How we cite our quotes:
He was "contagious," they'd say, meaning that he was charismatic. He could get them to follow through. (1.14)
Charisma is another word for charm. Many sociologists (people who study how societies function) believe that people are more likely to accept the authority of a leader who is charismatic. Ben's students accept his authority because they believe he can lead them places they want to go. Can you think of any charismatic leaders that you know?
"[Adolf Hitler] espoused the theory that the Jews were destroyers of civilization and that the Germans were a superior race. Today we know that Hitler was a paranoid, a psychopath, literally a madman. In 1932 he was thrown in jail for his political activities, but by 1934 he and his party had seized control of the German government." (2.3)
Sure, Hitler had some charisma (hard as this is for us to see), but as the above quote suggests, the people didn't give Hitler the power to lead them, he took it.
There were two girls from Mr. Ross's history class sitting at the table Robert chose. As Robert set his tray down, they both stood up and took their trays to another table. Robert pretended he hadn't noticed. (3.3)
These two girls are trying to gain power in their society at the expense of one its members, Robert Billings. Robert is an outsider. The girls think that if they try to include Robert in their group, they might wind up on the outside, too.