Brian Ammon, Page 45
Here, Brian talks about his fear of the upcoming match against Clarksville. Although he is joking, his comment is still very revealing. In Germany in the 1930s, many citizens were afraid that their country would be invaded or left behind economically. In fact, Hitler justified many of his early military actions by claiming they were 'defensive.' This fearful mentality helps to explain the Germans' enthusiasm for Nazism, and it also helps to explain why David introduces The Wave to his team despite his own misgivings. It is also important that Brian compares joining the Wave to two very commonplace actions--eating cereal and doing homework. The students do not think that joining The Wave is a serious ethical decision--it is just part of their daily life. Likewise, many Germans did not recognize the magnitude of the ethical decision they were making by becoming Nazis until after the war was over.
“You have to understand that this experiment can’t go any further than I let it go. The whole basis for The Wave is the idea of a group willing to follow their leader. As long as I’m involved in this, I can assure you that it can’t get out of hand.”
Ben Ross, Page 79
When Mr. Ross discusses The Wave with Principal Owens, he is still confident in his ability to control the experiment. Since he invented The Wave and is its leader, he believes he can control what its members do. However, Strasser undermines this idea even as Mr. Ross professes it wholeheartedly. On the way to Owens's office, Mr. Ross notices that students have begun to take The Wave into their own hands, saluting him outside of class and advertising for it in the hallways. This foreshadows his later revelation that the students are starting to promote The Wave even without 'orders' from him.
Then he got mad. He said pretty soon people in The Wave wouldn't want to be friends with people who weren't in it. He even said I'd lose all my friends if I didn't join. (11.10)|
This is a passage from the anonymous letter Laurie gets at the school newspaper office. This kid is (justifiably) concerned because of the imbalance of power between Wave members and non-Wave members. Why do you think this student wrote the letter anonymously?
Maybe he was making a big deal out of nothing, but on the other hand, there had been that feeling, that group unity. (5.85)|
David is attracted to The Wave because he likes the feeling of being part of something, of being part of a team and having all that team support. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that feeling. It only becomes a problem when loyalty to a group makes you turn on yourself or the people you care about. Then it's time to reevaluate.
David knew that if he could get the team half as charged up as Mr. Ross history class had been that day, they could tear apart most of the teams in their league. (5.85)|
David is super committed to his football team. No matter how much they stink up the field, he has faith that things can change.
You know why we've done so bad this year? Because we are twenty-five one-man teams all wearing the same Gordon High uniforms." (6.43)|
The Gordon High football players have no loyalty to each other: they're only looking out for themselves and so they don't do well as a team. This definitely seems to be part of their problem, but in the end, a newfound sense of teamwork doesn't make up for their real problem – they're just no good at football. Hey, it happens!
"Well, you know […] this country was built by people who were part of a group – the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers. I don't think it's wrong for Laurie to be learning how to cooperate." (7.11)|
At first, Laurie's dad thinks The Wave is A-okay. He makes a point that you may have already been considering: it takes organized activity and loyalty to a group in order to accomplish certain goals. But what he fails to ask is this:…