The Westing Game
by Ellen Raskin
The Westing Game Theme of Family
There are two kinds of families in The Westing Game: the family you choose and the family you're born into. Westing doesn't just leave his estate to a relative; he creates a game of strategy that will help him find the best heir possible. If his estate ends up with a relative, that's great, but it's not a requirement. Similarly, Turtle forges a strong relationship with Flora when she realizes she won't get the kind of maternal care she needs from her own mother. In contrast, though, the sibling relationships we see in the book are really tight. Theo takes great care of Chris, and Turtle looks out for Angela. What we see there is a lot of love and support.
Questions About Family
- How would you compare the sibling relationships in this book (between Angela and Turtle, and Theo and Chris)? How are they similar, and how are they different?
- There are several unhappy mothers – Grace, Flora, and Crow – in this text, and each of them deals with her unhappiness differently. Choose two mothers and compare how each of them deals with her feelings about her children.
- We learn a lot about many of the characters because of how they interact with their family members, and the choices they make when doing so. What should we think about characters whose families we never see? What does the absence of their families tell us about them?
- If you had to be related to one person in this book, who would it be and why?
Chew on This
While family bonds can be a strong support for some characters in The Westing Game, it's through the unlikely friendships they form with their teammates that they create even more supportive kinds of family.
Family inspires the strongest kind of loyalty in The Westing Game – even when family members are embarrassing or act stupid, their relatives stand up for or take care of them, even if it means harming themselves in the process.