King of the Bingo Game Essay

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Greg Barnhisel is a writer and editor at the University of Texas at Austin. In the following essay, he addresses the narrative structure of "King of the Bingo Game." Barnhisel also discusses themes within the story and Ellison's feelings about being a black writer in America.

Ralph Ellison struggled through much of his career with his role as a black American writer. Alternately patronized and exalted in his early career, by the 1960s the militant tone of the black intellectual world deemed him irrelevant. Activists of the civil-rights movement preferred the militancy and anger of works like Black Boy, (written by Richard Wright, one of Ellison's mentors) over Ellison's moderate stance. Ellison never felt comfortable with what he saw as the limitations of the genre of "Negro literature." "I am a human being, and not just the black successor to Richard Wright," he wrote, "and there are ways...

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This section contains 1,822 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the King of the Bingo Game Study Guide
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King of the Bingo Game from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.