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The Westing Game

The Westing Game


by Ellen Raskin

Chris Theodorakis

Character Analysis

Watching Way More Than Just Birds

Guys, if you finish reading The Westing Game with just one epiphany, let it be: "Don't judge a book by its cover." (Although the cover of The Westing Game is almost as awesome as its story, tbh.)

Case in point: Chris Theodorakis. He's way more than people give him credit for. Many of the characters in this book initially dismiss CK as "that wheelchair kid." Big mistake.

Chris's one of the most thoughtful, considerate characters in the book... although many of the other characters don't take him seriously, ignore him, or think of him purely in terms of his handicap. We're not really sure what his physical condition is. Dr. Deere defines it as "pyramidal tract involvement" (5.31), and what that seems to mean for Chris is that he's in a wheelchair, doesn't have control over his body, and has trouble speaking.

But his mind is working like a well-oiled machine. He's one of the most observant, insightful, and enthusiastic players in the Westing game. And he uses those awesome character traits to forge his career.

From the moment we meet Chris, we know that he has one deep, abiding passion—birdwatching:

Theo wanted to sign the receipt for his brother, but Chris insisted on doing it himself. Slowly, taking great pains, he wrote Christos Theodorakis, birdwatcher. (4.38)

He uses his keen powers of perception, his patience and his uncanny ability to study the world around him and turns what would be a hobby for many people into a full time job—he ends up studying ornithology at university and even discovering rare species of parrot. Let's hear it for Chris and his feathered friends.