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Unformatted text preview: Essential to a full appreciation of The Contender is an understanding of Lipsyte's use of setting. The world in which Alfred lives is Harlem, a predominantly black community on the northern end of Manhattan in New York City. Within the context of the novel, Lipsyte introduces various aspects of Harlem as well as other locations around the city. Lipsyte uses these settings as major symbols. Each setting represents a different side of life and affects Alfred in its own way. When Alfred first appears in the novel, he is on the front steps of the building that houses his Aunt Pearl's apartment. Before him are the mean streets of Harlem. The atmosphere is repressive. The sun, often a literary symbol of hope or promise, melts into the despair of a "dirty gray Harlem sky." The air is "sour," rancid, and foul. Young men without direction gather on street corners, drifting, The air is "sour," rancid, and foul....
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- Fall '09
- The Contender