Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
THE CONTENDER BY ROBERT LIPSYTE-FREE STUDY GUIDE
When Alfred is running in the park, the police stop him and question him about his intentions. When Alfred tells him why he is jogging, they wish him the best. After he returns home, Aunt Pearl also questions him about where he has been. He hints that he has been out preparing to become someone special. When Alfred goes to work at the Epsteins, they question him about James and the attempted robbery. Alfred pretends ignorance about the whole affair, and the Epsteins warn him against his friendship with James. The conversation upsets him, for he thinks that his employers doubt his integrity. As a result, he does his work with distraction. After work, he runs into Henry, who has learned that Alfred has met with Donatelli. He wants to know when Alfred will start training at the gym.
This chapter reveals that people question Alfredís intention because of his youth and his color. While he is jogging in the park, he is stopped and questioned by the police. When he returns home, Aunt Pearl suspiciously questions what he has been doing away from home so early in the morning. When he goes to work, the Epsteins question him about the attempted robbery and his friendship with James. It is not surprising that his mood droops to a low level and that he works without interest. Even when Henry asks Alfred about starting his training in the gym, he can muster no enthusiasm. His negative day has caused him to question whether he can realize his dreams.
When Alfred goes to the gym, he is bothered by the noise and activity. He feels out of place, for everyone is so engrossed in their work that they pay him no attention. He has second thoughts about coming to gym. As he wanders around aimlessly, he meets Dr. Corey, a dentist and is impressed with his hearty manner. The interaction encourages him to try some exercises himself. A student offers to help him with push-ups. Just as he finishes, Alfred observes Henry entering the gym with Bud, the assistant manager. At Donatelliís suggestion, Bud asks Alfred to come to a boxing match that is to be held at Madison Square Gardens. Alfred is surprised and pleased at the invitation.
When Alfred goes to the gym, he feels like an outsider who does not belong. He is bothered by the noise and the fact that no one pays him any attention. After talking with Dr. Corey, he feels encouraged and attempts some exercises of his own. He is even more encouraged when he meets Bud, the assistant manager, who invites Alfred to come to a boxing match at Madison Square Gardens.