© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Will

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Will He Or Won't He?

As a symbol, the will is almost too obvious; it stands for a $200 million fortune that all the heirs desperately want to inherit.

It's also an elaborate list of rules for a very private, possible very lucrative game. It dictates who the heirs hang out with and gives them motivation, it speaks to them, and it even bosses them around. It fixes their old problems (cash for everybody! woohoo!) and creates new ones (distrust for everybody! woohoo!).

When the will seems to be engaging in dialogue with the heirs, it takes on almost lifelike qualities, and assumes the kind of power that's usually not reserved for inanimate objects...

Today I have gathered together my nearest and dearest, my sixteen nieces and nephews.


(Sit down, Grace Windsor Wexler!) (6.6)

... especially inanimate objects penned by dead men.

In fact, it's at the first reading of the will that the hyper-observant reader will start to wonder whether Mr. Westing has in fact bit the bullet... or whether he's still alive, kicking, and watching his potential heirs.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...