EIntroduction: Morton Rhue’s the wave is a novel based on the true events of Ron Jones, in 1969. The main character is Ben Ross a history teacher who wants his students to realize the importance of democracy and individual conscience in the face of mass, manipulation and indoctrination. He first shows the students a video on the Nazi camps and what happened to the Jews that were forced to live there. Allot of the students became uncomfortable after watching the film.
Mr. Ross then conducts an experiment to mirror the propaganda and dictatorship of Hitler; Hitler uses primary psychological controls such as symbols, salutes and slogans to brain wash people in to following his cause. Ben Ross also uses these methods he asks the class to decide on a name for the group, they go with the wave because they refer to the group as a wave, the reason most people in the class join is so they feel normal and aren’t excluded anymore for example Robert billings was a loser, and in the shadow of his older brother who majored in medicine while Robert is in the wave he dose not worry about what people thought and becomes part of the wave and dose what ever he can to keep it that way.
Further into the book we discover there is a darker side to the wave movement, as the wave starts to take in more people and becomes unstable, people start to turn evil, the wave even brings out the darker side to David, who attacks Laurie over an argument about the wave. The rest of the school are over whelmed by the power of the wave unit and join the wave. All except Laurie, Alex and Carl who are the publishers of the grape vine which can be represented as the few people that still want democracy in the school but are being threatened and become paranoid.
The darker aspects of human nature can be shown through the characters in the novel the best example of this would be Robert billings a boy who wasn’t associated with any person in the school, people made fun of him, you even fell sympathetic for him in the beginning then Ben Ross introduces the wave it quickly goes down hill, he gets super involved in the wave and threatens Laurie behind her back because she disapproves of the wave and talks badly about it, the narrator even suggests that he stalks Laurie after the school hours also that he had something to do with the spray painting of enemy on her locker
We have to assume that this didn’t all appear out of nowhere. Robert has some seriously bad ideas going on in his head that were probably in there before the Wave even existed. At the same time, his tears at the end of the novel suggest that he’s a sensitive, vulnerable young man who is simply struggling to belong. Once again, we’ve got a problematic character.