The Contender: Alfred's Character Shaped by Environment

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Enviornment Shapes Character

A person's environment
isn't just the concrete things aroung them. Someone's environment is the physical and mental conditions that surround them. The envoirnment that someone is exposed to shape and defines his/her character. Alfred Brooks, in The Contender by Robert Lipsyte is greatly shaped and defined by his environment . From the neighborhood he lives in to the friendships he has and breaks, it all effects how he is.

Alfred lives in a bad part of New York, Harlem. There is drugs and crime everywhere. Alfred's parents both left him when he was young. His best friend from early childhood., James, resolves to drugs ands crime. The idea of losing your best friend definitely

straightened up his attitude. Getting beat up by Major and Hollis drove him to wanting to be a boxer.
Alfred had a desire to be a champion, but it was insisted by Donatelli that its its extremely unlikely he will be a champion, but he has a chance of being honored as a contender. He tries to hard and gives up a couple of times but he keeps on being driven by certain things in his environment

. Mr. Donatelli, James, Aunt Pearl, and Mr. Epstein all contribute to driving Alfred in their own way. All of the struggles in Alfred's life greatly shape his character.
Certain events in the ring also effect Alfred's character. After Alfred wins his first fight, he was not pleased. The fight was ugly and the crowd booed at the fact that Alfred won. Alfred didn't enjoy fighting, and he wasn't sastisfied with winning. Mr. Donatelli admired that Alfred wasn't happy with the outcome. When Alfred lost, it was almost as if it was a victory because it made him realize things that he has been blind to before. After the fight, he realizes he is a contender, and in his mind, he is a winner.
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