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Copyright 2000

Created by Brian Thornton

Click here for more information Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved

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The Westing Game

Ellen Raskin

Student Study Guide


Answer all questions in sentence form

Chapter One--Sunset Towers

  1. What was unusual about Sunset Towers
  2. Why was the delivery boy described as uncommon looking.
  3. What was unusual about Barney Northrup?
  4. What did Barney Northrup say that caused Jake to wonder?
  5. Where was Sydelle Pulaski directing a suspicious stare?
  6. How did Barney finally convince Sydelle Pulaski to take the apartment?
  7. Explain why Barney Northrup could be described as a very good salesman?
  8. List the various types of people that would be the new tenants in Sunset Towers.
  9. At the end of the chapter we are told that one of the tenants was a mistake.  Which tenant do you think was a mistake?  Explain your choice.
Vocabulary: tenants, exclusive, plush, stationery, warped, chandeliers, alcove, bookie

Enrichment: Design a title page for the novel.


Chapter Two--Ghosts or Worse

  1. Describe how Mr. Hoo felt about the grand opening of his restaurant.
  2. Who was Sandy McSouthers?
  3. What surprised Turtle Wexler about the Westing house?
  4. Describe Otis Amber.
  5. Relate the story of the two "unfortunate fellows" from Westing town.
  6. What does Chris notice through his binoculars?
Vocabulary: tenants, exclusive, stocky, maggots, gruesome, stubble, asylum

Enrichment: Research the author, Ellen Raskin.  Include in your biography a list of other books that she has written.


Chapter Three--Tenants In and Out

  1. Why is Angela Wexler standing on a hassock?
  2. Why caused Angela Wexler to utter a small cry?
  3. Describe Mrs. Wexler's relationship with her two daughters.
  4. Describe J.J. Ford.
  5. According to Chris, what special talent did his brother Theo possess.
  6. What was in the long package that Sydelle Pulaski carried into her apartment?
Vocabulary: hassock, pudgy, lunatic, podiatrist, amputation, nape, gaunt, averted, ample, putrid, rational

Enrichment: Design a bookmark for your book.  Any words or illustrations on the bookmark should be related to your novel.


Chapter Four--The Corpse Found

  1. Why was Doug Hoo stationed outside the Westing house?
  2. Why did Turtle Wexler have her mother's silver cross in her pocket?
  3. What did Turtle encounter upon entering the house?
  4. Why had Turtle taken a billiard cue upstairs?
  5. Sam's obituary mentions that he was a dedicated gamesman and a master of chess.  Why might this be significant?
  6. Why were sixteen people asked to go to the south library of the Westing mansion?
Vocabulary: receding, corpse, immigrant, meager, pyrotechnic, coroner, executor, beneficiary, heiress, legacy

Enrichment: Select a character from your novel.  List both their negative and positive attributes.


Chapter Five--Sixteen Heirs

  1. Who was greeting the beneficiaries at the Westing home?
  2. Why was Turtle startled when she looked in the coffin?
  3. What is Denton Deere's diagnosis of Chris?
  4. Why is Judge Ford surprised to see E.J. Plum in charge of the Westing estate?
  5. What did the design on Sydelle Pulaski's dress remind Turtle of right at that moment?
Vocabulary: appraise, mourning, monogram, relinquish, afflicted, aviator, invalid, convulsions, afflicted, morbid, diagnosis, scrutiny, incompetence, poise

Enrichment: Here's your chance to be the teacher.  Pretend you have to introduce the book to your class.  Design a lesson plan and don't be shy about asking your teacher for help.


Chapter Six--The Westing Will

  1. When the will is first read, why are those present shocked to hear the words, "my sixteen nieces and nephews"?
  2. What is the second important piece of information that is revealed during the reading of the will?
  3. What must the potential beneficiaries do if they wish to "strike it rich"?
  4. Explain Mr. Hoo's comment, "The poor are crazy, the rich just eccentric".
Vocabulary: verified, eccentric, appalled,purported, slur, autopsy, embalmed, cremated, culprit, corrupt, reverence

Enrichment: Pretend that you are the author of this novel and that you are unsatisfied with the final copy.  You have decided that the only way to improve the book is by adding another character.  Write a brief description of your new character and explain how you will utilize them in your novel.


