Study Guide Questions
amiable – friendly; likely to join in a conversation
chamois – soft leather from the hide of an animal, such as a deer
contorted – twisted
droll – silly or comical
ducks – casual trousers
gabardine – worsted cotton, wool, or rayon
greenhorn – slur directed at someone new to a situation or uninitiated
hayseed – slur directed at someone from a rural area
intone – call or say aloud
marvelously – beyond the realm of human belief
rednose – slur directed at someone with a drinking problem
splurge – a sudden explosion
stereopticon – a projector that produces two opposite views
suppressed – held back or within
valise – suitcase
wrested – pulled, using a twisting motion
1. From the beginning, Roy Hobbs’ gift is presented as both a supernatural
blessing as well as an inescapable burden. What rhetorical devices in the
first two paragraphs of the story combine to reflect this difference?
2. Why does Eddie (the porter) bother Roy so much with idle talking?
3. There are several instances early in this first section that foreshadow
troubles ahead for Roy. What are they?
4. What is Harriet’s white rose symbolic of?
English 2B The Natural page 1
5. The serial killer discussed in Sam’s newspaper uses silver bullets on her
victims. What is the significance of this?
6. Why is it an example of foreshadowing to have Sam Simpson act as Roy
Hobbs’ escort to his first big league tryout?
7. How do images of nature show Roy’s growing sense of foreboding?
8. Why does Harriet stand so close to the contest between Roy and the
9. What images does the narrator use to describe Roy’s curve ball?
10. Before the third pitch, the Whammer raises his hand and points to where
he will hit the ball. What literary term might this be?
11. What is the importance of the doctor who mistakenly stops the train for a
12. How do images of nature portray the path Harriet Bird is about to lead
13. What significance can be found in Sam Simpson’s last dream?
14. What examples of irony can be found in the description of the Stevens
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Batter-Up! (Section 1)
brogue – accent
colossal – huge
conk – slang term for head
shenanigan – trick
third sacker – third baseman
1. What images of decay and dryness open the reader’s introduction to the
New York Knights? Find some descriptions that amplify these images.
2. In Roy’s initial description, what signs does the reader get that show Roy
to be still tormented by his past?
3. Given the fact that Roy has been waiting for years to play big league
baseball, why do you think he is ―down in the dumps‖ sitting in front of his
first big league locker? (Pg. 43)
4. How is Roy’s first night as a Knight an eerie reflection of his tragic
experience right before he had been supposed to try out for the Cubs?
5. Describe how the Judge came to own the Knights.
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Batter-Up! (Section 2)
fungos – fly balls hit in practice
makeshift – designed to fill a temporary need
perdition – eternal judgment, or hell
prodigious – huge
putrid – foul or disgusting
rhubarb – an argument
ructions – arguments or fights
shyster – swindler
southpaw – a lefthander
whammies – curses of bad luck
1. What metaphor is used to describe Roy’s arrival to bring the Knights back
2. Why do you think Roy does not want to listen to the hypnotist?
3. Who is the creature Roy chases in the trance induced by the hypnotist?
4. Explain why Roy refuses to participate in the hypnotism session.
5. Find a simile on page 65.
6. What does the description of the Knights’ fans show us about their sports
7. Why does Roy ―knock the cover off of it [the ball]‖? (Pg. 70)
8. What does Roy want that he does not get?
9. At the end of this section, what sign does the reader get that indicates that
the revival of the Knights may have a bitter end?
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Batter-Up! (Section 3)
cathartics – medicine
contemplated – gazed at while deep in thought
indigent – poor, unable to support oneself financially
limelight – area of public notice
per diem – per day (88)
roundhouse – a garage for locomotives
scurvy – up to no good
shade – spirit
strident – loud or urgent
1. What figures or literary terms express the ongoing pain of the grieving
2. Until now, the presence of water has only meant good for Roy and for the
Knights. How is the significance of water now uncertain?
3. What makes Memo’s grief deeper than it might have been in a different
4. As time passes after Bump’s death, Roy finds that he retains only the
positive memories of Bump—the wrath he had felt after Bump pulled pranks
on him has dissipated? How do you explain this?
5. Why is the Judge is eager to see Roy’s luck turn for the worse again, and
for the Knights to return to last place?
6. How is personification used to demonstrate the ways in which greed can
7. Besides the rain, what other symbol exists of the Knights’ improvement?
8. What significance is found in the description of the Judge? What is his
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Batter-Up! (Section 3) Cont.
9. What is the symbolism of the slanted floor?
10. How does the Judge explain the lack of light in his office?
11. Why is it ironic for the Judge to tell Roy to resist the lures of money?
12. What does Max Mercy mean to Roy?
13. Memo giggles when Gus ―[chucked] her under the chin.‖ (Pg. 95). This
nauseates Roy, because it does not ―make sense.‖ Why does this not make
sense to Roy?
14. How does Gus’ description demonstrate the two-sided nature of wealth?
15. Explain Roy’s revenge after losing the bets.
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Batter Up! (Section 4)
forlorn – sorrowful or let down
1. How do the gifts Roy receives on Roy Hobbs Day demonstrate the sad
fact that he will never achieve full satisfaction?
