In the short story, “King of the Bingo Game”, published in 1944, Ralph Ellison explains a man’s brief journey to attain freedom from his oppressing and segregating society, while economically assisting his ailing wife. He is granted the opportunity to control his destiny and alter his life forever. He portrays the hope of endless possibilities, as well as anticipated control over one’s future. In the other short story, “The Lesson”, published in 1960, Toni Cade Bambara explores the concept of social and economic injustice during the Civil Rights Movement period. Both of these literary works encompass the theme of predominating one’s destiny to be liberated from a socially and economic society during an era of segregation in American history.
In Ralph Ellison's "King of the Bingo Game", the African American narrator, whose name is unknown, finds himself in a position where he has the power to control his own destiny for once, or so he thinks. The reader learns that he is from the South, but has come up North, and is taking his shot at a bingo game. He is broke, hungry, his wife is dying, and he hopes to win the cash prize of $36.90 to help her. He eventually is called up to spin the wheel for a chance at the prize, but he freezes, and doesn't let go of the button. This is despite the fact that he explained how a short, quick press can land a winning double zero. He calls himself the "king of the bingo game" and keeps holding down the button until two officers drag him off
“Poverty is an anomaly to rich people- It is difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.” (Bagehot, inequality.org) Rick Bragg’s All Over But The Shoutin’ depicts an inequality in Alabama that is not commonly spoken of: the struggles of a white family in the 60s and 70s. While Bragg and his two brothers were raised by an impoverished single mother, his dream to one day live as though he were ‘middle class’ carried him. Bragg grows up to write for the New York Times and eventually buy his mother a new house. Throughout the memoir Bragg expresses his belief that one’s future is not defined by their past. This statement holds true for Bragg and others in his life. All Over But The Shoutin’ is proof that where someone starts in life has little to no effect on where they will end up.
Deborah Reber a famous poet once stated, “Letting go doesn't mean that you don't care about someone anymore. It's just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” Letting go of a loved one is never an easy decision to make because in reality, decisions will not keep the loved one alive. By allowing a loved one to be at peace, a person gives allows himself the opportunity to be at peace with whatever trial he faces. In “King of the Bingo Game” author Ralph Ellison includes the bingo wheel, the beam of light, and bingo button to act as symbolism, to show the trials he was facing in life.
Ralph Ellison’s “King of the Bingo Game” is the story about an unnamed black man, in the 1930’s, who is hoping to win the bingo game that is being held at the local cinema, in order win enough money to pay for his gravely ill wife to see a doctor. The central idea of this story is about race, and the inability for a person to be the master of his or her own destiny, when they live in an unfair and prejudicial system.
Racism is an issue that blacks face, and have faced throughout history directly and indirectly. Ralph Ellison has done a great job in demonstrating the effects of racism on individual identity through a black narrator. Throughout the story, Ellison provides several examples of what the narrator faced in trying to make his-self visible and acceptable in the white culture. Ellison engages the reader so deeply in the occurrences through the narrator’s agony, confusion, and ambiguity. In order to understand the narrators plight, and to see things through his eyes, it is important to understand that main characters of the story which contributes to his plight as well as the era in which the story takes place.
When he actually wins bingo the story goes from metaphor to reality. As he steps on stage the men on stage berate him with racial slurs, as does the crowd. They call him ?boy,? and say that ?he?s one of the chosen people.? People yell, ?Are you all-reet,? and the announcer says ?So you decided to come off that mountain to the U.S.? All of this confuses the man because he is so consumed with the desire to win the money that he can not understand they are making fun of him. He cautiously grins, knowing that they are probably making fun of him, but he is consumed with his own anxiety.
In Tattoos on the Heart, the reader accompanies Father Gregory Boyle throughout a series of heart-warming conversions he conducts through his interactions with numerous gang members in the Los Angeles projects. Likewise, J.D. Vance in Hillbilly Elegy constructs a memoir of his tumultuous upbringing in the Midwest as well as of his familial roots in Kentucky. A commonality throughout the novels is the poverty faced by members of these communities and how it contributes to the conflicts that drive the plot. The topic of poverty, its causes, and possible solutions has always interested me a lot due to a concept of the Lottery of Birth, which is a philosophical position that comes up frequently in my debate competitions. Basically, where we are born, in terms of one’s position and class in society, is arbitrary; I did not choose to be born in the socioeconomically comfortable neighborhood of Massapequa Park. This is a perpetual unfairness to which there is no solution, but there has to be some action that can alleviate the suffering of the over three billion people worldwide who live on less than three dollars a day (DoSomething.org).