Chapter Seven--The Westing Game

  1. What was the object of the game?
  2. Why was Chris happy to be selected to play the game?
  3. Why does Berthe Erica Crow shriek?
  4. Why was Sandy so insistent that his partner, Judge Ford, play the game.
Vocabulary: jittery, forfeit, pompous, jaunty, token, indignant, shrewd, wafted, dialect

Enrichment: Pretend your school or class is conducting a book sale.  Design a poster that you think will encourage customers to buy The Westing Game.


Chapter Eight--The Paired Heirs

  1. What did the tenants of Sunset Towers awaken to the next morning.
  2. How was Turtle Wexler able to profit from the storm?
  3. What are many of the heirs apparent doing on this particular day?
  4. What does J. J. Ford hope to do just once?
  5. Why is Sydelle Pulaski upset when she discovers her shorthand notebook is missing?
Vocabulary: rite, stint, pretentious, incriminating, pool, wreak,

Enrichment: When reading a whodunit or murder mystery, the reader must be an active rather than passive reader.  For example, the active reader would already be formulating an opinion as to who committed the murder.  Who might be some of the most likely suspects at this point in the story.  Defend your position.


Chapter Nine--Lost and Found

  1. Why is Lost and Found a good name for this chapter?
  2. What had somebody found in the third floor balcony.
  3. What was happening at J. J. Ford's apartment that evening?
  4. What does Turtle predict the next part of the will would read?
  5. Why does Turtle think her mother is treating her so nicely for a change?
  6. Provide evidence from this chapter that Grace dislikes Turtle and favours her other daughter.
  7. What information does Judge Ford uncover that indicates James Hoo would not have liked Samuel Westing?
Vocabulary: filigree, tardy, defiantly, uppity, jabbering, hors d'oeuvres,

Enrichment: Assume the role of the author, Ellen Raskin, and then allow the your classmates to interview you about your work including the present novel, The Westing Game.


Chapter Ten--The Long Party

  1. What is a social climber?
  2. Why was Grace Windsor Wexler on time for Judge Ford's party this evening when normally she would arrive late?
  3. Why does Angela become upset when everyone continually asks about Denton?
  4. Why was Chris watching legs from his wheelchair?
  5. Why is Sydelle disappointed that Angela changed out of her clothes?
  6. Why does Angela rush into Judge Ford's kitchen?
Vocabulary: prattle, appetizer, paternal, embrace, humiliation, chiding, hobbled, coiffure, abstention, grimaced

Enrichment: Locate the quote "May God thy gold refine" on internet or in a book of quotations".

O beautiful for heroes proved -
In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

Katherine Lee Bates


Chapter Eleven--The Meeting

  1. What dilemma did the tenants face as they awoke on the third snowbound morning?
  2. How do we know that Turtle didn't like to do her hair?
  3. What was Alice's nickname?
  4. What did Chris suddenly realize as he read the note on the elevator wall?
  5. Why could no one read Sydelle Pulaski's shorthand?
  6. What does Theo suggest to the tenants who have gathered in the coffee shop?
  7. What confusion arises about Turtle's real name?  Can you explain a possible reason for this?
  8. What question did Judge Ford write on the paper?  Do you think it was a good question?
Vocabulary: lured, scoffing, contempt, vault, envy, sequined, larcenist, felon, alibis, sprawling

Enrichment: Organize into small groups and discuss who you think the murderer is.  Explain your opinion.  Share your information with another group.


Chapter Twelve--The First Bomb

  1. Describe the incident in the kitchen.
  2. What does Turtle demand that Angela return to her immediately?
  3. According to Judge Ford, who are the four people with Westing connections?
  4. Why does Judge Ford's finger suddenly stop at the top of the list of detectives in the yellow pages?
Vocabulary: woozy, transcribing, obituary, unbolted, paraphernalia, sappy, intern, prop, caption

Enrichment: Is it ever possible to justify the use of violence to achieve your goals?  Explain and justify your opinion.  Conduct a class debate.


