as to “make his blunders of... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Roy fishes his bassoon case out from under his bunk and pries it open but snaps... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Upon hearing this, Eddie bows to Roy in jest and addresses him as “My hero,” asking to kiss his hand. Roy is... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Later, Roy makes his way to the very last car, where sleeping people—including Sam—are strewn about in... (full context)
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
When the train pulls into a station, Roy watches as Eddie helps the new passenger aboard: a sumptuous woman whose “nyloned legs [make]... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
As the woman settles into a seat with a cigarette, Roy agonizes over how to strike up a conversation with her. When she leaves, Roy notices... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...verge of tears but comforts himself by thinking that he “got someone just as good,” Roy, and that life awake is now better than dreaming. (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...by claiming that he has a family member on a more expensive sleeper car (actually Hobbs). (full context)
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Sam doesn’t find Roy in the club car and decides to head to the bar: he is already in... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Sam tells the men that he is traveling with Hobbs and remarks that Mercy might want to “know about him,” given his success as a... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Sam spots Hobbs, who is looking around for the girl with the black hatbox (whose name, Eddie has... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
...to Harriet about his career, slipping his hands around the back of her seat. Annoyed, Hobbs leaves the club car and goes back to the sleeper, where he feels a “kind... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
...comes to a stop and a dozen passengers get off for a half-hour break, including Hobbs, Sam, Harriet, the Whammer, and Max Mercy; Hobbs takes the bassoon case with him. Sam... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Sam makes a wager with the Whammer, claiming that Hobbs can strike him out with three pitched balls. Harriet, watching Hobbs and the Whammer (and... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
The onlookers walk to the other side of the tracks as Roy and the Whammer gear up for play, though Harriet stands close by, her eyes shining... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Roy pitches again, and the ball looks like a “slow spinning planet looming toward the earth:”... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
...shouts out that it is “customary” to turn on lights for night games. The ball Roy pitched has hit Sam in the stomach, and despite the washboard, the ball’s velocity injures... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Hobbs feels triumphant about his defeat of the Whammer and spends the next leg of the... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Harriet asks Hobbs if there is any “glorious meaning” to his ambitions with baseball—if he has a higher... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Max Mercy is asking Sam about Hobbs, his back turned to the Whammer, who is holding a newspaper “in front of his... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Eddie wakes up Hobbs in the midst of his own dreams and tells him that Sam has collapsed. They... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
After leaving the train, Roy takes a taxi to the hotel in Chicago. Watching the streets go by, Hobbs reflects... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
In his room on the seventeenth floor, Hobbs looks down on the city and begins to feel invincible: he knows he will go... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
A “great weight” goes off of Hobbs’s mind when he sees Harriet. Hobbs watches her put on a black feathered hat with... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 1
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...still working toward some unspecified goal. The stranger introduces himself as the new left fielder, Roy Hobbs, and hands a letter to Pop describing his contract. (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
The letter informs Pop that Hobbs is thirty-four, which Pop claims is too old for baseball; Hobbs tells Pop that he... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Pop says that he doesn’t need a “fielder old enough to be [his] son;” frustrated, Hobbs gets up to leave, but Red takes Pop aside and convinces him to give Hobbs... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Hobbs goes into the clubhouse to get a uniform from the prop man, Dizzy, directed there... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
As Hobbs changes in the “tomblike quiet” of the locker room, which is empty of other players,... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Hobbs overhears players speaking with each other in the trainer’s room and hears one “greedy, penetrating,... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
...him; Pop leaves the room in tears, sobbing, “Sometimes I could cut my own throat.” Hobbs feels ashamed after the speech, and when he meets Pop later, he admits that he... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Before leaving him for the night, Pop urges Hobbs to “behave and give the game all you have got.” Red Blow phones Hobbs and... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
After Hobbs and Red have dinner, the two men head to a movie about a love affair... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Red tells Hobbs that Pop became infamous for his “flop” and left the game for a time, though... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Red asks Hobbs to try his best to redeem the team, and Hobbs promises to do so; Red... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Back in his room at night, Hobbs feels as if his bed is “in motion,” going around in circles. He lies still... (full context)
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Hobbs finally quiets down, and the noise of the train fades away. He begins to have... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 2
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
