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.
Presentation of the text
Name: The Wave (1981)
Author: Morton Rhue (Todd Strasser)
Morton Rhue is the pen name of American writer Todd Strasser (b. 1950). Strasser wrote over 140 young adult and children's books. He also wrote short stories and non-fiction. His works often present themes to which young readers can relate - such as bullying or being an outsider - but he also tackles more complex subject matters, such as school shootings, homelessness, and war. Some of his novels include: Angel Dust Blue (1978), and Fallout (2014). recently, one of his novels, American Terrorist, was considered too controversial and was withdrawn from publication in the US.
The young adult novel The Wave was published in 1981. The novel is largely based on the experiment “The Third Wave”, which was conducted in 1967 at a high school in Palo Alto by the teacher Ron Jones. The novel is also inspired by a 1981 film adaptation of this experiment.
With the help of its modern approach, The Wave illustrates how easy it can be to captivate people with an idea and manipulate them. The group's sense of security and community makes even the most unpopular outsider feel accepted and a part of the whole. Despite the rather abrupt ending, it becomes clear that totalitarian associations always pose a strong danger.