King of the Bingo Game
The wheel of fortune is an old concept that dates back to ancient philosophy referring to fate. The wheel belonged to the goddess Fortuna who would spin the wheel which for some meant great suffering and others great fortune. Ralph Ellison uses the motif of the wheel of fortune to express the feelings of the main character while here is on stage. This is a nameless man who has been driven down so terribly that he now has to turn to a bingo game so that he can raise the money to hopefully save his wife from death by be able to pay for a doctor. Ellison never gives the character a name for the fact that the reader can make a personal connection with the story and wheel without making it apply to just one person. The story starts out with the man sitting in the bingo hall thinking about the food and drinks that everyone around him has, wishing he could ask them for some but being from the south and no longer at home it is not right. This gives you the sense from the beginning that he has gone through many struggles because he is hungry and thirsty. You also see this the man says "I'm just broke, cause I got no birth certificate to get a job, and Laura bout to die cause we got no money for a doctor.(pg 228). He was playing bingo with five cards to increase his chances of winning but he was not very confident at all and really had no chance of winning. Then that chance finally came and the idea of the wheel of fortune came into the story. He couldn't believe he won as Ellison describes "When he saw the row of holes punched across the third card, he sat paralyzed and heard the man call three more numbers before he stumbled forward, screaming, and "Bingo! Bingo!"" He was finally going to be able to spin the wheel of fortune to see if he could get that money he needed for his wife. The lucky number was the double zero and all he needed was for it to land on that number and it was like his life would change forever. You get this when Ellison...
Bibliography: 1) Ellison, Ralph. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. 7th ed. "King of the Bingo Game". New York: W. W. Norton Company, Inc., 2006. 228-235.
2) "The Wheel of Fortune." Wikipedia. 7 Nov. 2006. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 27 Nov. 2006 .
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