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The Westing Game

The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Your name and position will be read as signed on the receipt.

It will be up to the other players to discover who you really are. (7.8-9)

Right away, the will splits up the concepts of names and defined positions from the identities people "really are" deep inside. In a way, figuring out who everybody else is becomes almost as much of a mystery as figuring out who the murderer is/winning the game. As we know from Sam Westing's experiences, names have very little to do with a person's real identity.

Quote #5

She must seem as pompous as that intern, putting on airs with that title. Well, she had worked hard to get where she was, why shouldn't she be proud of it? She was no token; her record was faultless. (7.15)

Judge Ford defines herself here both by what she is and what she doesn't want to be. She's worried about being a "token" – being evaluated based only on her looks/race – so she thinks about what she has done, defining herself by hard work and a clean record. She's conflicted between sounding arrogant about her achievements and trying to justify her understandable pride in them to herself.

Quote #6

Maybe he should not have written brother, but like it or not, that was his position in life. Chris was smiling at him in pure sweetness, which made Theo feel even guiltier about his resentment. (7.19)

We see Theo as one of the more conscientious, thoughtful characters throughout the book. Here, even though he's defined himself as a "brother," he finds himself resenting it, not without reason. No one else puts down a familial relationship as a position during this defining-identity process. Yet he then feels even worse for thinking this way, when he compares himself to his brother, and reminds himself that's the way things are. Chris, in contrast, with all his struggles and challenges, works extremely hard to define himself outside of his body or his relationships.

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