Books and Movies Reviews

Judicial Restraint and Judicial Activism: The Myth of the Great American Comeback: The Natural and Shoeless Joe

'The Comeback Kid.' How many times have we heard this phrase, in modern politics and also in the world of sports? It is said that Americans love winners, but even more than winners, Americans adore people who have suffered adversity, lost, and then win again. This is exemplified in the narratives of The Natural by Bernard Malamud and Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. However, while Malamud's novel is a complicated celebration of American individualism and cut-throat competition, as exemplified in the American mythology surrounding baseball, Kinsella takes the same themes of excellence and corruption in sports and uses them to celebrate the teamwork of baseball.
At the beginning of The Natural, Roy Hobbs, the washed-up protagonist of Malamud's novel, is a squeaky-clean white bread boy from the Midwest who became involved in a scandal involving a woman after he was recruited by the major leagues. He is shot by a woman in a hotel room, and then, driven away by the bad press, lays low until he is in his mid-30s, when he returns to capture his lost greatness as a batter. He does so, in the embodiment of another American myth, because he is a natural talent. He needs little help from other people. He is a self-made man, the crème de la crème that will always rise to the top. Hobbs' accomplishment is even more impressive because his comeback is orchestrated on one of the worst teams in the National League. Clearly, this shows to the world his teammates have little role in Hobbs' return from glory, it is only the mysterious crack of his bat that bears the secret of their genius.
Hobbs refuses to listen to locker-room pep talks, and rather than drinking the spiritual Kool-Aid provided by the pop psychologist and hypnotist Doc Knobb who is brought in to bolster the morale of the New York Knights, Hobbs simply looks within himself for strength (Malamud 66). He would rather be benched for three wee…


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