Once the protagonist is given the button to control the bingo wheel he tells himself his plan “… give the wheel a short quick twirl. Just a touch of the button” (586). He held on to the button, tightening his grip, as the wheel increased in speed, it drawing “ him more and more into its power” (587). 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. Instead of following his plan he continued to let the wheel spin, watching the numbers as they whirled by, he then burst out “This is God! This is the really truly God! He said it aloud, ‘This is God!’” (587). He experiences total power, he loves it. He controls the entire audience’s attention as he holds the button and feels more and more power. 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
The 1940s represent a decade of turmoil for the United States in general. Perhaps no group of people struggled more during that time period, however, than African Americans. With racial segregation prevalent, particularly in the South, opportunity was lacking for African-Americans. However, Ralph Ellison suggests in “Battle Royal” that due to the lack of racial unity among black men as well as a certain amount of naiveté, black men prevented themselves from succeeding more so than their white oppressors.
The American Dream is a concept that has been instilled in the minds of citizens for much of America’s history. The Dream is the idea that everyone is equal and that anyone can start with nothing and become successful through hard work and perseverance. Unfortunately, due to prejudices and discrimination, the American Dream has not been attainable for all races and ethnicities that have immigrated to this country in search of a better life. Instead, it has been quite the opposite: no matter how much hard work and perseverance one puts forth, he/she is always beaten down by those in a higher social class. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird explores the concept of the failing American Dream by examining discrimination, prejudice, and social hierarchy in 1930’s Maycomb, Alabama.
Toni Cade Bambara’s "The Lesson" revolves around a young black girl’s struggle to come to terms with the role that economic injustice, and the larger social injustice that it constitutes, plays in her life. Sylvia, the story’s protagonist, initially is reluctant to acknowledge that she is a victim of poverty. Far from being oblivious of the disparity between the rich and the poor, however, one might say that on some subconscious level, she is in fact aware of the inequity that permeates society and which contributes to her inexorably disadvantaged economic situation. That she relates poverty to shame—"But I feel funny, shame. But what I got to be
Henry ford, once wisely said,’’ History is more less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's dam is the history we made today’’. “The Lottery” and “Harrison Bergeron” are the best deprivation short stories. Harrison Bergeron” and “The Lottery” both reveal that it is human nature to blindly want a better situation without considering all the possible outcomes. Not just in these stories, but also in reality, people want to attain an equal society, although many people do not consider how everyone will become equal, in ‘’Harrison Bergeron’’ He is afraid of everything and try to enlighten to other member of society and In Shirley Jackson’s ‘’The Lottery’’ the story shows winning the lottery is bad, but in the lottery the lucky winner who draws the winning paper then gets the prize of being stoned death. Jackson uses Tessie Hutchinson’s character to condemn force. However, both stories are false equality and blind traditions but both societies while awareness is the difference between them.
There are three characters in the story. The protagonist and his wife are struggling with their life and emphasize the theme of hopelessness. The protagonist is a nameless African American who comes from the southern U.S. At the beginning of the story, he is watching a movie of a woman tied down to a bed. He tries to enjoy the movie, but Laura comes to his mind. Laura is the protagonist’s wife, as well as the incentive for the man to win the bingo game. The man is powerless and hopeless in the society, “he gets no birth certificate to get a job and Laura ‘bout to die’ cause they have no money for a doctor” (242). Thus, winning the bingo game is the only way he can pay a doctor to treat his sick wife. He must win the game because it is his only chance to save her. After he finds he gets all the bingo numbers correct, standing on the stage to spin the wheel to win the prize. He feels compelled to press the button because there is a voice in his mind: “who held the prize who was the king of bingo (246).” The man wants to be the king and overcomes all the difficulties in order to control his own life. He hopes to keep the bingo wheel whirling forever, only in this way Laura will be safe and he has the imagery that “if she is not safe, the wheel will cease
The narrator of Ralph Ellison’s “King of the Bingo Game” is a scared but fighting man. The protagonist of this story is an African American man. He is from Rocky Mont, North Carolina. In the story, his wife Laura is ill and will die if they are not able to take her to a doctor. He is playing a game of bingo in order to try to win the daily jackpot, so he can take Laura to the doctors. He gets bingo and is called up to the front to spin the wheel, but when he goes up to spin the wheel he is not able to let go of the button. He is having a hard time letting go of problems that are occurring in his life. Ralph Ellison’s “King of the Bingo Game” is about an African-American who is trying to cope with many different conflicts in his life throughout one bingo game.
Toni Cade Bambara addresses how knowledge is the means by which one can escape out of poverty in her story The Lesson. In her story she identifies with race, economic inequality, and literary epiphany during the early 1970’s. In this story children of African American progeny come face to face with their own poverty and reality. This realism of society’s social standard was made known to them on a sunny afternoon field trip to a toy store on Fifth Avenue. Through the use of an African American protagonist Miss Moore and antagonist Sylvia who later becomes the sub protagonist and White society the antagonist “the lesson” was ironically taught.
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a story of an unusual town caught in a trap of always following tradition, even when it is not in their best interest. Jackson uses symbols throughout the story that relate to the overall theme. This helps the reader clearly understand her main message. Jackson uses setting, tone and symbols to convey a theme to her audience. By doing so she creates significant connections to the theme using old man Warner and the black box as examples.