King of the Bingo Game Analysis

Style and Technique (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“King of the Bingo Game” is written in a naturalistic style and from a third-person, limited point of view. The first technique reinforces the gritty, realistic quality of the story, and the second puts the reader in the place of the protagonist and helps the reader to experience the confusion that he feels.

A naturalistic style dictates that a writer describe the physical reality of a scene, such as the first detail noted in the story, the smell of the peanuts that makes the protagonist hungry. Throughout the story, physical details predominate—the feeling of whiskey moving through the protagonist’s body, the blinding lights, the odor of the announcer’s hair oil, all compel the reader to see, feel, and even smell what the protagonist is experiencing.

The third-person, limited point of view conveys information about the story as it is seen by only one person, but allows Ellison to use language that that character himself would not use, unlike the first-person point of view, in which the vocabulary of the story must be that of the main character. The use of this technique means that the reader experiences the same feelings of bewilderment and excitement that the protagonist does, but they are presented in language more vivid than he himself might use. Because the protagonist does not feel himself to be a part of the world that he inhabits, the movie house, its patrons, and the procedure of the bingo game are a welter of disconnected...

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King of the Bingo Game Historical Context

Race in the South
Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma City, and during his childhood he encountered opposition from the city's...

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King of the Bingo Game Literary Style

Narration and Point of View
"King of the Bingo Game" utilizes a third-person narrator who is inside the consciousness of the...

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King of the Bingo Game Compare and Contrast

1944: Many Southern black Americans move North in what is known as the "Great Migration" in an attempt to secure jobs.

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King of the Bingo Game Topics for Further Study

Research the ''Great Migration'' of African Americans from the South to the large Northern cities in the 1930s and 1940s. How does the...

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King of the Bingo Game What Do I Read Next?

Invisible Man, Ellison's only published novel, is one of the acknowledged classics of twentieth-century fiction. Published in 1952 and...

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King of the Bingo Game Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Deutsch, Leonard J. "Ralph Ellison," in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 2. American Novelists since...

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King of the Bingo Game Bibliography (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

De Santis, Christopher C. “’Some Cord of Kinship Stronger and Deeper than Blood’: An Interview with John F. Callahan, Editor of Ralph Ellison’s Juneteenth.African American Review 34, no. 4 (2000): 601-621.

Hersey, John. Ralph Ellison: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974.

Hobson, Christopher Z. “Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth, and African American Prophecy.” MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 51, no. 3 (2005): 617-647.

Jackson, Lawrence. Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius. New York: John Wiley & Sons,...

(The entire section is 178 words.)