Free Study Guide for The Contender by Robert Lipsyte Free BookNotes|
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THE CONTENDER - FREE CHAPTER SUMMARY / LITERARY CRITICISM
Although the crowd applauds his victory, Alfred feels disillusioned. He is upset about seriously injuring Griffin and hates the crowd for cheering him for wounding his rival.
On the way home, Alfred keeps thinking about
Griffin in his state of helplessness. After he goes to bed, he sleeps restlessly.
When he wakes in the morning, he goes out to jog but intentionally avoids the
policemen. At work, Lou Epstein compliments him for his two consecutive wins,
but Alfred cannot muster any joy. Epstein believes Alfred is simply tired and
sends him home to rest. Alfred, however, does not immediately go home but wanders
aimlessly and restlessly. When he runs into Lynn and Harold, they ask him to join
the recreation club and help the children who come there, but Alfred refuses to
give them an answer. As he walks towards home, he thinks about the offer and imagines
James and himself working with the needy children.
After winning his second match, Alfred loses his enthusiasm for boxing and becoming a champion. When he sees Griffin, his opponent, lying in a wounded and helpless state on the floor, Alfred feels miserable about having hurt him. He also resents the crowd for cheering him for injuring his rival. This match will become a turning point in his life, for it changes Alfred’s outlook about his future.
this second victory, Alfred has trouble sleeping. When he goes out to jog the
next morning, he intentionally avoids the policemen, not wanting to have a discussion
with them. When he goes to work and receives a compliment on his second victory
from Epstein, Alfred shows no enthusiasm. Epstein, misreading Alfred’s mood, believes
he is simply tired and sends him home to rest. Alfred, however, does not head
towards home but wanders aimlessly. When he encounters two friends, they encourage
Alfred to join the recreation club and help some of the needy youngsters there.
Although he does not give them an answer, he imagines James and himself working
with the children, indicating that Alfred has an interest in helping others. By
his very nature, Alfred is a helper rather than a fighter. It is not surprising
then that the thought of educating children is more appealing to him than hurting
his opponent in the ring.
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