Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
We thought Ralph Ellison pulled a neat literary trick towards the end with the curtain coming down on the stage. But we should back up for a moment. As the protagonist moves from the audience to the stage, he goes from being a spectator to being an actor. This carries all sorts of interesting implications, namely, that once on stage he is now able to act. He is able to control the button that controls the wheel that controls his fate. Unfortunately, every show must come to an end, and for our protagonist, that end comes the traditional way: with the curtain coming down.