Chapter Thirteen--The Second Bomb

  1. What kind of timing device did the bomber use?
  2. Who were the only people to order down?
  3. Who is Mrs. Baumbach reminded of when she sees Angela?
  4. According to Sydelle Pulaski why is Chris' disability an advantage?
  5. What happened just as Otis Amber entered the restaurant?
  6. According to the fireman why was it not unusual to have had two explosions within two days in the same building?
  7. Where was the bomber planning to set the next bomb?
Vocabulary: scrumptious, mementoes, harried, baffled, woefully, pedicured, demeaning, bodice, ritual, waddled, petrified, distraught

Enrichment: Form a group with a few of your classmates and design a bulletin board in your classroom to promote the reading of The Westing Game.


Chapter Fourteen--Pairs Repaired

  1. Why did Angela search under the hoods of the cars in the parking lot/
  2. Why did the doorman refuse to accept a tip from the judge?
  3. Why was Alexander McSouthers fired from his job at the Westing factory?
  4. Why does Alexander McSouthers suffer from bad headaches?
  5. What voices does Grace hear coming from the kitchen?
  6. Why did Grace open the window despite the cold draft?
  7. Why were the tenants purchasing so many Westing Paper Products?
Vocabulary: amends, brewery, contender, flattery, obsequious, gross, oath, trousseau, patriotism, deception, remission, rigid

Enrichment: Research the writing of a will.  Why might you want a lawyer to help with the writing of a will?  Find out what might invalidate a will.  Try and locate some funny or interesting wills.  Culminate this activity by writing your own will.


Chapter Fifteen--Fact and Gossip

  1. What does Turtle mean by the expression, "Paper losses. . .doesn't mean a thing"?
  2. Why were Turtle and Sandy dubious about the "murder" of Samuel Westing.
  3. Why did Doug suspect that the murderer may have been a doctor?
  4. Shin Hoo told Jake Wexler that he thought he could squeeze him in at the restaurant.  Explain why this statement is ironic.
  5. Why is Judge Ford surprised at McSouthers' description of Mrs. Westing?
  6. Flora, Judge Ford and Sandy notice a remarkable resemblance between Angela Wexler and what other person?
Vocabulary: presided, injected, venom, profound, smirking, guffaw, interrogate, bribery

Enrichment: Read or listen to the famous "Who's on First" baseball routine by Abbott and Costello.


Chapter Sixteen--The Third Bomb

  1. Describe what event is occurring at the beginning of this chapter.
  2. Does Angela do anything to suggest that she may already know the contents of the gift wrapped in good foil?
  3. Describe Angela's injuries.
  4. Why did Otis Amber think that he should not be considered a suspect in the incident.
  5. Who does Sydelle think the bomber is?
  6. Who do you think the bomber is?  Explain your choice.
Vocabulary: impractical, vaguely, prank, amnesia, despondently, incriminating

Enrichment: People who suspect others of committing a crime but have no evidence or proof, often say they are relying on instinct or a gut feeling.  Are there any problems with relying on instinct or gut feeling?  Explain.


Chapter Seventeen--Some Solutions

  1. What indication is there that the heirs were jittery?
  2. What were the two trading terms that Flora Baumbach had learned?
  3. After reexamining their clues, whom do Grace and Mr. Hoo think is involved in the mystery.
  4. What does Theo discover when he analyses his clue?
  5. Why does Theo think that he must be dreaming?
Vocabulary: incinerator, bonbons, culled, snooping, eluding

Enrichment: Make a book jacket for your book.


