Friday Night Lights

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Ivory Christian Character Analysis

A gifted middle linebacker, Ivory Christian is “ambivalent,” as Bissinger describes it, about football, and wants, after high school, to become a Christian preacher at a local church in the African American Southside of Odessa. But Christian is later offered a scholarship by TCU—Texas Christian University—which he accepts. Christian gives up on his dream of preaching, and commits himself, once again, to football, at least during his university education.

Ivory Christian Quotes in Friday Night Lights

The Friday Night Lights quotes below are all either spoken by Ivory Christian or refer to Ivory Christian. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Football Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Perseus edition of Friday Night Lights published in 1990.
Chapter 6: The Ambivalence of Ivory Quotes

Pastor Hanson welcomed Ivory’s conversion. He knew that Ivory was an influential kid whose actions made a tremendous impression on his peers. But there was something worrisome about it, and he didn’t want Ivory moving from one world of isolation into another where the only difference was the level of standards.

Related Characters: Buzz Bissinger (speaker), Ivory Christian, Pastor Hanson
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

Pastor Hanson recognizes that Ivory's religious feeling is genuine. But he also knows that Permian football players are accustomed to all manner of "special treatment"—they are celebrities in the community. Ivory's desire to become a more active member of the church is grounded in his willingness to learn and to educate. He also sees religion as a means of orienting and directing his life outside football.

But the allure of the football team remains strong for Ivory. This isn't to say that Christian values and Permian's football culture are incompatible—indeed, many of the players pray before they play the game. But Ivory's active involvement in his church takes time away from practice and preparation on the field. Eventually, it is the pull of a possible college football career, and not religion, that will direct Ivory's life in Odessa. 

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Ivory Christian Character Timeline in Friday Night Lights

The timeline below shows where the character Ivory Christian appears in Friday Night Lights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Ivory Christian, a talented linebacker for Permian, “prepares” for the game by vomiting in the locker room.... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Ambivalence of Ivory
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger moves on to tell the story of Ivory Christian, an immensely talented black player, a middle linebacker, whose ability on the football field is... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Christian begins preaching some Sundays at a church in town, and gives up on alcohol and... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger switches to a description of Permian’s second game of the ’88 season, for which Christian prepares very seriously, against the Marshall Mavericks who are from the eastern part of the... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Christian covers Odell Beckham effectively throughout the game, and at the half the Panthers are in... (full context)
Chapter 14: Friday Night Addiction
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger follows Ivory Christian in the lead-up to the game against Arlington, in the state quarters. Ivory, who was... (full context)
Chapter 16: Field of Dreams
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...part of the book with a scene of trainers removing the names of Winchell, Chavez, Christian, and others from the lockers, preparing to post up new names, for the members of... (full context)
Epilogue
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...football, but he still complains of his inability to find consistency as a passer. Ivory Christian is offered a scholarship to play for TCU, and his dreams of being a preacher... (full context)