by Todd Strasser
The Wave Theme of Competition
Competition is a big part of high school, and while it has its good points, it usually leads to some messy situations. For some students at Gordon High, competition for grades and popularity leads to big pressure. In fact, the novel suggests that students are open to The Wave because they see it as a relief from the competitive atmosphere of school. Since the story ends when The Wave is dissolved, we don't get to see how students feel about school competition after the experiment. What do you think happens after the events of The Wave are over? Will things change, or will high school always just be a competitive place?
Questions About Competition
- Why are other students so jealous of Laurie? Why aren't they happy with their own accomplishments? Why do they need to compare themselves with her?
- Why does Brian think The Wave will help the football team win games?
- Wave members claim that the Wave freed them from the pressure of competing. Do you ever feel like there is too much competition in your life? If so, does The Wave offer any advice for dealing with competitive atmospheres?
- Is Laurie a competitive person? What drives her success?
Chew on This
The Wave exposes the issue of the competitive atmosphere at Gordon High, an atmosphere that isn't doing anyone any good.
We can all agree that The Wave didn't work out so well. But it did succeed in one way: it showed students how poorly they'd be treating their classmate Robert. They're sure to change their attitude from here on out.