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King of the Bingo Game

King of the Bingo Game


Ralph Ellison


Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

King of the Bingo Game Analysis

Literary Devices in King of the Bingo Game

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Before the Wheel of Fortune became an American game show starring Pat Sajak and Vanna White, it was a medieval concept referring to a wheel spun by the goddess of Fate. The wheel would determine th...


What's the Great Migration, you might ask? Although we normally refer such questions to Shmoop History, we'll give you a quick rundown here. From 1910-1950, conditions in the South were horrible, a...

Narrator Point of View

The entire story is told from the point of view of a man we only know as "the protagonist" or "King of the Bingo Game." We stay with him throughout the story as he smells, hears, thinks, or moves....


Let's start with the sheer intensity of the images presented to us. The very first line, "The woman in front of him was eating roasted peanuts that smelled so good that he could barely contain his...


Think about the subject matter to start – we have a nameless, broke protagonist trying desperately to save the woman he loves. It would be difficult to take any kind of tone other than sadnes...

Writing Style

Ellison was really into music (especially jazz), and his literary efforts tend to be inspired by the musical form. Jazz has a long-standing tradition of drawing on different styles to create a full...

What's Up With the Title?

"King of the Bingo Game" refers to the nameless protagonist of the story, who, as he continues pressing the button controlling the spinning bingo wheel, forgoes his African-American identity for a...

What's Up With the Ending?

We're going to break the ending down for you in two different ways. First of all, we have to deal with the protagonist. Although he was in a bad position at the start of the story (he has no money,...

Plot Analysis

The protagonist waits for the bingo game to begin.The first few pages of the story serve as a prelude to the real action, namely, the bingo game. During this time, we learn the protagonist's situat...


Ralph Waldo Ellison's was named after the famous writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. (Source)Ralph Ellison completed three years of a music major at Tuskegee Institute before going to New York in 1936. (So...

Steaminess Rating

Definitely no sex to be seen here. A fair amount of violence, though, if that catches your attention.

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