by Todd Strasser
The Wave Theme of Loyalty
Loyalty is usually considered a positive thing, right? Well, The Wave looks at the dark side of loyalty – how hard it can be to balance personal loyalty with loyalty to a group. The members of The Wave give up their individuality in order to participate in The Wave. And in the process they also betray those they care about: Laurie Saunders' best friend and boyfriend both turn against her when she questions The Wave. On top of all that, this novel also asks us to strongly question our leaders, and begs us not to follow them blindly. Through Laurie Saunders, the argument is made that by developing a strong sense of individuality and a critical questioning mind we can avoid being taken in by unscrupulous (dodgy) leaders.
Questions About Loyalty
- Is Ben Ross loyal to his students? His wife? His school?
- Why are Ben's students so loyal to him? If a different teacher had tried this experiment, would it have gone this far? Or did students follow Ben because they already felt some sense of loyalty toward him?
- What does this book have to say about being loyal to one's self? Is that more important than staying loyal to friends, family, or community?
Chew on This
Loyalty is portrayed in a totally negative light in The Wave. These students' loyalty becomes an obsession, and fast.
David is clearly not a good boyfriend: he isn't loyal to Laurie, and he flip flops back and forth depending on his current situation. Run in the other direction, Laurie!