Study Guide

The Wave Chapter 16

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Chapter 16

  • As the chapter opens, Ben is sweating while Principal Owens yells at him about The Wave.
  • Ben admits that he made a mistake. He thinks he can make things right, but he needs Principal Owens to give him one day to do it.
  • Fine. Owens will let him handle it, as long as he promises that it will be over today. But if things get any worse, Ben is outta here. Fired.
  • In history class that day, Ben tells his students that there will be a Wave rally that afternoon at five. Only Wave members are allowed to come.
  • Then he drops a bomb: he tells them that Wave isn't just going on at Gordon High. Over the past week, teachers all over the U.S. have been teaching The Wave.
  • In fact, the U.S. is in a sorry state, and he thinks that The Wave is the only thing that can save the country.
  • David doesn't like the sound of this. It sure doesn't seem like Ben is going to end The Wave. Laurie agrees: she looks over at him, obviously frightened.
  • What is going on?!
  • Jumping up from his seat, David starts to blurt out that Ben said he'd end The Wave. Before he can get it out, Ben stops him and tells him to sit down.
  • Continuing, Ben says that tonight, during the rally, "the founder and national leader of The Wave will appear on cable television to announce the formation of a National Youth Wave Movement!" (16.20).
  • The class cheers, but Laurie and David can't take it. They stand up and tell everybody that Ben is a liar.
  • Ben tells Robert take over the class while he takes Laurie and David to the principal's office. And as the three of them walk toward the principal's office, they can hear the students in history class chanting The Wave mottos.
  • Laurie and David accuse Ben of lying to them last night: he promised to end The Wave and it sure doesn't seem like he's doing it.
  • Ben assures them that he's ending it, and he begs them to trust him. But it's not that easy: they really don't buy it. Still, Ben says he hopes everything will be clear tonight.
  • David and Laurie wait forever in the principal's office. They are sure this is some kind of trick to prevent them from trying to stop The Wave.
  • When they finally get in to see Principal Owens, they tell him their fears. He doesn't seem worried, though, and assure them that everything will be okay.
  • They are not cool with this. David doesn't want to be there to watch whatever is about to go down, so he and Laurie both decide to leave school for the day.
  • As they walk away, David tells Laurie that he feels really bad: he can't believe he got sucked into The Wave.
  • Laurie holds his hand and comforts him. He only got into it because of the good things about it. That's the problem: the people in The Wave can't see the bad parts.
  • What really confuses David is that so many people think The Wave is a positive force. He wonders if it's possible that he and Laurie are the ones who are wrong.
  • Laurie and David hang out in the park, and she remembers how he snapped back to himself the night before. His love for her made him forget The Wave. In fact, it's kind of amazing that something so bad is actually bringing them closer together.
  • Cue big hug. Aw.
  • As they sit in the park, Laurie remembers the day Ben showed them the film of the Nazi concentration camps, the day before Ben started the Wave.
  • She asks David if he remembers telling her that something like that could never happen again.
  • (We remember! This is where Laurie could have given him a big, fat "I told you so" but she holds back.)
  • David says he just can't believe all of this is happening.
  • Apparently, their conversation triggers an idea in Laurie and she says they should go back to school: she needs to see what Mr. Ross does with her own eyes.
  • David is afraid to go back: he's worried that he might get sucked into The Wave again somehow. Laurie says she's sure he won't.

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