Study Guide

The Wave Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

  • Ben Ross is troubled. He feels bad that he couldn't give his students answers to their questions about the Nazis and the German people in history class, so he stops by the library on his way home and picks up a bunch of books on the topic.
  • The more you know, the more you can teach, right?
  • Ben's wife Christy played tennis with a friend tonight, so Ben spends hours reading. None of the books seem to have the answers he's looking for, though.
  • He thinks about it: maybe the only way Ben's students would understand is if they were somehow in a similar situation.
  • Hmmm. Ben kind of likes that idea. Maybe he can spend a few class periods trying to give his students "a sampling, a taste of what life in Nazi Germany might have been like" (4.3). (Sounds kind of dangerous, don' t you think?).
  • After tennis, Christy had dinner with a friend, so she doesn't get home until around 11:00PM. Even that late, she finds Ben still buried in his books.
  • She knows Ben gets really obsessed with whatever he's working on, and she asks what the latest project is.
  • He's too distracted to answer so she looks at some of his books. When she sees the titles, she asks him, "What are you doing, cramming for a degree in dictatorship?" (4.19). Ba-dum-chh!
  • He explains that his students asked him some important questions that he wasn't able to answer. But it turns out that none of the books he has seem to have the answers either.
  • The students might only be able to understand through experience, he tells his wife.
  • She reminds him that he has to teach the next day so he should head to bed. But of course, she's sure he'll be up all night reading and thinking.

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