...next morning in the locker room, the Knights are glum and fighting among themselves. When Hobbs enters, though, they look up at him with interest. Hobbs discovers that his teammates have... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Hobbs spies Bump with a hacksaw, about to attack his bat, called “Wonderboy.” Hobbs retrieves the... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Hobbs goes outside with Wonderboy and into the batting cage. The players, including Earl Wilson, Allie... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Pop asks Hobbs about his bat, and Hobbs tells him that as a child, he carved it out... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Pop sends Hobbs out to left field, where he proves to be a good field player, and Bump—as... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Before Hobbs’s first game that day, the team sits around in the locker room, trying to hide... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
...chairs and benches in rows in front of the man, who the catcher, Olson, tells Hobbs is named Doc Knobb. The players seem less nervous around Doc, who begins to give... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...into a sleepy state as Knobb raises his arms and makes wave-like motions with them. Hobbs begins to dream that he is swimming in deep water, searching for a mermaid; there... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
After Hobbs walks out on Doc Knobb’s speech, Pop benches Hobbs as punishment, but Hobbs remains steadfast,... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Hobbs begins to feel weakened while he waits to play, some days feeling so fragile “he... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
...the stands, and Olson spits when he spots a woman in a “drab brown-feathered hat.” Hobbs is put off by the Knights’ fans, who resemble a “zoo full of oddballs,” including... (full context)
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Hobbs has tried to apologize to Memo, but she blames him for the incident, ignoring his... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Pop informs Hobbs that because of his refusal to attend Knobb’s sessions, he is going to be sent... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
As soon as Hobbs makes it to home base, the Knights and their opponents, the Phils, contest the umpire’s... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
After Bump is hospitalized, the newspapers speculate that Hobbs may have conspired with Pop to tear the cover off of the ball during his... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Hobbs plays the next game against the Redbirds for Bump. In the stands, Otto Zipp looks... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Red says to Pop that Hobbs is a “natural,” but Pop says that he mistrusts “bad ball hitters;” Hobbs sometimes swings... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 3
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Hobbs is still struck by Memo, whom he sees from time to time in the Midtown... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Not long after Bump’s funeral, Pop tells Hobbs not to worry about what happened to Bump, and Hobbs says that he has never... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Nonetheless, Bump weighs heavy on Hobbs’s mind, and he constantly compares his own performance to Bump’s, even as fans begin to... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
One day, Hobbs notices Memo walk into the lobby of the Midtown Hotel with a newspaper turned to... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Pop and the Knights believe that Hobbs has “beginner’s luck,” and Hobbs becomes a controversial figure: he does not interact with the... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
...to treat his players with more gentleness, patience, and respect. Bump is gradually forgotten, and Hobbs becomes a celebrity in his own right, though he refuses to divulge any details of... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Hobbs realizes that he needs to earn more money to attract Memo’s attention. A newspaper columnist... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
...a judge, and he uses his power in New York City to run sideline activities. Hobbs asks Banner for forty-five thousand dollars a year, and Banner responds by telling Hobbs the... (full context)
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Hobbs drops his price to twenty-five thousand; in the dark, he isn’t sure that Banner is... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Mercy confronts Hobbs as he leaves Banner’s office, but Hobbs refuses to tell him anything about his background,... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Sands describes his betting strategies—he bets “on anybody or anything”—and makes a bet with Hobbs that he will get four hits in the next game. Hobbs and Sands also bet... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Hobbs promises to get the money for Sands and comes back to the table with a... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 4
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
Two weeks later, Hobbs is making a speech in front of a “sellout crowd” in Knights Field, claiming that... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Among the gifts given to Hobbs is a check for thirty-six hundred dollars, provided “because everyone thought the Judge,” who watches... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Later, Memo and Hobbs are driving together to Jones Beach on Long Island, stopping on the way for steaks;... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
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Hobbs has a strange suspicion that he is being followed, but the mirror doesn’t show anyone... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
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Annoyed, Hobbs asks Memo what Bump had that he doesn’t. Memo tells Hobbs that Bump was “carefree... (full context)
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
Memo discusses her own life, noting to Hobbs that after her father left her family, she went to Hollywood as a nineteen-year-old to... (full context)
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Memo asks Hobbs about himself, noting that Max Mercy says he is “sort of a mystery.” Hobbs cannot... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
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Hobbs and Memo get back into their car, with Memo in the driver’s seat. Hobbs asks... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Hobbs starts driving the car and turns it around, steering it toward the fog coming off... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
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Pop discovers Memo and Hobbs in the hotel the next morning and is angered that Hobbs has injured himself in... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Intent on finding out why Hobbs has returned to the hotel with an injury, Max Mercy pursues Hobbs as he goes... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 5
