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King of the Bingo Game

King of the Bingo Game

by Ralph Ellison

Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Yessir, ladies and gentlemen, he's one of the chosen people!" (26)

This line from the bingo caller helps reinforce the notion that the bingo game is deterministic. It controls people's fate. At the same time, however, the line carries a subtle undertone – the protagonist is, in fact, chosen and marked by his race.

Quote #2

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)

The protagonist suddenly blames the bingo wheel for all the oppression he has experienced in his life (and that his ancestors have experienced). This fits in with the bingo wheel as the wheel of fortune (see "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory").

Quote #3

I better get down from here before I make a fool of myself, he thought. (32)

Does this represent a moment where the protagonist might have exercised his free will?

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