Ellisons king of the bingo game essay

The story is customarily examined as a prototype for Ellison's novel, Invisible Man, but the work was intended to stand on its own. The theme of alienation has been treated by many authors, but in "King of the Bingo Game," Ellison examines the specific alienation felt by blacks in the United States.

Ellisons king of the bingo game essay

From the beginning of the story, we are shown racial inequalities. He is unable to prove who he is, which does not allow him to exist as a normal citizen in American society. His never deliberately receiving a name throughout the story shows the protagonist as representing a massive population of the poverty-stricken and destitute, colored African Americans.

The bill itself proclaimed all those enslaved in Confederate territory to be forever free. The Proclamation was limited in many ways.

It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. While slaves were being freed by their masters, they had nothing to go to, no money to live off of, working as a slave is all they ever knew.

Even though African Americans were free they were still looked down upon by the whites, as someone who is less than them.

Ellisons king of the bingo game essay

In a way, it is kind of like the movie before the game, no matter how many times he has seen it, it will always play out the same way. The protagonist takes no action to respond back to the host, receiving the verbal beating, because it is what he has been accustomed to throughout his life, being seen as the inferior race.

He continues to show his lack of identity, as well as his powers of assertion and articulation. He finally held the power of the button given to him by the white man.

This was his chance to attempt to break the grossly unfair set of rules established by the dominant white society.


This is the really truly God! He experiences total power, he loves it. The wheel spins while holding onto the button, allowing him to be master of his own destiny a feeling new, scary and addicting to the protagonist. Urquhart makes a strong argument about the protagonist, expressing that he who has hope in himself can overcome any challenge and see though the toughest of times to find himself and gain the power he deserves.

Ellison makes conquering of the bingo game a beginning of a small movement for the protagonist, a start of something that could potentially help discrimination. The sudden and overwhelming feeling of power over his own destiny, the crowd and everyone in the bingo hall thrilled him.

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As he let the wheel spin, the crowd grew angry, the lights flickered and he realized that even though he held the power the button it can easily be taken away from him, by turning off the power switch.

He begins to have revelations while on stage seeing that, he is no longer nameless, no longer empty inside, no longer was anybody.

He finds his identity in the power that he possesses in the bingo hall. He controls the attention of the filled bingo which consists of mostly white people, something that must have been a very unique feeling for a man in his situation. This power becomes addicting to him as he continues to hold the button, and just like any man who has come into power he wants more.

He will never let go of the power until someone takes it from him. The protagonist breaks down with the thought of his loved one, Laura, passing away and screams for her to live. He is not ready to let loose of the button, or break the cord, which would symbolize breaking of the umbilical cord and represent the rebirth of his new identity.

He is not capable of defining who he is, to give himself the identity he and his past generations deserve, consequently he leaves himself vulnerable to the dominant white male he continues to depict.

It is filled with issues of inequality and race and events that took place with what African Americans would have to deal with in being discriminated against and not having an identity of their own.

Ellisons king of the bingo game essay

With the white male as the dominant race, he finds himself wanting to break away and discover his sense of identity in which he does by holding the button giving him the power of his own fate. Through continual challenges and desperation, he finds himself not able to break loose and becomes oppressed by the racial hierarchy of American slave mentality Ellison, Ralph.The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction Eighth Edition One of the most celebrated writers and teachers of fiction, Richard Bausch, pairs his insight and inspiration with Norton’s trusted editorial standards to deliver the finest teaching anthology available.

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Ellison's "King of the Bingo Game" encompasses a variety of different implications that transform an otherwise sad short story into a political statement regarding racial injustice towards African Americans. Ralph Waldo Ellison was born March 1, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Lewis Alfred and Ida Millsap Ellison.

At the beginning of this century, Oklahoma had not been a state for very long and was still considered a part of the frontier. Ralph Ellison’s “King of the Bingo Game” is, as is most of his work, an interesting study of Black identity. I found this story particularly interesting because of my current contact with immigrants.

The director of the center where I work constantly reminds me and the other .

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