“The Garden Party” and “King of the Bingo Game” feature characters who are oppressed and/or degraded because of their class or race.Compare and/or contrast the presentation of the working...

“The Garden Party” and “King of the Bingo Game” feature characters who are oppressed and/or degraded because of their class or race.

Compare and/or contrast the presentation of the working class characters and neighbours in “The Garden Party” with that of the African-Americans in “King of the Bingo Game.”

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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You are right in identifying the way that both of these texts include characters or a specific group of people that are oppressed and degrated. Clearly, in "The Garden Party," this group takes the form of the working class that are ignored and looked down upon, even when one of them dies. Note how Mrs. Sheridan responds to Laura's naivety as suggesting that they cancel the party:

"You are being very absurd, Laura," she said coldly. "People like that don't expect sacrifices from us. And it's not very sympathetic to spoil everybody's enjoyment as you're doing now."

Mrs. Sheridan's tone and words make it clear that the position of the working class is below them, and that they are not supposed to make "sacrifices" for such people. The grief and individual tragedy of the Scott family must not be allowed to interfere with the planned festivities of the Sheridan family.

In "King of the Bingo Game," the theme of racism is obviously at the forefront of the reader's consciousness. The way in which the Bingo King is shown to be doubly alienated, both by whites and by blacks, highlights this theme. The Bingo King's country ways are mocked and ridiculed, by both the emcee and the audience, that laugh at him. In an ironic twist, the Bingo King is shown to get his revenge against the audience through his defiance of Fate as he stands on the stage and refuses to stop the wheel from turning. Note his thoughts that highlight the oppressed position that he and blacks occupy:

All the Negroes down there were just ashamed because he was black like them. Most of the time he was ashamed at what Negroes did himself. Well, let them be ashamed for something this time. Like him.

Clearly, the violence with which the story ends indicates the position that a black man occupies in the world of this novel.

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