One of the distinguishing characteristics of good novels is the ability of the writer to tell a good story while at the same time transcending time and place – thereby universalizing his/her story. We see this to a degree in Shoeless Joe. It under girds just about everything in The Natural. In short, Malamud’s novel is about baseball to be sure; but it”s also much, much more. Discuss what the novel is all about and how Malamud universalizes his narrative. In framing your essay, you’ll also want to revisit Shoeless Joe.