Arts Entertainments

Summary and main characters of the novel The Contender by Robert Lipsyte

1. Topic

It was about a black boy’s fight to become a true boxer, The Contender.

2. Main characters

1) Alfred Brooks: He was seventeen years old. He lived with his aunt, Aunt Pearl. It was because his father had died since he was a child. He was a black boy who had a strong will to become a true boxer, The Contender. He also loved James very much.

2) Aunt Pearl: She was Alfred’s aunt. She had become Alfred’s mother and loved him very much. She had two twin daughters and her husband had died. She was a sister of Alfred’s mother who had taken care of Alfred since his father died.

3) Mr. Donatelli: He was an old man. He had cropped white hair and pale blue eyes. He was manager of the fighters and also manager of Alfred. He had trained Alfred to become a boxer, The Contender. It also had a gym to train wrestlers.

4) James Mosely: he was Alfred’s best friend. He became part of a street gang. It was very easy to be influenced. He had also stolen money just to buy drugs.

5) Major: He was a leader of the street gang to which Alfred and James belonged. He always acted like he was trying to help Alfred and James, but it only made things worse.

3 Summary of the story

There was a boy who lived in Harlem, New York, with his aunt. It was Alfred Brooks, his father had died. He did not go to school. He worked at the grocery store. He had a best friend named James Mosely. They had become best friends since they were children. But after they grew up, their friendship deteriorated. It was because James joined a street gang and started using drugs. And Alfred didn’t like it.

One day, James and the street gang tried to steal money from the store where Alfred worked. At first, Alfred was asked to join them, but he didn’t want to. He thought it was wrong and tried to stop James but it didn’t work. James and the gang were stealing the money, but then the police arrived and arrested James. Alfred knew it and felt very sorry that he couldn’t stop it. Alfred regretted his best friend and wanted to become a fighter.

He went somewhere in Harlem and found the gym to become a wrestler, boxer, at Donatelli’s Gym. He went there alone and felt very nervous. He found Mr. Donatelli and told him that he wanted to become a boxer, a real boxer. He also said that he would do his best to become a true boxer, The Contender. He said he would do a tough job. Mr. Donatelli accepted Alfred to become a boxer.

The next day, Alfred always came to the gym and was always trained by Henry, the gym worker. Mr. Donatelli became Alfred’s manager. Then after training, Alfred had fights. In the first fight, he felt very nervous and couldn’t concentrate, but he knew he had to box. He won the first and the next fight.

In the end, Alfred fought Hubbard. It was Alfred’s last fight, because in the fight Alfred was lost. He did not regret it, because at the end of the fight he knew that he was not only a true boxer, he was the contender. He was a true contender. And the important thing was that he and James became best friends again.

4. Configuration and atmosphere

1) Time setting: Around the year 1960.

2) Environment of the place: Harlem and Manhattan (New York).

Atmosphere: The dominant emotion that permeates the story is hope and struggle and also friendship.

Copyright (c) Ahmad Alim Aziz

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