full title The Contender
author Robert Lipsyte
type of work Novel
genre Young adult, Fiction
time and place written [Time] Las Vegas
date of first publication 1967
point of view The point of view is third person limited, reflecting the point of view of Alfred Brooks.
tone The tone in the book is serious, and it is sometimes dismal and graphic in description.
tense Past tense
setting (time) The book takes place in relatively modern times, perhaps within the decade of the 1970s.
setting (place) New York City, primarily Harlem
protagonist Alfred Brooks
major conflict Alfred's struggle to commit to something as difficult as boxing; Alfred's attempt to salvage a sense of self worth
rising action Alfred attending the clubhouse and lapsing in his training
climax Alfred rejoining the gym and pursuing his training to his first fight
falling action Alfred's last fight and retirement from the world of boxing
themes What it means to be a contender; self-improvement; quitting; fitting in
motifs Loyalty; the pursuit of dreams; winning
symbols The hideout in Central Park; Alfred's boxing robe; the stairs to Donatelli's gym
foreshadowing Donatelli's speech about being a contender; Donatelli's statement about not knowing whether or not a man has what it takes until he gets hurt; the flyers for the recreation center; Spoon's statement about Donatelli advising him to retire and go to school and their resulting close friendship