2. To what does Hobbs finally get Memo to agree?
3. Roy regrets his ambition and wishes that he ―could have lived longer in
his boyhood.‖ (Pg. 106) In fact, this has been an old or recurring thought
with him. Why do you think his ambition bothers him so much?
4. How is Memo hurt, sick or injured?
5. Is it foreshadowing when Roy says on page 114, ―Nothing is going to kill
me before my time. I am the type that will die a natural death.‖
6. The forest returns to Roy’s mind after his midnight brush with death,
driving with Memo and ruining the new Mercedes. What is new about this
reappearance of the forest?
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Batter Up! (Section 5)
goose-egged – permitted no runs
panhandling – begging
vile – poisonous, almost evilly so
1. How does the reader know that Roy’s appetites have extended beyond the
bounds of convention?
2. Explain Roy’s decision not to switch bats during his slump?
3. What is ominous about Roy’s visit to Lola, the fortuneteller?
4. After Roy’s first benching, what does he see out of the dugout that
conveys a sense of doom?
5. How does the incident with Mike Barney make clear to Roy how large of
a hero he has already become?
6. How is the description of the home run Roy hits unrealistic? How does the
description express Roy’s return to hitting?
7. What happens to Pete?
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Batter-Up! (Section 6)
sentimentality – tendency to succumb to the power of emotion
two-pronged – like a fork with two tines
1. What literary term is used to describe Iris’ first sexual experience?
2. What most attracts Roy to Iris at first?
3. How does Iris’ initial reaction to Roy’s phone call show her grasp on
4. Contrast Iris’ opinion of heroes with that of Harriet Bird.
5. Why did Iris stand up in the bleachers for Roy?
6. During most of the novel, water has come from the outside, either
refreshing or deluging its recipients. When water comes from within Roy,
what is it a symbol of? What other signs do we get during Roy’s time with
Iris that his past is on his mind?
7. Compare and contrast the thoughts of Roy and Iris while Roy is
swimming to the bottom of the lake.
8. Iris is a mother, and also a grandmother. When she and Roy start to have
sex, why does she tell him that he is ―really the first‖? (Pg. 149)
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Batter-Up! (Section 7)
baleful – accusing
bludgeon – blunt, brutal instrument
brittle – fragile
dredge – dig up, especially from a great depth or from under water
hordes – uncontrolled crowds
ravenously – without inhibition, fiercely
squelch –order to stop
stupendous – marvelous or wonderful
1. What does Roy dislike about Iris?
2. How does Roy get revenge on Max Marcy for printing the picture of
Hobbs in a clown suit?
3. Find a literary device employed in the long passage on page 159 about
4. What literary device is used in the sentence, ―Time was after them with a
bludgeon.‖ (Pg. 161)
5. What emotion powers Roy as this season comes toward an end?
6. What becomes paradoxical, even to Roy, about his desire for Memo?
7. How is Roy’s eating at the party symbolic of the condition of his soul?
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Batter-Up! (Section 8)
accrue – gathered to
barnstorming – playing in exhibition games
clamor – mob like noise
compunctions – moral impulses
flailing – hammering
parricide – murder of one’s father
philological – relating to speech
shimmying – dancing
solicitous – considerate
1. What is Roy’s dilemma?
2. In Roy’s dream with Sam, what is Sam telling Roy not to do?
3. Find an instance of hyperbole on page 185.
4. What dream does Roy have before the Judge shows up at his hospital bed?
What is its significance?
5. What is the Judge’s proposal? What makes the Judge’s offer finally
attractive to Roy?
6. After the Judge leaves with Roy’s agreement to the fix, Memo comes in
and is very affectionate, at long last. Why doesn’t this interest Roy?
7. After Memo leaves, Roy finally reads the letter Iris had sent him. What
signs do we get that Iris has moved on from her past?
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Batter-Up! (Section 9)
carrion – dead meat
offal – bodily wastes
peppering – cheering on
ptomaine –food poisoning
welsher – someone who backs out of a bet or a deal
1. How does the crowd gathering before the Knights game serve as a
metaphor for the unrest of the upcoming game? How does the crowd’s
response to Roy’s appearance for batting and fielding practice?
2. What message does Pop give Roy?
3. Explain the ambiguity in Roy’s promise. Pop asks Roy to ―promise me
that you will go in there and do your damndest.‖
4. Locate the literary devices employed in the following passage:
―His heart whammed like a wheezing steam engine, his head felt
nailed to a pole, his eardrums throbbed as if he were listening to the
bottom of the sea, and his arms hung like dead weight.‖ (Pg. 201)
5. How is Wonderboy personified in this chapter?
6. Where does Roy aim his foul balls?
7. How does Iris re-enter the plot?
8. Explain Wonderboy’s fate.
9. What does it mean that Wonderboy, long Roy’s source of success and
failure, now is so heavy that Roy can barely stand up straight?
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10. Compare and contrast Youngberry with Roy Hobbs at the beginning of
11. How does the crowd’s response to Roy’s last strikeout demonstrate the
fickle nature of the mob?
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Batter-Up! (Section 10)
1. How does Roy’s burial of Wonderboy express his thoughts about his
2. Roy vanquishes his enemies in the tower—he knocks Gus’ false eye out,
beats the Judge, and experiences Memo’s breakdown. Why is he not feeling
3. What is alluded to on the last page of the book?
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