Unformatted text preview: Alfred Brooks is a black seventeen-year-old high school dropout who lives with his Aunt Pearl and her three daughters in Harlem. His father deserted the family when Alfred was ten years old; his mother died when he was thirteen. Alfred's story parallels the major theme of the novel, which is stated most poignantly by the fight manager, Mr. Donatelli, near the end of Chapter 3, in his speech that begins, "You have to start by wanting to be a contender." A contender is, first and foremost, a man, an adult. For the true contender, the journey is more important than the arrival. Donatelli tells Alfred that a contender is willing to pay the price. He will "sweat and bleed" to get as high as his talent, courage, and character will take him. Of course, Donatelli is speaking about life as well as boxing....
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This note was uploaded on 12/06/2011 for the course ENG 3320 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at University of Houston.
- Fall '09