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How Roy Hobbs Personal Flaws Lead to his Becoming an Anti-he

How Roy's Personal Flaws Lead to His Becoming an Anti-hero
In his novel The Natural, Bernard Malamud presents a paradox of a character in Roy Hobbs. Roy is the perfectly talented athlete who, despite his good intentions, fails to live up to the world's expectations of him. For all of his physical tools, Roy cannot overcome his personal flaws. The question for Roy then is this, is he an anti-hero because of 1) he is caught in a no-win situation or 2) does he have too many flaws to overcome? Throughout the book it becomes more apparent that it is due to the latter. It also becomes more apparent what these flaws are: lack of maturity outside of baseball,lack of a work ethic, and poor decision making.
"But I don't understand why you should make so much of that. Are your values so-?" (Malamud 150) Iris Lemon asks Roy this by the lake after they have just met in person. Roy's answer to this question is the same throughout the book. Whenever he is asked what his goals in life are, Roy's answer is always to either be the best there was or to break as many records as possible. For Roy there is no life outside of baseball. His lack of maturity off the playing field is in stark contrast with his physical maturity on it. One thing Roy has no maturity with is women. He fails to read between the line in his relationship with Memo. He is oblivious to the fact that she has never had any true feelings for him until she spells it our to him. "You filthy scum, I hate your guts and always have since the day you killed Bump."( Malamud 230) Another woman Roy has trouble with is Iris Lemon. Iris is the only woman in the book who treats Roy with any respect. Her beauty and affection attract Roy, but her maturity drives her away. Only when he learns that Iris is a grandmother does his attraction fade. Roy is scared that beginning a relationship with Iris would force him to mature. "He thought, I never …