| Quote #1
Seeing that he could never compete with his brother's achievements, Robert had decided it was better not to even try. (2.46)
The novel suggests that Robert is open to The Wave because he desperately needs a place to belong – the competitive atmosphere at school is too much for him. He needs to be part of a group because, well, we all need other people in our lives. Sadly, until The Wave comes along, no group at school will have him.
| Quote #2
It sometimes bothered Laurie that underlying their friendship was a constant competition for boys, grades, popularity, almost everything one could compete for. Even though they were best friends, that constant competition prevented them from being really close. (3.86)
It's hard to say what drives Laurie's success. Some people might assume that she's a competitive person because she achieves so much. Yet, Laurie's success seems driven by something other than competition. But this doesn't stop others from trying to compete with her, or from being jealous.
| Quote #3
"I'm tired of feeling like every day is a popularity contest. That's what's so great about The Wave. You don't have to worry about how popular you are. We're all equal. We're all part of the same community." (8.61)
Laurie finds it hard to see anything wrong with this idea. If you wanted to challenge the speaker, what argument might you use?