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King Of The Bingo Game Analysis

Decent Essays
In Ralph Ellison’s pre-civil rights Northern United States, a Bingo game takes place. A poor black man is attempting to the play the game to pay off medical bills of so a female figure in his life- Laura, can live. The man wins bingo and goes up to the stage to spin the wheel and earn the cash prize, but he can’t let go of the button that controls the wheel. The audience and white men don’t like it and grow unruly, tackling him on stage. In that moment he sees he spun the winning numbers, but is subsequently knocked unconscious. This is a man who is underprivileged because of his race, who is without any advantage or luck of any kind, without any identity. This man who so clearly loves Laura so much, that because Laura’s life depends on whether he wins or loses, so does his. It is not unreasonable to believe that in the end he does not win the prize- does not save Laura’s life and his own- even though he followed the rules and won. He loses everything- his identity, Laura’s life- and his own hope of going on. In “King of the Bingo Game,” Ralph Ellison illustrates the risk of death that black people experience simply by existing, and that a black person is fated to lose his life and identity over the faux generosity of white people, all of which can be taken away if the white man decides so.
Ellison immediately begins the story showing that this unnamed man is underprivileged and wanting. We hear about his hunger when Ellison wrote, “The woman in front of him was eating
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