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King of the Bingo Game

King of the Bingo Game


by Ralph Ellison

Bingo Caller

Character Analysis

The bingo caller is a one-dimensional character who fails to recognize the protagonist as a real person with his own concerns. The bingo caller consistently refers to the protagonist as "boy," which was a (rather derogatory) common form of address that white people used in Ellison's day for a black man. Ellison is very interested in this idea of sight. Who is seen? How are they seen? Clearly, the bingo caller sees the protagonist as simply one of many contestants, and as one of many African-Americans. We know, however, that the protagonist is a man with his own narrative, his own concerns, and his own desperate reasons for playing the game.