by Todd Strasser
The Wave Theme of Language and Communication
Who's the real hero of the The Wave? Who really saves the day? Actually, it's more of a what than a who: we'd say our heroes are language and communication. Both Laurie Saunders and Ben Ross are lucky enough to have people in their lives who know how to communicate with them. Ben's wife Christy is able to help him snap out of it when he gets too involved in his experiment and forgets why he started it in the first place. Similarly, Laurie's mother urges her daughter not to get caught up in The Wave and provides compelling arguments against it. This mother-daughter communication helps Laurie have the courage to take a stand against The Wave. And how does she take a stand? By publishing an exposé on The Wave in the school paper. Language and communication are pretty powerful forces in this novel – and we have them to thank for putting an end to The Wave.
Questions About Language and Communication
- Ben feels like words and pictures aren't enough to explain and understand the Holocaust. Do you agree? If so, how will we ever understand? Or is it just an impossible task?
- How would you describe Laurie's relationship with her mother? How do they communicate with each other? And why does Laurie listen to her mother?
- What role does the school newspaper play in this story? Is The Wave trying to make a point about the media or is this just a typical high school activity that happens to work with the plot?
Chew on This
The deeper students get into The Wave, the less they are able to communicate with each other. And that just can't end well.
Ben Ross needs some coaching on how to communicate. Hello, he compares his students to Nazis! There has got to be a better way.