A Game Of Equality Essay

747 words - 3 pages

King of the Bingo Game is a short story written by Ralph Ellison, first published in 1944. The key characters in the story are the game announcer, the King, and the dying woman, Laura. Laura is the embodiment of equality sought by African-Americans. The King represents the aspiring African-American. The bingo announcer represents the unobtainable status of the white man. The characters in King of the Bingo Game are used to explain the situation of African-Americans during the early 1900s.
The bingo announcer in the story represents the unobtainable status of the white man. In the story, the bingo announcer is described as a “slick looking white man with a slick suit.” The man is on a stage, set above the audience, bathed in bright flashing lights. When the King enters the bingo announcer’s territory, the narrator says the lights “blinded him, and he felt that he had moved into the spell of some strange mysterious power.” The King’s knees tremble, the announcer’s pomade makes him feel faint, and he feels like he must quickly exit the stage before he makes a fool of himself. Jerry Watts explains a phenomenon in which a victimized African-American, “creates a fictitious, white standard-bearer that he cannot possibly measure up to or satisfy.” (Watts 120) This standard-bearer is the bingo announcer, the man on a stage, set above the “negroes” in the audience below. African-Americans in the early 1900s exhibited a victimized mentality that kept them mentally inferior to the white man.
The King represents the aspiring African-American. During the story, the King joins the bingo announcer on stage. At first, he feels intimidated, but the bingo announcer demands that he stay and spin the wheel. He is given a chance to attain the goal of true equality (win the bingo game and save “Laura”). As he begins the wheel spinning, he decides that the only way to truly win is to keep the wheel spinning. The (black) audience becomes irritated with the prolonged nature of the King’s spin, and is described as ashamed of the black man on stage. Howard Brotz explains African-Americans in the early 1900s, “manifested an exuberance and self-confidence that partook of the spirit of an...

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