The main themes of the novel The Wave by Morton Rhue offer an insight into the meaning of the text and why it is relevant even today. Our section will have a look at some of these themes and how they can be viewed in the context of the text. 

The interpretation of the text examines the events at Gordon High School as well as during the experiment, thus facilitating the reader's understanding. Among other things, it answers the questions of who has power over whom, how power changes The Wave members, and how community, discipline, and actions affect the power of the movement.

The section sheds light on the experiment itself, as well as the ideology of The Wave, and how this causes changes in those who follow the movement. We then have a look at the themes of power and recognition especially in the context of a seemingly fascist organization. We highlight the freedom of expression as one of the leitmotifs of the novel that repeatedly leads to conflicts within the plot.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Freedom of expression proves to be clearly superior to the totalitarian movement. The Wave members' attempts to “shut down” all critical voices are defeated by the student newspaper's exposures. 

One early member, David Collins, is confronted with his misconduct when he violently pushes his girlfriend Laurie to the ground while the two are arguing about The Wave: “It was crazy—but David knew that he’d been wrong. Anything that could make him do what he’d just done was wrong. It had to be.” (Chapter 15, 59% ). In the end, he has to admit to himself that Laurie had been right in her predictions: The Wave had a negative effect on the character of its members...

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