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The Wave
The Wave
by Todd Strasser
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The Wave Chapter 15 Summary

  • Christy Ross rushes home after school to see what's up with her husband (Teacher Ben). It turns out Ben skipped half of the school day, and she's sure it has to do with the whole Wave situation.
  • Sure enough, when she gets home, Ben is reading a book on "Nazi youth" (15.1).
  • (When the Nazis ruled Germany, they trained young people to further their mission. Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief has a lot of interesting things to say about this, and shows young people both resisting and embracing this kind of education. Also, be sure to check out "Education" in the Themes section in this learning guide!)
  • Christy wants to know where her husband disappeared to, but he says he's too busy to talk to her right now.
  • Not cool. She insists that they talk immediately about The Wave. It's becoming a big problem: her students are skipping her classes to go to his. All the teachers are up in arms about this – everybody thinks he's has no idea what he's doing.
  • Ben gets it: "Don't you think I know that? […] I know what they're saying about me. That I'm crazy with power…that I'm on an ego trip" (15.8). (Is that what you think about Ben?)
  • Christy asks if his goals have changed – is he doing this for a different reason now? She feels like he's a totally different person, like she doesn't even know him anymore.
  • She knows her husband "goes overboard" with things: he gets obsessed and can't stop himself. But now's the time for him to stop with The Wave. It has to end.
  • Ben admits that it looks like he's out of control, but he says it's too early to stop the experiment. It's really important that the students involved in The Wave realize that it's wrong. If they don't stop the experiment on their own, they won't learn anything from the experiment.
  • Christy doesn't agree: she says that the most important thing is to stop The Wave before something really bad happens.
  • Ben holds his ground, though: "I have to push them until they get the point. I might be teaching these kids the most important lesson of their lives!" (15.16).
  • Christy still doesn't see things his way. (Whose side are you on?) She tells him that Principal Owens was looking for him all day, and wants to see him bright and early tomorrow, in his office. Uh oh.
  • That same afternoon, Laurie and The Grapevine staff celebrated the success of their special issue. It's not enough to stop The Wave, but it sure can't hurt.
  • They hope that now, Wave members at least won't be threatening and bullying other students anymore.
  • Laurie stays late to clean up, since the rest of the staff conveniently disappeared when the fun stuff was over.
  • It's dark when she finishes, and she's all alone in the school. She wonders if someone from The Wave might try to get back at her for what she's written. No – she's sure she's just being "paranoid" (15.21).
  • Laurie walks down the hallway – the school is creepy when it's dark and empty. Gulp.
  • When she gets to her locker, her heart starts beating like crazy. Somebody has painted the word "enemy" (15.23) on her locker. (So much for paranoia!)
  • She tells herself to relax. They want her to be afraid, but she's sure she isn't in any real danger.
  • But then she thinks she hears footsteps.
  • She can't control her fear, and gets more and more scared as the moments go by. The sound of footsteps gets louder, and she runs out of school as fast as she can.
  • She keeps running until she's out of breath. She feels a little better now, out in the night air.
  • When she passes the tennis courts on her way home, David and Brian are sitting in Brian's van – waiting for her.
  • When David tells Brian he's going to talk to Laurie by himself, Brian responds, "Just as long as she understands […]. We're not playing around anymore" (15.36). Yikes. Brian is talking like Robert now.
  • David catches up to Laurie. He tells her to stop attacking The Wave and tries to convince her that the Wave is a good thing, but Laurie refuses to listen.
  • Now we're in David's head: he has to make her understand. She could ruin The Wave for everybody.
  • He grabs her arm. She tries to get away, but he holds on tighter.
  • Then he screams: "Laurie, stop writing those articles! Keep your mouth shut about The Wave! You're ruining it for everybody else!" (15.56).
  • Laurie isn't deterred – she says she can write anything she pleases.
  • Now David is really pissed. He grabs Laurie's other arm and yells right at her: "We can stop you, and we will!" (15.58). WOW. This is scary stuff.
  • Laurie yells back that she hates him, The Wave, and everybody involved in it. And at this point, can you blame her?
  • "Shut up!" David screams at her, knocking her down onto the ground.
  • Immediately after he does this, he feels bad. (He'd better!) He asks if she's okay and tries to help her.
  • He says he's sorry. He can't understand what just happened: he loves Laurie and would never want to hurt her.
  • Revelation time! If The Wave could make him hurt her, then maybe she's right. Maybe it is bad.
  • As he realizes this, Brian drives away down the street.
  • Back at the home of Ben and Christy Ross, Christy interrupts Ben again.
  • She's been thinking: no questions asked, Ben really has to end The Wave tomorrow. If Ben doesn't end it, Principal Owens will. And if that's the case, the parents won't trust Ben anymore, and probably won't want him teaching their kids.
  • What's more, Christy could lose her job over this, too. People will think that she had something to do with The Wave. (Guilty by association, right?)
  • Ben agrees (finally!), but he doesn't know how he can end it in just one day. Well, too bad, sport – you'll have to come up with something.
  • It's reflection time. Ben starts to think about how The Wave has changed him. He admits to himself that he enjoyed being thought of as a leader and having a bodyguard. He enjoyed the little bit of power that being the leader of The Wave gave him.
  • It turns out that this little lesson in power is teaching him a thing or two as well. Ah, the teacher becomes the student.
  • Suddenly, Ben gets an idea of how he might be able to end this the right way. He tells Christy his plan and hopes beyond hope that it will work.
  • Christy goes to bed as Ben goes over the plan in his mind. When he's finally satisfied, he decides to try to get some rest.
  • But not so fast! As he's turning off the lights, the doorbell rings. It's Laurie Saunders and David Collins, saying that they have to speak with him. It's urgent.
  • He invites them in and listens to their concerns about The Wave.
  • In this moment, Ben realizes that his experiment was actually a success. All he wanted was to show his students a little bit about what it was like to live in Nazi Germany.
  • It worked.
  • Ben promises Laurie and David that he will stop The Wave, but he won't tell them his plan. He's worried that word will get out; and if The Wave members are going to end things themselves, they can't know about his plan ahead of time. He asks them to trust him.
  • Ben also asks them if they know any two people who have absolutely nothing to do with The Wave.
  • Laurie tells him that Alex Cooper and Carl Block from The Grapevine are completely Wave- free, unlike most of the other students at Gordon High.
  • One last thing: Ben begs Laurie and David not to tell anybody they've talked to him. They need to go to school tomorrow and act like nothing unusual is going on.
  • What on earth does he have up his sleeve?
Next Page: Chapter 16
Previous Page: Chapter 14

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