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Themes

Money always makes people act funny. That's especially true in The Westing Game, though, where the money in question is $200 million, and both an inheritance and people's lives are hanging in the balance. For some of the characters, money represents freedom; for others, education. Some think they won't be anything without money, and some are almost too eager to give it away. The characters are nearly all willing to lie, gamble, or steal to get it. The novel provides cautionary warnings about the damage having or wanting money can do, and it also raises the question of who deserves wealth.

Questions About Wealth

  1. If you could choose one character to win the Westing game, which one would you pick and why?
  2. What would you do with $200 million?
  3. If you were making a will, what kinds of possessions would you be concerned about, and to whom would you want to leave your things?
  4. What do you think is the best way of deciding who should get to inherit an estate?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Westing Game proves that the old saying "money can't buy happiness" is completely true. While the book's characters figure out the kind of people they want to be and what really matters to them while they're competing to win the inheritance, most of them change for the better because of playing for the money, not because of winning it.

Attitudes toward and about money define each of the characters in The Westing Game. An individual's decisions and statements about wealth do more to define him or her than any other characteristic does.

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