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The Westing Game

The Westing Game


by Ellen Raskin

Grace Windsor Wexler

Character Analysis

Amazing Grace

If you're anything like us, you have a really confusing opinion of great white sharks. On the one hand: yikes. They're terrifying. They're pure evil. On the other hand: aww. They're just doing their sharky thing. They can't help being carnivores.

Well, we feel same way about Grace Wexler. Basically, it's hard to know whether to hate Grace or feel sorry for her.

She's easily the most pretentious character, and a contender for the most obnoxious, too. She fancies herself an interior decorator, but she's doesn't really have a career: the narrator's neutral on the subject of Grace's design skills, and we never meet any paying clients for her design business. Is she just a big fat phony?

We could play a game of what her worst qualities are—possibly her racist comments to the Hoos and Judge Ford or her attitude about money and class; or maybe it's her sense of entitlement or sometimes inadvertent cruelty towards other members of her family. She ignores and puts down one daughter while stifling the other:

Can't you see she's busy with Angela's wedding dress? And why must you wear a silly costume like that? Really, Turtle, I don't know why you insist on making yourself ugly. (3.15)

And yet, there's goodness in Grace Wexler. Deep down, she's embarrassed about herself and her family background. It's easy to see how her fears of not being good enough translate into her acting like she's too good for everyone—she fits the adage of "hurt people hurt people" to a T.

Ultimately, we end up liking prickly and pompous Grace. She shows that she has intelligence and pluck—she does great things for Mr. Hoo's restaurant business. Even though she meets with opposition and a lack of support from others, she sticks to her idea for "Hoo's on First" and turns it into a flourishing chain of businesses. Through this business success, she shows the same kind of entrepreneurial spirit Turtle polishes in finance.