Teenage Themes in The Wave - Morton Rhue Essay

Teenage Themes in The Wave - Morton Rhue Essay

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The Wave by Morton Rhue (Todd Strasser) is a novel from a student’s perspective, as an authoritarian right wing movement called “The Wave” changes her school. Ben Ross, one of the teachers in the school, created it to try to show his class the reasons for the inexplicable behavior of the Germans when the Nazi movement spread through Germany. Laurie, one of the students, finds out how she is alienated from her classmates when she does not accept their values of conformity through unity. Thus, it demonstrates how easily people can be swept up by a movement not only in Nazi Germany, but also in the modern day classroom, where students are learning about the evil influence of the Nazi movement in World War II. This can be applied to teenagers, as it is a period of their lives where they are easily influenced, and in the book, relevant themes to teens such as bullying, alienation and peer pressure are conveyed.

Bullying is the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something. As the Wave spread rapidly through the school, those who refused to participate or join as a member were bullied into doing so. Such was the case according to the article submitted to Laurie “Join the Wave— or else” where a boy was warned “he’d (I’d) lose all his (my) friends if he (I) didn’t join” by a senior boy. This is clearly an intimidation tactic to make the boy join, and hence you could class it as bullying. Another case of bullying happened when David tried to intimidate Laurie to discontinue producing the magazine that condemns the Wave movement by showing the bad parts to it. He “held her arm” and when she “struggled harder to get out of his grasp”, he “threw her down on the grass.” Immediately after, he realized he had hurt his friend, ...


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... instead of following the majority. The issue of peer pressure can relate to teens, as they are in constant pressure to be ‘cool’ or to be in the ‘in’ group. It does not really promote individualism, so people cannot develop their own ideas but rather follow the leader of their group.

Overall, the themes of bullying, alienation and peer pressure that are shown in The Wave reflect the negative aspects of the lives of teens. It focuses on how they affect people, in general, by showing the consequences for all the scenarios (e.g. someone being bullied). This is done whilst revealing the important history lesson from the Nazi movement as well as from the school –- you have to be vigilant because it can happen to anyone. Even though the students were taught of the evil the Nazi party was committing, they did not think that they would do the same, although they were.

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