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The Natural Film Vs Novel Essay, Research Paper

The Natural vs. the UnNatural

In the novel and the movie, the Natural, many differences in the plot, the characters, and the theme give both a very different mood and overall meaning. Many small differences add up to give each work a distinctive feel to it and an important moral. Roy’s relationship with Iris, the incident when Roy gets poisoned, and the ending all effectively display the differences that have such an important bearing on the outcome and effect of the theme.

Iris is a key character in both the movie and the book, however he role in each is quite different. First of all Iris in the book is visually a complete opposite of Iris in the movie. In the book Iris is described as corpulent, with a head full of red hair, yet in the movie she is a skinny, relatively attractive, blond. Thus, Roy’s relationship with Iris in the book and in the movie is quite different. In the book Roy is not very attracted to her and in addition she is a grandmother which does not appeal to Roy at all. This also comments on Roy’s personality in the book because he ends up sleeping with her anyway, even though he has no real feelings for her. The following quote illustrates Roy’s actual feelings for Iris; ” ‘Darling,’ whispered Iris, ‘win for our boy.’ He stared at her. ‘What boy?’ ‘I am pregnant.’ There were tears in her eyes. Her belly was slender . . . then the impact hit him. ‘Holy Jesus.’ ” This displays how Roy really does not want to be stuck with Iris and a child. However, in the movie Iris is a romantic prospect for Roy throughout the entire story. They grow up together as friends in the film and we know that they are quite in love before Roy leaves on the train to play baseball. This is a contrasting difference from the book where we first see Iris when she is in the stands at one of Roy’s games. All of these small differences add up and change Roy and Iris’s relationship in the novel and the film. In the film she is romantically linked to Roy which provides him with self-esteem and a reason to become the best he can be. Yet in the book Iris supports him but more like a wise old lady and a lack of proper feelings towards her ultimately contributes to Roy’s self-destruction of himself and failure.

Another important difference is the incident with Roy getting poisoned at Memo’s party. The book makes this scene out be a type of self-sabotage attempt by Roy from gorging himself with food, but the movie displays this scene in a different light. When Roy is eating more hamburgers after the party, the author even describes them as “dead birds”, which does not convey a pleasant image. In the movie Memo obviously poisons Roy as an attempt to keep him from playing any more games. This is important because in makes a clear statement, that it is Roy fighting against all of the corrupt people trying to buy him out. However, the book tries to make the reader perceive Roy as a very flawed person who is almost in league with others in destroying himself. This incident is also questions Roy’s relationship with Memo in the novel and the film. Roy seems very wary of Memo in the film and it seems as if he has a suspicion that she is plotting against him. When he does end up poisoned it appears that he does realize that it was Memo who did it in order to keep him from playing. Nevertheless, in the novel Roy seems more trusting towards Memo, who uses him for her own greedy ideas and persuades him to throw the game in order to get the money. The quote “Memo helped. ‘Don’t be stingy, Roy.’ ‘Pile it on honey.’ ‘You sure are a scream the way you eat.’ ” shows Roy’s trust in Memo and how she simply helps him destroy himself, without any remorse whatsoever. The naive Roy is fooled by Memo’s looks and charm, and only realizes what he has done at the end of the book when it is too late to be fixed. Overall, this incident questions Roy’s relationship with Memo and comments about his own personality, which is tremendously different in the film, compared to the novel.

Regardless of everything else in both the film and the novel, it is undoubtedly the ending of both works that cause the themes in them to be so dramatically different. The books ending involves Roy accepting the bet and appearing to throw the game. His career then heads in a downward spiral as Max Mercy publishes the information about his past and his selling out. In one of the last scenes Roy confronts the judge, Gus and Memo, apparently regretting what he did, but it is too late for him to change his future. The last line of the book is “When Roy looked into the boy’s eyes he wanted to say it wasn’t but couldn’t, and he lifted his hands to his face and wept many bitter tears.” This fittingly ends the story since Roy has finally felt the repercussions of his actions and realizes his error. Since he confided in people who were innately evil and did not rely on himself and others who really cared about him he failed. However, the films ending is completely different since Roy does not miss the game and ends up winning it for his team. He is regaled as a hero and we assume that he marries Iris and stays with his son from the short ending scene. The differences that this points out is that if a person has confidence in himself and realizes what is really important in life he can really strive to succeed. Roy used Iris and his son as a catalyst to propel him to victory and at the same time utilized his own important characteristics such as perseverance and self-assurance. Altogether, the ending is very different and thus makes the themes of both works very different with one making use of love and dedication while the other falls victim to deceit and impulsiveness.

In conclusion, the theme and purpose of the novel and the film is made changed by alterations made to Roy’s relationship with Iris, Roy getting poisoned, and the ending. Roy had to make decisions in both the film and the book that were influenced by other people and either benefited or annihilated him and his career. His actions when he was influenced by lust, gluttony, power, and lack of self-confidence were self-destructive and led to his complete eradication as a person. Yet when influenced by love, hope, and incentive Roy’s own natural, virtuous persona took control of him and forced him to victory.


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