2 About the Author Ellen Raskin was born in 1928, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.As a student at the University of Wisconsin, she studied journalism and fine art.She later moved to New York where she was a freelance illustrator of magazine book publishers. She primarily designed book covers.In 1966, she wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book, Nothing Ever Happens on My Block.In all, she wrote four young adult novels; The Westing Game, a Newberry winner and published in 1978, was her last.She suffered from a rare and painful connective tissue disease and died in 1984, at the age of fifty-six.
3 Genre The Westing Game is a mystery. What do you know about mysteries? K W L(What I know (What I want to know (What I learnedAbout a mystery...) about a mystery…) about a mystery…)H(How will you find out?)
4 The Westing Game is a written in the tradition of a “cozy mystery The Westing Game is a written in the tradition of a “cozy mystery.” In this type of mystery, characters work together as amateur detectives to solve an elaborate puzzle (or play a game). While characters may feel they are placed in jeopardy, they are actually relatively safe as the mystery unfolds. Most characters are likeable but often quirky.
5 Characters… suspects and detectives Elements of a MysterysettingvictimsCharacters… suspects and detectivessuspenseplotProblem/crimecluespredictionsmotivesolutionevidence
6 Predict-O-Gram Activity for The Westing Game Work individually to place the 24 terms from the novel in one of the six categories.Then work with a partner to share your information and to explain why you placed each term where you did.You may change an answer but do so in a different color of ink.
7 Themes in The Westing Game People are not always who they appear to be. (Appearances/Identity)Money makes people act oddly. Money doesn’t always buy happiness. (money)America is a land of opportunity. (Patriotism)There are two types of family – the one we are born into and the one we choose. (family)Theme is the most important message in a story. It will say something about life or human nature. Because the theme is a message, it must be expressed in a complete sentence. Sometimes the theme must be inferred through careful reading and analysis.
8 Setting of The Westing Game Sunset Towers (a modern apartment building) is important to how the characters interact and perceive each other.The Westing House (this house neighbors Sunset Towers) is isolated, dark, and mysterious.Lake Michigan, Wisconsin (cold climate/lake snow effects) helps set the stage for being “snowed in,” an important part of the plot.Remember, setting is the time, place, and situation of the story.It is an important plot element in this novel.
9 Characters in The Westing House Authors use direct and indirect methods to reveal character traits.What do direct characterization mean?Indirect?Ellen Raskin matched the characters for the “game.” Think about her motivation for matching the characters the way that she did.Protagonist: Turtle WexlerAntagonist(s): Sam Westing (and others)…you decide
10 Point of View in The Westing Game As yourself…who is the narrator? Can he or she reads minds, and more importantly, can we trust him or her?First Person (the narrator is a character in the story…can be quite limiting…uses first person “I.”)Third Person (uses third person pronouns)Omniscient (the narrator is outside the story but is all-knowing which allows the reader to understand the thoughts of all characters.)Limited (the narrator is outside the story and only shares the thoughts and ideas of a limited number of characters, usually only one)The Westing Game is told in Third Person Omniscient Point of View.This is the perfect point of view for a mystery because it allows Ellen Raskin to represent the thoughts of each character at any time.