Chapter Eighteen--The Trackers

  1. Why does Turtle think that it would be a good idea to call Flora Baumbach by another name?
  2. Who was Rosalie and how did she die?
  3. How is ammonium nitrate used?
  4. What assignment does Theo give to Doug Hoo?
  5. What letter does Otis Amber deliver to Doug?
  6. What help does Denton hold out for Chris.
  7. How does Chris feel at the prospect of being taken hostage by Doctor Deere?
Vocabulary: conferring, broker, propellants, ailment, malady, coyly, graft, swatches, neurologist, ransom

Enrichment: The author makes use of humour throughout the novel.  Give some examples.


Chapter Nineteen--Odd Relatives

  1. How did Turtle defend the use of the radio in school.
  2. Who does Otis Amber accuse of being responsible for the bombings?
  3. To whom is Crow referring when she uses the term "foot butcher"?
  4. How does Chris presume the blank envelope ended up in his bathrobe?
  5. How does Judge Ford react when told by Sandy that Jake Wexler is a bookie?
  6. How did the doorman react to what Judge Ford said?
  7. According to the judge, what is Westing's first mistake?
Vocabulary: soothes, penance, distorted, blotched, vengeance, chronic, covetousness, mutilator, manipulated

Enrichment: How are judges selected in your country?  Research to see if they are selected the same way in other countries.  Most countries have many different types of judges.  Interview a lawyer or judge in your area to find out more about the judicial system.  Invite a lawyer or judge into your class to give a brief presentation.


Chapter Twenty--The Confessions

  1. What was the price of WPP at two o'clock?
  2. Why didn't Doug's feet hurt anymore?
  3. Why was Theo in the hospital?
  4. Why did George Theodorakis falter while telling the story of Violet Westing?
  5. Who does Judge Ford believe must be protected and why?
Vocabulary: legitimate, sprinted, wincing, faltered, hack, eloped, plotted, loathed

Enrichment: List as many reasons as possible why someone might make a false confession.  Invite an experienced police officer into your class to find out how they interrogate suspects.


Chapter Twenty-One--The Fourth Bomb

  1. What does Theo want to borrow from Turtle?
  2. What is Judge Ford's connection with the Westing family?
  3. Why does Judge Ford think that Sam Westing paid for her education?
  4. What was on the reverse side of the bomber's note?
  5. What does Turtle confess to the judge?
  6. Why does Sydelle Pulaski throw her crutches into the air?
Vocabulary: fuming, blackmail, seamy, ragtag, lurched, wretched, derelicts, meticulous, appellate, arsenal, singed, juvenile, divert, remedy

Enrichment: Write a private dialogue between two of the characters in your story.


Chapter Twenty-Two--Losers, Winners

  1. Briefly describe the note posted in the elevator.
  2. Where would one find the story of Cain and Abel
  3. What is the significance of Turtle's comment that her mother would be upset if she knew who the real bomber was
  4. Which of the heirs does Judge Ford think may be Sam Westing's former wife?
  5. Who does Judge Ford think was actually in the coffin?
  6. Why would it be difficult to recognize Sam Westing now?
Vocabulary: scrimp, tousled, wreak, pompous, notched

Enrichment: Create a chart with three different classifications: Likely Suspects, Possible Suspects, and Least Likely Suspects. Based on your opinion, fill in the chart.


Chapter Twenty-Three--Strange Answers

  1. What did Otis mean by the phrase, "The turtle's lost its tail"?
  2. What did Turtle convince Angela not to do?
  3. What did the heirs receive in their envelopes?
  4. Why is Grace's voice thick and slurred?
  5. What is meant by the expression, "to go on the wagon"?
  6. Who did Denton Deere suggest could use plastic surgery?
Vocabulary: fumbled, wad, lolled, regally, swathed, turban, ethnic, gilt, bleary, clinking, ornithologist, slurred, derisive, flask

Enrichment: Pubishers often reject manuscripts from authors who later achieve great success with another publishing firm.  Pretend that you are employed in a publising house that has just decided to reject the novel, The Westing Game.  Write an imaginary letter to Ellen Raskin rejecting her novel and explaining why.


