Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Westing Game: Introduction
The Westing Game: Plot Summary
The Westing Game: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Westing Game: Themes
The Westing Game: Quotes
The Westing Game: Characters
The Westing Game: Symbols
The Westing Game: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Ellen Raskin
Historical Context of The Westing Game
Other Books Related to The Westing Game
- Full Title: The Westing Game
- When Written: 1970s
- Where Written: New York, New York
- When Published: 1978
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Children’s Novel; Mystery
- Setting: An unnamed Wisconsin town on Lake Michigan, just north of Milwaukee
- Climax: Shortly after the “death” of Sandy McSouthers, the intrepid young Turtle Wexler solves the titular “Westing game” and confronts the mysterious and reclusive paper magnate Sam Westing.
- Antagonist: Sam Westing
- Point of View: Third Person
Extra Credit for The Westing Game
Historical Roots. The figure of Sam Westing is inspired by the real-life Kohler Company magnate John Michael Kohler, who established a massive factory and a town around it called Kohler just north of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. Kohler was an intense patriot who encouraged—and even pressured—his immigrant employees to apply for citizenship and express their love for their “adopted country.” Kohler’s industrial innovation and staunch patriotism are reflected in the enigmatic character of Sam Westing.
Picture Perfect. A renowned illustrator with a decidedly visual brain, Ellen Raskin compiled extensive files of research and drafting materials as she composed The Westing Game. In these files, she included alternate titles (such as Eight Imperfect Pairs of Heirs), intensely detailed visual descriptions of her characters, figures and images cut out from magazines, and a full-length version of Sam Westing’s will. Raskin’s wide-ranging research file even included letters written to the State of Wisconsin to learn more about their court system.