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Free Study Guide for The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

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THE WESTING GAME STUDY GUIDE / SUMMARY

KEY FACTS

Title
The Westing Game

Author
Ellen Raskin

Date Published
1978

Meaning of Title
The game that Sam Westing's heirs must play in order to win his inheritance.

Setting
The outskirts of fictional Westingtown, on Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee.


Genre
Mystery

Protagonist
The sixteen Westing heirs, particularly Turtle Wexler and Judge Ford.

Antagonist
Sam "Windy" Windkloppel and his various guises of Sam Westing, Barney Northrup, Sandy McSouthers, and Julian Eastman.

Mood
Light, often humorous in its observation of character foibles.

Point of View
Third person

Tense
Past tense

Exposition
The majority of the future Westing heirs are invited to live in the newly built Sunset Towers, which is situated near the seemingly abandoned house of Sam Westing, owner of the Westing Paper company.

Rising Action
The sixteen heirs of Sam Westing's will are invited to play a game that will solve the mystery of which heir among them took Westing's life.

Climax
After all the heirs get their answer to the Westing game wrong, doorman Sandy McSouthers dies and Berthe Erica Crow hands herself in to the police for murdering Sam Westing. Through Turtle Wexler and Judge Ford, the other heirs find out Sandy was actually Sam Westing, Crow his long-estranged ex-wife, and that Westing died of a heart attack, thus freeing Crow of any blame.

Outcome
Turtle Wexler figures out the true game of Sam Westing's will and that he still is not dead but assumed the guise of Julian Eastman, Westing Paper's recently elected chairman.

Major Themes
Information and how it is interpreted, identity and how people define themselves, family.

Minor Themes
Games, work and education, the American dream, the unexpected directions in life.

 

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