by Todd Strasser
The Wave Theme of Violence
To study history is often to study violence. The Nazis and the Holocaust are specifically fascinating because of the methods of violence involved: combinations of brutal and bizarre physical and psychological violence practiced on millions of people. This serves as a backdrop for the entire novel, but violence also raises its ugly head in the present, while the students are studying the violence of the past. Wave members resort to bullying and stalking when their "movement" is threatened. And since bullying and teen violence are not a thing of the past, Shmoop thinks they're worth talking about. The Wave can help us get the conversation started.
Questions About Violence
- How did you react to the historical violence described in the novel? Was it too explicit for a young adult novel?
- Why do the students in The Wave think it's okay to use violence to make The Wave a success?
- Can we ever forgive David for physically assaulting Laurie? And what are we supposed to make of the "scuffle" that causes such a stir?
- Is Ben's experiment a form of psychological violence? Could it have done lasting damage to his students? What do you think?
Chew on This
If physical violence weren't involved, The Wave may not have been such a bad thing.
The Wave doesn't take violence seriously enough. David should have had major consequences for what he did to Laurie.