Literary Analysis.





Literary Analysis.

“King of the bingo game” by Ralph Ellison, is a discussion of a man who is in desperate need of money and ends up cheating at a bingo game. The story is centered on a desperate man In search of answers and solutions in a world he has no control over. The search for solutions in the cruel world results into a fatal ending. How can one get the good things and avoid the awful things? Ellison’s portrays fate and how optimistic people are, as they hope for the best of luck even in situations that are not promising. “King of the Bingo Game” delves on profound and insightful themes and occurrences in the human life that is often overlooked.

“King of the Bingo Game” begins with the mention of the protagonist that sits impatiently in the movie theater waiting for the Bingo to begin. The Bingo game was a popular form of entertainment in the late 1930s and early 1940s. From the story, we understand that the protagonist is from the south and now lives in the North but has been unable to get a job because he does not possess a birth certificate. What is driving him to play the Bingo Game is that he hopes to win the jackpot, which he will eventually use to pay for Laura’s medical fees. The game eventually starts and the King of Bingo has an advantage because he is playing with five cards. He achieves Bingo and he is called to try his luck in winning the jackpot by spinning the wheel. He gets on stage and spins the wheel and at the back of his mind, he feels that he has control over his life and feel empowered and thinks that he will have the ability to foot the medical bill and save the life of his wife.

There are important themes taking centre stage in “King of the Bingo Game. “ Ellison highlights on the theme Fate and free will and in this case, it is discussed through the lenses of race and origin. The main character is a desperate individual who feels like he has eventually been handed the chance to take charge of his life and make something meaningful out of it. The story to shed light on how difficult it may be for an individual to try to control his life in an unfair system. “Yes sir, ladies and gentlemen, he’s one of the chosen people!” CITATION Ral44 p 26 l 1033 (Ellison 26). The line is an illustration that the King of Bingo has been chosen because of his race. in addition it illustrates that the Bingo game has the ability to control the fate of individuals. The protagonist also believes that his predicaments are as a result of the bingo wheel. He strongly believes that what he has gone through was due to the while and feel hopeful that by spinning the wheel the mishaps in his life will be sorted. “He felt vaguely that his whole life was determined by the bingo wheel; not only that which would happen now that he was at last before it, but all that had gone before, since his birth and his mother’s birth and the birth of his father.” (32). Free will is the author’s main idea. There is a discussion on how certain instances may affect how individuals make their decision but at the end of the day people make decisions, basing on what they feel and think is right for them. in the King of the Bingo Game for example the protagonists decides whether to continue spinning or leave the stage because doesn’t want to make a fool out of himself. “I better get down from here before I make a fool of myself, he thought.” CITATION Ral44 p 32 l 1033 (Ellison 32) Ellison further shows how the protagonist tried to master and take control of his fate and fortune by having tremendous hope that the wheel will land on the double zero mark which result in him winning the jack pot. “He steeled himself; the fear had left, and he felt a profound sense of promise, as though he were about to be repaid for all the things he’d suffered all his life. Trembling, he pressed the button.” CITATION Ral44 p 44 l 1033 (Ellison 44)From the story, the author describes how situations may isolate people from a group. It is evident that isolation at times enables people make decisions that actively influence their lives. The protagonist went an extra mile to isolate himself and to purposely think that he could win the jackpot and not just a meal like everyone else. “Those folks did not understand what had happened to him. They had been playing the bingo game day in and night out for years, trying to win rent money or hamburger change. However, not one of those wise guys had discovered this wonderful thing CITATION Ral44 p 49 l 1033 (Ellison 49).Theme of rules and order is also discussed in the story, the game is governed by very unfair rules that make it difficult to win. It highlights on the societal rule at the time of the story. there is a definite mention of how difficult it is to break free from the rules and orders set by the dominating group of individuals and in this case the whites is the dominating society. “He and only he could determine whether or not it was to be his. Not even the man with the microphone could do anything about it now.” He and only he could determine whether it was to be his. Not even the man with the microphone could do anything about it now CITATION Ral44 p 44 l 1033 (Ellison 44)The literary devices used in the story include symbolism. The spinning of the wheel is symbolically linked to a matter of life or death. The protagonist is motivated to spin the wheel thinking he will save the life of the woman he loves and once he presses the button to spin the wheel he believes he has control over his life and the live of the person he adores. The use of the term double Zero is also symbolic. It is odd to have the winning number as a double zero it is clear that the protagonist was bound to loose from the beginning. it is important to note that Irony has been utilized as a device. It is ironical to term the protagonist as the king of the Bingo game and yet he ends up being in a worst place than where he first was at first. there is no evident win or any form of dominion in the end. As the curtain comes down it hits the protagonist and he is left in a position of weakness worse than how he even began.

The story disputes the standard idea about America and living the American dream of equal opportunity for all. The wheel of the bingo game tints the idea that all individual are created equally and are free to pursue life, freedom, and happiness. This is because he could not live a normal American life as the wheel, which determines his life and fortune, ruins it. The bingo king put all his hopes on the wheel to be able to make his problems disappear, the wheel controlled his fortune. The thought of fairness or independence seems impossible to expect from a machine, which determine fate quickly. The bingo king realized that his life would have a meaning by constantly spinning the wheel. The failure of soundness leads to his death.

In conclusion, individuals battle and try to solve mysteries that are a times close to impossible to solve, yet they try every single day with the hope that they will achieve and be the best at what they think will save them and those that depend on them. Ellison gives a definite illustration of a person’s relationship with fate and more specifically how a black person tackles fate.

Work Cited

Ellison, Ralph. “King of the bingo game.” Flying home and other stories (1944):