Study Guide

The Wave Violence

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Chapter 12

"Today after school a boy was beaten up," her father said. "Now I got this story secondhand, so I don't know if it's all accurate. But apparently there was some kind of rally at school today, and he had resisted joining this Wave game or said something critical about it." (12.75)

It's not clear just how much violence happens as a result of The Wave. We aren't ever really given the full details of the event Laurie's dad is talking about. But the point is, after less than a week, The Wave seems to be making the general atmosphere at school more violent. And that just can't be a good thing.

Chapter 13

It turned out the boy had not been hurt badly, only roughed up by a couple of hoods. There was some uncertainty over whether it was over The Wave, or whether The Wave was just an excuse the hoods had used to start a fight. However, one of the hoods had called the boy a dirty Jew. (13.36)

This detail wasn't in the original account of the real-life version of The Wave. Why do you think the writers would add a detail like this? How does it change the story?

Chapter 14
Laurie Saunders

"Amy, I'm serious. The Wave is hurting people. And everyone is going along with it like a flock of sheep. I can't believe that after reading this you'd still be part of it. Don't you see what The Wave is? It's everybody forgetting who they are." (14.7)

Evidence that The Wave might be causing physical violence convinces Laurie that she has a responsibility to warn people about it. She's also concerned about what could be considered psychological violence: she thinks The Wave is forcing people to give up their personal identities in order to be part of the group.

Robert Billings

"Laurie Saunders is a threat," Robert stated bluntly, "She must be stopped." (14.34)

Robert has the most to lose if The Wave is stopped. We get that. But these words show that he's willing to hurt others in order to stay popular and powerful. We do feel sorry for Robert, but his willingness to turn to violence makes Shmoop think he has some serious problems – way beyond the scope of The Wave.

"Yeah, but I don't like Robert's attitude," David hissed back. "It's like we must wipe out anyone who resists us. That's the exact opposite of how we should approach this." (14.39)

David seems to have the right idea. If they want to show that The Wave is a good thing, bumping people off is probably not the best option. But it turns out David is a little more attached to The Wave than he thinks, and this becomes glaringly clear when he, too, turns to violence.

Chapter 15

David sat waiting in the passenger seat of Brian's van. They were parked near the all-night tennis courts because David knew that when Laurie came home from school after dark she always took this route, where the bright lights from the courts made her feel safer. (15.28)

David and Brian are stalking Laurie and they obviously plan on threatening her. By the way, both of those actions are illegal (not to mention, terribly uncool).

There he'd been, denying The Wave could hurt anyone, and at the same time he'd hurt Laurie, his own girlfriend, in the name of The Wave. (15.63)

David is shocked by his own violence, and we at Shmoop wish that the novel explored these feelings a bit more. Since Todd Strasser didn't do it, why don't you? Go ahead, and let us know what you come up with.

A few feet from her locker, Laurie froze. There on her locker door, the word "enemy" was painted in red letters. (15.23)

This seems like a warning of violence to come if Laurie doesn't stop speaking up about The Wave. What do you think? Who wrote this?

The Gordon High Community

"Just as long as she understands," Brian said. "We're not playing around anymore." (15.37)


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