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King of the Bingo Game

King of the Bingo Game


by Ralph Ellison

 Table of Contents

King of the Bingo Game Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Bingo Wheel

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...

The Movie

"King of the Bingo Game" is a doomed story from the start. Although the protagonist momentarily believes that he really can control his destiny, he's ultimately trapped in a "fixed" world. The worl...

The Woman Tied to the Bed

Scholars have suggested that this woman (from the movie, remember?) metaphorically represents the protagonist and Laura. As the woman is tied to the "white beam," so the protagonist and Laura are s...

Double Zero

Did you think it was odd that the winning number is a double zero? We certainly did, and we think it reflects the ultimate hopelessness of the entire situation. (This interpretation would support t...


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 th...

Light and Darkness

In "King of the Bingo Game," the glaring light of the stage constitutes a space where the protagonist is able to experience revelation. In other words, his literal shift from sitting in the darknes...


No, there are no actual trains in "King of the Bingo." But there are two imaginary ones. We see the first one relatively early in the story, as the protagonist falls asleep and has a dream based on...

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