An analysis of the novel the contender by robert lipsyte

It follows the classic pattern of plot development.

An analysis of the novel the contender by robert lipsyte

The novel is really his coming of age story. In the first chapters, Alfred, who was orphaned at a young age, appears as a shy, restless youth who almost seems afraid of his own shadow.

He swallows the insults hurled by Major and Hollis and avoids answering the questions posed by his uncle about his future. When he learns that James, his good friend, is going with Major and his gang to rob the home of the Epsteins, Alfred, feeling helpless, does not really try to stop any of them.

He then strikes Alfred, who does nothing to try and protect himself. He begins to work out daily and becomes stronger and more confident. He is still, however, not strong enough to stand up for himself or resist temptation.

At the party, Alfred allows Major to feed him vodka drinks to the point that he becomes inebriated. He also allows Arlene to talk him into smoking a cigarette, which happens to be filled with marijuana.

When he finally spies James, he realizes that his friend is taking drugs; but he does nothing to try and stop him. Later in the book, he even gives James money, which only helps to feed his habits.

After the party, Alfred is so ashamed of his behavior that he decides he is unworthy to continue his training as a boxer. As a result, he goes to the gym to collect his belongings that are stored there.

An analysis of the novel the contender by robert lipsyte

When Donatelli gives him a bit of encouragement, Alfred changes his mind and begins to train with more diligence and determination than before. At least when Donatelli tells him he must get much better before he fights a match, Alfred understands and continues to train towards his goal.

He also gains the self-assurance to stand up to Major when he tempts him again. After many long weeks, Donatelli tells Alfred he is ready for a real opponent. During his first match, Alfred is shocked by the bright lights of the arena, the insults of the noisy crowd, and the power of his opponent.

Even though he struggles in the first round, Alfred is determined and refuses to give up. By the second round, he is able to throw punches at his opponent and has managed to stay in the match in spite of his pain.

Even when Donatelli suggests that he give up, Alfred refuses; he is determined to fight until the end. By the third round, he has tired his opponent, while gaining confidence in himself. As a result, he boxes well, and at the end of the match, the referee declares Alfred the victor. Although he struggles in the first round, he becomes much more effective by the second round.

Then in the third round, Alfred is finally able to overpower his opponent, hitting him with powerful blows and finally sending him to the floor.

The referee declares it a knockout, causing Alfred to win his second match. Instead of gaining great pleasure from his victory, Alfred is miserable over inflicting such serious injury to another human being.

He begins to question if he should be a boxer after all. Before his third and final boxing match, Alfred makes the decision to leave the ring. Donatelli agrees with his decision, for he simply has not seen the "killer instinct" in his student.


He does, however, encourage Alfred to apply the same determination he has shown in his training to another pursuit that suits him better. The reader is also not surprised that Alfred wants to fight one final match to prove to himself and the world that he truly is a contender.

Alfred struggles against him from the beginning. When Donatelli suggests between rounds that Alfred just give up the fight, he refuses, for he wants to go out with his head held high. By the third round, Alfred is dealing his opponent some significant blows, but he is still unable to master him.

As a result, he loses the match, but he is proud of his final performance. Because he has gained self-confidence, Alfred can think positively about his future.The Contender Free Study Guide Summary/Analysis/Chapter Notes/Free Book Notes/Online/Download/by Robert Lipsyte.

Donatelli tells him that first, he has to be a contender—someone for whom it is in the realm of possibility to be a champion. The next night, Henry, Spoon, Jelly Belly, and Mr.

Donatelli take Alfred to a boxing match at Madison Square Garden.

SparkNotes: The Contender: Plot Overview

This is the kind of position Alfred Brooks is in at the beginning of The Contender by Robert Lipsyte. Alfred is a year-old living in Harlem, NY.

The Contender: Book Summary & Characters. This is a story of choices. In this chapter, Lipsyte portrays Alfred choosing to resist peer pressure and refusing to participate in the burglary of his employer's grocery. Another major theme of the novel is the contrast between hope and despair.

Plot Overview

The Contender is the debut novel by American author and sports journalist Robert Lipsyte. It was published in The book's plot centers on a black seventeen-year-old man named Alfred Brooks, a high school dropout living with Aunt Pearl and her three daughters in Harlem, New York City.

The Contender, by Robert Lipsyte, is the story of a young man named Alfred, a high-school dropout trying to avoid the pitfalls of growing up on the streets of Harlem. Unlike most of his friends.

The Contender (Lipsyte novel) - Wikipedia