The Wave

This study guide will help you analyze the novel The Wave by Morton Rhue. You can also find a summary of the text, full characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting the novel and putting it into perspective.

Excerpt from the study guide:

The limited narrative style in this example also builds a kind of tension or expectation directed toward the future. It is also an expression of critical engagement coming from Laurie.

In arguments that read like monologues, both Laurie and Ben Ross express themselves in their roles. Mostly when they are alone, both reflect on the consequences of The Wave and how the experiment affects them and the rest of the student body. Particular instances that clearly push the momentum of the narrative are both Laurie's editorial in The Gordon Grapevine and Ben Ross's speech at the ending of The Wave. 

Laurie's criticism of The Wave is evident in the content of the article in the special issue of the school paper (Chapter 14, 14%; Chapter 15, 18%). Ross's speech, on the other hand, is in a way seen as the antithesis, for in it he presents what motivated him to start such an experiment and describes his personal feelings about it (Chapter 17, 40%-70%).

At many points in the novel, however, the dialogue narrative style predominates. It allows opinions to be expressed and permits discussions within the group. For example, when Ben Ross discusses The Wave and its development with Director Owens or his wife Christy, opposing positions are made clear in this way: 

‘I happen to know that they’re all keeping up on their reading,’ Ben said. ‘Some of them are even reading ahead. It’s as if they suddenly love being prepared for class.’ ‘Or they’re suddenly afraid of being unprepared,’ his wife observed. But Ben ignored her comment. ‘No, I really think they’ve improved. At least, they’re behaving better.’ Christy shook her head. ‘These can’t be the same kids I have for music.’ (Chapter 7, 71%-86%)

However, the dialogue does not only serve to highlight contrary views. It also stresses the conformity that exists within the history classroom as The Wave progresses. For the most part, the students agree that The Wave has a positive effect on the sense of community and express these sentiments (Chapter 8, 70%).

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The Wave

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