The Wave


Book Info:
Title: "The Wave - a classroom out of control"
Author: Morton Rhue

Main Characters:
Ben Ross (history teacher)
Laurie Sanders (best pupil in her class)
David Collins (Laurie's boyfriend)
Amy Smith (best friend of Laurie)


The class saw a film about the Nazi Regime. They can't believe why people didn't do anything against the Nazis. Ross can't give an answer to the questions. It must be something one could only understand by being there or if possible by creating a similar situation.
In the nest history lesson Ross wrote on the blackboard: "Strength through Discipline". This was the first part of his experiment. When he is talking about discipline he is talking about power and success. From that point the students became more interested. First they have to take a better sitting position and they have to wander through the classroom and sit down as fast as they can. At the beginning there was chatting and a big mess. For the next twenty minutes the class practised, then they did it in half the time.
Ross told them three rules: everybody must have pencils and notepapers for notetaking; asking or answering a question you must stand at the side of your seat; the firs words you say asking or answering a question are "Mr. Ross".
On the next day the students are already sitting on their seats in their posture. Ross added to the words Strength through Discipline the word community. Their mottos were "Strength through Discipline" and "Strength through Community". The whole class stood up and repeated the mottos. Then Ross drew on the blackboard a circle with the shape of a wave in it. This was their common sign. They also had a common salute.
David tried to get the football team into the wave. He saw a possibility to win more games and making a real team.
On the third day Ross gave them yellow membership cards. Some had a red "X" on the other side like Brian's and Robert's cards. Those pupils are like monitors. They have to denounce other students who don't obey to the rules of the way direct to Mr. Ross. Then they enlarged the motto by a third word "Strength through Action". From this day Ross wants that all are equal and there are no competings against each other.
The Wave was no longer an idea or a game. It was a living moment in the students.
Laurie is the only one who feels strange about the Wave. The other like it because they are all equal, they didn't have to worry how populate they are.
Laurie got a letter from a younger student who was with his friends in Mr. Ross' class, too. After the lesson a senior student asked them if they want to join in and how great it is. The student's friends joined in but the boy didn't. So the senior told him that he never will have friends because they don't want pupils who aren't in the wave and if he joins not soon it will be too late.
Robert wants to be Ross' bodyguard because such a big leader needs bodyguards. At the beginning Ross has some doubts but he agreed because he saw it as a part of the experiment.
Laurie found some students who are against the wave, too. They are writing an article about it. It explains the wave as a dangerous and mindless movement.
After school Brian and David are waiting for Laurie because David has to talk with her, but Laurie doesn't want to listen to him. So David grasped her arm. He says that Laurie hasn't the right to disturb what is so good for nearly all students. When she shouted that she hates the Wave he throw her down on the grass. David couldn't believe that he had done such a stupid thing for the wave. Laurie and David visit Ben Ross for telling him to break up the wave. Ross already has a plan but he can't tell it to Laurie and David because if the student regonize that he wants to end it they will have learned nothing or they'll fight against Ben Ross and giving up the wave.
Next day Ross explains the students that there is a rally where all members should come because their leader speaks to them. At the rally they had guards who controlled the membership cards and where aware that only wave members at the rally. All the pupils are staring on a huge, blank movie screen. Then Ben Ross shouted "There is your leader!" and the film starts. All the wave members now see the same film about the nazi regime with Hitler they already have seen at the beginning. Ross added that they have made some good nazis. The pupils are shocked. They see that it could happen again and that they could be the victims. They learnt a lot about this experiment and will now see the Nazi time with other eyes.

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