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The Wave

The Wave

by Todd Strasser

Memory and the Past Theme

Why do we pay attention in history class? Actually, let's rephrase that: why should we pay attention in history class? Well, The Wave argues that the study of the past can help us build a better future, by learning from our mistakes. This novel certainly can't be used as a history book, but it can be used as a jumping off point toward further study about the Holocaust and World War II. It encourages us to learn more about this period in history by (a) showing us how relevant it is to our lives, and (b) raising some burning questions that just make us crave more knowledge. Mmm, knowledge.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. What does The Wave tells us about history and its relationship to the present? Do you think that studying history can actually change what happens in the future?
  2. Does this novel make you want to chew on some more juicy history nuggets? Do you have the same questions as Ben's students about the past? What other questions would you have asked?
  3. Will this experience of being part of The Wave become an important part of these students' lives? Will they remember these eight days and think about them in the future? And will they learn from their mistakes?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Wave clearly shows us how studying the past can help us understand the present. History is everywhere.

If the author really wanted to prove a point about learning from past mistakes, he should have told us what happened to everyone after The Wave broke up. How are we supposed to know that anything is different now?

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