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The Contender

  • Study Guide
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Contender

author Robert Lipsyte

type of work Novel

genre Young adult, Fiction

language English

time and place written [Time] Las Vegas

date of first publication 1967

publisher HarperCollins

narrator Anonymous

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