1. Discuss the friendship between Alfred and James. Consider its limitations as well as its history and future possibilities.
2. Analyze Spoon's character and his influence on Alfred. Refer to specifics of his life and to conversations between the two characters.
3. As a sportswriter for the New York Times, you are assigned to interview Mr. Donatelli. Write a news story about the interview, quoting your questions and Donatelli's responses.
4. Discuss the role of racism in the novel. Try to include all aspects of the problem.
5. Define one of the major themes of the novel and discuss how Alfred's character relates to it.
6. Choose one specific setting in the novel and show in detail how Lipsyte uses imagery to develop mood.
7. What do you think James will do after the novel ends? Discuss his future.
8. If you could choose one character in the novel to be your friend, other than Alfred, who would it be? Why?
9. Why is Aunt Dorothy's family important in the story? As part of your answer, discuss each family member's significance.
10. In your own life, what would it mean to be a "contender"?