The Westing Game By Ellen Raskin

Discover the theme of the novel of The Westing Game

The Theme

What is the theme of the novel The Westing Game? The theme is disguise and how everything is not how it seems. Anyone can relate to the theme of this novel. In everyday life, many people use disguises to hide their identity. That makes everything not how it actually seems like. A real life example of someone who uses disguise is American security consultant Frank Abagnale. He is best known for his former identities as trickster, impostor, and a check forger. He had used seven different disguises to help him explore the world for free. This shows disguise and because he is hiding his identity, nothing is as it seems. In the novel, there is many symbols and events that relate to the theme, as well as the title of the novel. Some of the symbols include the bombs, the disguise of Sandy McSouthers, and the wax dummy of Samuel Westing.

"People aren't who they appear to be. Lies are a way of hiding who you really are".

The Bomb


One symbol that relates to the theme is the bomb. In the novel, there are four bombs that go off and each time, someone gets hurt. The bomb shows how things are not always seem. All the contestants, or heirs, thought that the bomb pertained to the game. However, the bomb just misleads everyone and distracted them from the main point of the game. For example, “‘Angela. And how is your pretty sister, the bomber?’” (Raskin 180). This quote shows how even Samuel Westing, the begetter of the Westing Game, didn’t even include the bombs in his game yet everyone thought that it related to the game.

Did You Know?

The Westing Game, the title, relates to the theme. The Westing Game is basically a game where things are not always how it seems, which is the theme. The game was for finding the murderer of Samuel Westing. However, in actuality, that's not what you were supposed to do! If Samuel Westing was never murdered and did not die, then what is the objective of the game? Nothing is as it seems!

The Disguise of Sandy McSouthers

One object that shows the theme is the disguise of Sandy. Sandy is not a real person so that shows how things are not how it always seems. Sandy is one of the disguises of Samuel Westing. It represents how many people can mislead you which brings us to the message that things are not how it seems. For example, “she had fallen for it again. Westing had sacrificed his queen (Crow), distracting the players from the real game” (Raskin 158). This quote shows how Sandy, or Samuel Westing, fooled everyone and disguised himself. Sandy was one of the contestants of the Westing Game. Now nothing is like it seems.

The Wax Dummy

Another symbol that relates to the theme is wax dummy of Samuel Westing. This is an example of symbolism because it represents disguise. In the beginning of the book, Turtle had entered the Westing Mansion and realized that the dead Samuel Westing laying in bed was a wax dummy. Also, for instance, "Julian R. Eastman rose. 'Hi Sandy,' Turtle said. 'I won!'" (Raskin 173). This quote shows how nothing is as it seems. Eastman is just another form of Samuel Westing. Westing had used the wax dummy as a disguise and everyone thought that Samuel Westing was dead but that wasn’t reality.

Disguise..... Masked Identities....

The Westing Game, by: Ellen Raskin (Book Trailer)