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The Westing Game

The Westing Game


by Ellen Raskin

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

Sunset Towers And The Westing House, Wisconsin

Ah, Wisco. Cheese curds. The Dells. The Packers. Reclusive millionaires and their empty luxury apartment blocs.

Hmm. One of these things is not like the others...

Okay, so the Badger State might not be the first place you'd think of when you hear about murder most foul and crazy millionaires. (That would be Florida. Just kidding, Florida: we love you.) But nearly all of the book's action takes place in two Wisconsin settings: the new apartment building, Sunset Towers, and the neighboring Westing house.

Nearly all the characters live in the Sunset Towers: there are two restaurants inside, and a good ol' Wisconsin snowstorm traps the residents within for several days. Since Sunset Towers is created precisely for the game—and broken up as prizes when the game's over—it can be seen as an elaborate game board where the characters are set up as "pieces."

In a way, it's like a stage set for Westing's private play, enacted right next door to his original estate. It's designed to be just affordable and classy enough to appeal to each individual tenant, and it seems to be giving each of them what they want.

The Westing house, in contrast, seems creepy and dangerous, with its seventeen shuttered windows and big French doors. Not only is it isolated, empty, and dark, it also has mysterious smoke coming from the chimney and people who limp sneaking in and out. It's where Turtle thinks she sees a dead body, where the heirs are taunted by the ideas of fortune and partnership. And where Sandy dies. It sounds kind of like the house in the board game Clue, with its game room, library, and echoing staircases.

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