Taking the time to create a visual representation helps students remember literary concepts. Use storyboards to help them identify and remember important elements of the mystery genre. Students should depict a scene that contains a common mystery element and explain their depiction in the text box below. Ask students to provide examples from a variety of different mystery elements (such as foreshadowing, red herrings, and clues) or restrict the storyboard to a single element (such as three instances of foreshadowing).
Although all the sixteen heirs are important to the story, Turtle takes on the role of protagonist. All the heirs attempt to win Westing’s game, but the novel focuses heavily on Turtle, the youngest and most endearing character. In the end, Turtle’s precocious wit enables her to solve the mystery that none of the adult heirs could decipher.
Westing provides his heirs (and the reader) with a variety of clues. The official clues that each pair receives are certainly important, but the most helpful clues might be in Westing’s newspaper obituary!
Foreshadowing in the novel includes Westing's will, his obituary, and many comments from the omniscient narrator. From the very beginning, the smoke rising from the chimney of the Westing house is foreshadowing that the long-absent Westing will make an appearance in the lives of the Sunset Tower residents.
The lyrics to “America the Beautiful” and the missing letters spelling “Berthe Erica Crow” are all an elaborate red herring. This puzzle distracts from the real object of the Westing game, which is to identify Westing’s fourth identity. This red herring prevents the heirs from solving the mystery too quickly, providing them with the time to build relationships and improve their lives.
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Create a storyboard illustrating different elements of mystery in The Westing Game.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or GroupCommon Core Standards