The Westing Game
by Ellen Raskin
The Westing Game Theme of Society and Class
For The Westing Game, class and status still pose real problems. Several of Sunset Towers' tenants move in because they're excited about the prospect of living in such a fancy building; they're even more excited about other people knowing they live there. Other characters are more preoccupied with the status they've acquired through education, beauty, or money (or the lack of one of those qualities). One thing that's so exciting about winning the Westing game and becoming so very rich is the chance for the winner to move out of his or her assigned class into the elite world of the super-wealthy. That kind of wealth can – and does – buy class.
Questions About Society and Class
- Who do you think is the classiest character? Why?
- Do you think the class characters come from really matters in this book? Or is what characters do with what they've got more important?
- Name two characters that are prejudiced against others because of class. How do their opinions differ? How are they similar?
Chew on This
Several of the book's characters make conscious efforts to rise above or move past the social positions they were born into, but it only goes so far – they can't keep their histories secret forever, and their original class standing comes back to haunt them.
While The Westing Game acknowledges the problems that come with negotiating class standing, the book ultimately works to overcome those differences, calling for a society that places value on talent, intelligence, and hard work.