The Contender — Reader Q&A
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Why is it so important to Alfred to maintain his friendship with James, even when it seems James could not care less? Alfred knows how James feels. He even understands the reasons that crime and drugs appeal so much to James. They have the same basic problem—that they do not fit in anywhere. They are not in school, Alfred has a low position at a job, and James does not even have a job. Neither knows exactly where he is headed in life, nor where he wants to be heading.
Alfred parties all Friday night and well into Saturday. It is now Saturday night. He has somehow made his way back to Aunt Pearl's apartment, where he has passed out on the linoleum kitchen floor in a pool of his own sweat.
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Why do Major, Hollis, and Sonny beat Alfred up after James is arrested during the robbery?
Alfred is running in the park at first light Monday morning. His stride is smooth and easy. Birds sing, the breeze is cool, and he feels a rare joy. Alfred Brooks is smiling. Suddenly his reverie is smashed by two policemen, one of whom shouts, "Hold it right there. The cops have heard of Donatelli and ease off.
Answer the following questions based on your reading of The Contender by Robert Lipsyte. Donatelli bought groceries from the Epstein's grocery store, but forgot the bag at the store. His Aunt Pearl realizes what boxing means to Alfred, and gives him more money for boxing lessons. She is glad that he has found something that he likes, but wishes it was less dangerous, and that it was "something else". She hates it, and tells him that if he ever goes into Donatelli's Gym ever again, he will be kicked out of her household. He learns that it is the journey, and the blood, sweat, and tears that make a contender, not just winning.