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Free Study Guide for The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

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The complete study guide is currently available as a downloadable PDF, RTF, or MS Word DOC file from the PinkMonkey MonkeyNotes download store. The complete study guide contains summaries and notes for all of the chapters; detailed analysis of the themes, plot structure, and characters; important quotations and analysis; detailed analysis of symbolism, motifs, and imagery; a key facts summary; detailed analysis; a multiple-choice quiz, and suggested book report ideas and essay topics.


THE WESTING GAME STUDY GUIDE / SUMMARY


SYMBOLISM / MOTIFS / IMAGERY / SYMBOLS

The primary motif of the novel is the game of Sam Westing's will. This can be broken down into two parts: the will itself and the game it sets in motion.

The motif of the will ties into the sense of inheritance, of being able to pass along one's legacy to others. In that sense, the Westing game succeeds: an heir is indeed chosen when Turtle Wexler solves the mystery and tracks down Julian Eastman. The will not only stands as a set of clues to the game, but also as a statement by Sam Westing to people he's wronged or neglected. In that sense, the will is an embodiment of regret, a desire to right previous wrongs and to erase the bad history from the past to pave a way for the future. In this way, it defies death and asserts control over one's legacy and those who earn that legacy. As a player and manipulator in the game, Sam Westing does exactly these things throughout the course of the novel, though he only pretends to die - twice - in order to do so.

A game has certain characteristics: it is a challenge placed on the players, there are a set of rules that must be followed, and the goal is to win. All of this is indeed imposed on the Westing heirs, though the goal of winning is left nebulous by Sam Westing on purpose, tying into the theme of interpretation and the many ways it can take place. The notion of a game also lightens the mood of the story, keeps the violent threats - of a murderer and then a bomber - from making the novel too threatening. Indeed, several of the Westing heirs don't believe that Sam Westing was murdered and some simply don't treat the game seriously at all.

Other games are also played in the course of the novel: the mystery begins with a dare that Turtle Wexler accepts to stay in the Westing house, while Douglas Hoo's pursuit of Otis Amber is treated by Otis like a game of tag. The most important game outside of the will is chess, a game that takes great intellectual effort and a keen sense of strategy. Quite tellingly, all the heirs play chess in the novel do so against a different disguise of Sam Windkloppel: young Josie-Jo Ford plays the game against Sam Westing, Chris Theodorakis plays unwittingly against Sandy McSouthers, and Turtle Wexler plays........

 

The complete study guide is currently available as a downloadable PDF, RTF, or MS Word DOC file from the PinkMonkey MonkeyNotes download store. The complete study guide contains summaries and notes for all of the chapters; detailed analysis of the themes, plot structure, and characters; important quotations and analysis; detailed analysis of symbolism, motifs, and imagery; a key facts summary; detailed analysis; a multiple-choice quiz, and suggested book report ideas and essay topics.

 

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The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin-Free BookNotes Summary


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