The Westing Game
Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
'I think Mr. Westing is a g-good man,' Chris said aloud. 'I think his last wish was to do g-good deeds. He g-gave me a p-partner who helped me. He g-gave everybody the p-perfect p-partner to m-make friends.' (23.44)
Well, it's hardly the moral parents or responsible adults probably want us to be pulling from this text, but it seems to us that on very rare occasions, lying and deceit can lead to positive outcomes. Through the entire charade that is the Westing game, full of lies, tricks, and suspicion, Westing has the opportunity to make good things happen for each of the sixteen heirs he selects. (If Sandy had been a real person with a real family, playing the game would've helped him too.) Chris is one of the few people astute enough to see how Westing's idea to pair people off has helped them get a real, true prize: making friends.
Madame Hoo knew from the shifting eyes that a bad person was in the room. She was the bad person. They would find out soon. The crutch lady had her writing-book back, but all those pretty things she was going to sell, they wanted them back, too. She would be punished. Soon. (24.9)
In the context of impersonation, death-faking, major lying, and murder, petty theft doesn't seem as bad. Look, obviously, stealing is wrong. But we can sympathize with Madame Hoo pretty easily. It doesn't seem like she has such a great relationship with her husband, she can't communicate with any of the people around her, and she clearly misses her family and her home country. In her isolation, she thinks that the only way to get back to China is by stealing "pretty things" and selling the proceeds. By the way, do you think it's a coincidence that she calls the nice things that she steals "pretty things," which is a term that several other characters call Angela?
She was paired with the one person who could confound her plans, manipulate her moves, keep her from the truth. Her partner, Sandy McSouthers, was the only heir she had not investigated. Her partner, Sandy McSouthers, was Sam Westing. (24.32)
The judge has been outfoxed, and she knows it! We can feel a little sorry for her at this point – she's practically saying that Westing played her like a violin. Of all the heirs besides Turtle, the judge is the one that comes closest to figuring out the truth. But perhaps because of her history of practicing strategy with Westing, he handicaps her in this game in a few ways, while pretty much leaving Turtle alone. It makes you wonder, too: why didn't the judge investigate her own partner? How could she let that slip her mind and, more importantly, how did Westing know she would make that significant mistake?