The Westing Game Themes, Symbols, and Motifs

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Westing Game


The Westing Game Themes, Symbols, Motifs

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the novel, and support their choices with details from the text.


The Westing Game Themes to Look For and Discuss

Friendship

The real purpose of the Westing game is not the inheritance, but the relationships that the game creates and strengthens. Westing seems to choose the pairs that will bring out the best in each other. Denton brings Chris medical support, Flora and Turtle provide each other with much-needed love, Grace helps James make his restaurant successful, and Jake helps Sunny speak English and adjust to life in America.The rest of the heirs enjoy similar benefits. In the end, most of the heirs do not receive millions from Westing, but they do build lifelong friendships.


Forgiveness and Making Amends

In his younger days, Sam Westing made a lot of mistakes: he spoke unkindly to his servants, stole James Hoo’s invention, and drove his daughter to suicide. Through his will, he tries to fix these mistakes and return happiness to the people he affected. He gives them excitement, hope, and friendship, in addition to $5,000 and a share in Sunset Towers.


The Westing Game Symbols and Motifs

Patriotism

Sam Westing feels great patriotism for America. He wears the clothes of Uncle Sam in his coffin, uses clues from “America the Beautiful”, and sets off fireworks on the Fourth of July. His obvious patriotism blends nicely with the rest of the characters. The residents of Sunset Towers come from many different financial and ethnic backgrounds. Their friendship represents the melting pot of America’s immigrant nation.


Chess

Sam Westing’s love for chess is woven throughout the story. We learn that he used to play with Judge Ford years ago and would beat her by sacrificing his queen. In a way, the “Westing game” is like a giant game of chess. At the end, Crow (Westing’s queen) is sacrificed to distract from the main point of the game. The chess connection is passed on when Westing teaches Turtle, who later teaches Alice.


Sydelle’s Crutches

At the beginning of the story, Sydelle Pulaski has no need of crutches. However, she uses brightly decorated crutches and feigns injury to draw attention to herself and win sympathy. The crutches are a symbol of her insecurity and weakness. Many other characters have their own crutch that they hide behind: Turtle’s is her braid, Angela’s is her pretty face, Grace’s is Angela, Mr. Hoo’s is food, Theo’s is Chris, etc.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in The Westing Game. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from The Westing Game you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.

Template: Theme

Template


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