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Hobbs plays well at the game that day, despite his injury, and leads the Knights to... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
At the next game, Hobbs plays badly, entering into a severe batting slump; he becomes obsessed with finding out if... (full context)
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Memo and Hobbs rarely see each other during this period, though when they meet briefly, she suggests that... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
Disappointed with his visit to Lola, Hobbs tries a few superstitious practices “to see how they would work;” his teammates revive their... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Hobbs wakes up in the locker room after being benched and is “paralyzed” by longing—for a... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
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Hobbs returns to his hotel, and in the hallway, he feels a “driblet” of fear, afraid... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Baseball and American Vice Theme Icon
...they follow strict rules about conduct. Pop has invited Memo to the game, assuming that Hobbs has decided to stay away from her; Memo declines the invite. On their way to... (full context)
Mythology, Heroism, and Stardom Theme Icon
...men reach their hotel, a “frantic”-looking man, Mike Barney, runs up to them and asks Hobbs if he will win the Knights’ next game for his sick child, who idolizes Hobbs.... (full context)
Ambition, Failure, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Femininity, Stereotypes, and Destruction Theme Icon
During the game, Hobbs—still benched by Pop—thinks about the “kid in the hospital,” imagining the triumphant feeling of healing... (full context)
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The Cubs and the Knights are tied. Hobbs feels that he wants to help Mike Barney’s boy, but that he won’t be able... (full context)
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Hobbs goes to bat and strikes out twice. The woman in the stands rises for the... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 6
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...in which a “man twice her age” sexually assaulted her in a park at night. Hobbs drives up and greets Iris Lemon, whose picture he found in the papers after his... (full context)
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Hobbs asks Iris why she decided to stand up for him in the stands, and she... (full context)
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Iris and Hobbs discuss suffering and past trauma: Iris promises she will never hurt Hobbs and tells him... (full context)
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Hobbs stays underwater for too long, hoping to “touch the bottom” of the lake. “A sense... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 7
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The novel then cuts to a dining car where Hobbs and other Knights players are playing pranks on Red Blow, Pop, and their teammates. The... (full context)
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In the meantime, the Knights have worked their way back up the pennant after Hobbs’s slump, and when they return home for a game against the Reds, their fans crowd... (full context)
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That same night, Hobbs goes to find Memo in her room; Gus is with her, making Hobbs feel uncomfortable... (full context)
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...Knights defeat the Pirates—a favored team—in an initial game and take two more wins thereafter. Hobbs is losing energy, but he continues to hit well; eventually, the Knights end up in... (full context)
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Memo comes over to Hobbs’s room to celebrate his recent wins, then invites him to a party for the Knights... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 8
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...doctor at a maternity hospital with which Judge Banner has arranged a “money-saving contract” examines Hobbs, surprised by his scarred body. Unconscious, Hobbs experiences great pain and dizzying hallucinations; he returns... (full context)
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Later, Hobbs dreams that he is searching for Sam Simpson in a snowstorm. Sitting at a table... (full context)
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When Hobbs comes to, he asks the specialist to promise not to tell anyone about his condition,... (full context)
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Hobbs tells Memo about his plan to quit baseball and invest in a business, but she... (full context)
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Banner later visits Hobbs and increases the amount of money he wants to offer him as a bribe. The... (full context)
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Hobbs suddenly recalls a moment from his childhood when he wandered into the woods to find... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 9
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...fans on each side begin to riot: the Knights’ fans are nervous to know if Hobbs has returned to play in this crucial match. Hobbs shows up at the game; he... (full context)
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Hobbs goes up to bat, but he is distracted by thoughts of Memo, as well as... (full context)
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When Otto Zipp mocks him from the stands, Hobbs sends a foul ball in his direction; Hobbs notices a dark-haired woman in a white... (full context)
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Hobbs goes back out to bat again and ends up cracking Wonderboy in two on a... (full context)
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...buy a large farm and quit the sport forever. Youngberry is a brilliant pitcher, and Hobbs is struck out: Bump’s “form” glows red on the outfield wall where he was injured,... (full context)
Batter Up! Part 10
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At night after the game, Hobbs drags Wonderboy onto left field and buries it there. He goes back into the clubhouse,... (full context)
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Destitute, exhausted, and unrecognizable to the crowd of city-goers, Hobbs wanders through New York. A boy hands Hobbs a newspaper. Max Mercy has published a... (full context)