Chapter Twenty-Four--Wrong All Wrong

  1. Since they can no longer work as partners, what does Theo suggest the heirs do?
  2. What was Denton Deere's diagnosis when Mr. Hoo claimed that the tea might be poisoned?
  3. Which heir does Judge Ford believe is actually Sam Westing?
  4. Using the clues provided, who does Sydelle Pulaski announce as the murderer?
  5. What happens to Sandy towards the end of this chapter?
  6. Do you think that Berthe Erica Crow is telling the truth? Explain your answer.
Vocabulary: paranoia, ravings, paled, condemn, vicious, null, immigrant, fanatic

Enrichment: Pretend you are a school librarian. Give a book talk to your students but make sure that while your perk their interest you don't reveal too much of the plot.  Ask permission from your teacher and librarian to present your book talk to a group of students.


Chapter Twenty-Five--Westing's Wake

  1. What does Denton Deere accuse Turtle of doing?
  2. How does Turtle respond to his accusation?
  3. What according to Judge Ford is the famous Westing trap?
  4. Why does Judge Ford repeatedly call herself stupid?
Vocabulary: wake, stoolie, conscience, checkmate, bolted, poring, sole, culprit, dastardly

Enrichment: Pretend you are a television reporter or newspaper journalist.  Make a video tape or write an article on the latest happenings in your story.


Chapter Twenty-Six--Turtle's Trial

  1. Who is the young lawyer in Judge Ford's court?
  2. Why is everyone surprised when Otis Amber testifies?
  3. Who hired Otis Amber?
  4. What is a coronary thrombosis in layman's terms?
  5. Why did Sandy's flask contain according to Turtle?
  6. Judge Ford believed that Sam Westing had assumed two disguises.  Identify his two disguises.
Vocabulary: gavel, stenographer, flaw, accomplice, interceded, interceded, bristled, baffled, booty, fib, benefactor

Enrichment: Write an imaginary letter to Ellen Raskin telling her about your experiences reading this book.


Chapter Twenty-Seven--A Happy Fourth

  1. What announcement does Edgar Jennings Plum make?
  2. What is to happen to Sunset Towers according to Westing's "last" document?
  3. What is the significance of Turtle's statement, "Hurry up, Uncle Sam, I can't keep up this act much longer"?
  4. Which heir wins and explain how they finally solve the puzzle?
Vocabulary: masking, bequeath, deed, forfeited, vengeful, smoldering, charred, turret, mimicked, inlaid

Enrichment: Prepare a test of 10 questions for your classmates.  Administer the test to those students who would like to try it.


Chapter Twenty-Eight--And Then. . .

  1. Whose wedding is Turtle going to be late for if she doesn't hurry and make her move?
  2. What did the members of the Good Salvation Soup kitchen do for this special occasion?
  3. How did Judge Ford intend to repay her debt to Sam Westing?
  4. Describe the changes in Angela's life.
Vocabulary: draped, heirloom, sobered, debt, tutor, toting, abacus,

Enrichment: Research the history of the abacus.   Locate an abacus and learn to use it.  Compare the abacus and calculator discussing their advantages and disadvantages.


Chapter Twenty-Nine--Five Years Pass

  1. Why was Mr. Hoo almost happy?
  2. What had happened to Denton Deere?
  3. What good things had happened to Chris Theodorakis?
  4. Who was the chess game master that T.R. Wexler had finally defeated?
Vocabulary: fragile, stouter, nape, confetti, tango, correspondent, radiant

Enrichment: Write an obituary for one of the characters in your novel.  Read some of the obituaries in a local newspaper as preparation for this exercise.


Chapter Thirty--The End

  1. Who is dying at the opening of the final chapter?
  2. What had happened to Judge Ford?
  3. Why did Turtle lie about Otis Amber?
  4. What does Eastman know about Angela that surprises Turtle?
  5. What is the irony of Jake Wexler's new position?
Vocabulary: orthopedic, subspecies, corporation, veiled, mansion, audible

Enrichment: Make a presentation to a small group or your entire class on your favourite part of the book.


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Copyright 2000

Created by Brian Thornton, Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved

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