The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave Summary and Analysis of The Winnowing and The Human Clay


The point of view now shifts to that of Sammy, Cassie's little brother, in The Winnowing. After he boards the school bus, he is taken to a facility called Camp Haven where he is tagged with a microchip and mapped like Ben was by Dr. Pam.

Sammy meets a little girl named Megan on the bus, who is sick and labelled green, while Sammy is labelled red, or normal. The Camp officials continually repeat that the children are now "perfectly safe" and that they are humanity's only hope in winning against the Others (207).

The point of view shifts back to Ben, who has been training under Reznick with a squad, in The Human Clay. He is slowly becoming a soldier and is forced to take the new recruit, Nugget, under his wing when he speaks up to defend him. Nugget turns out to be Sammy and Ben comforts him by saying the prayer that Cassie used to say with him.

The squad, Squad 53, cleans up the bodies of those who have died (P&D, or Processing and Disposal), including Sammy who is five, which angers Ben. Ben and Sammy quickly bond a great deal and Sammy adjusts to camp life well, excelling at everything.

The Squad participates in an air raid drill which frightens Sammy, causing them all to be late as Ben helps him. This leads to an argument between Tank and Ben about the expendable nature of human life and whether the weak are worth the trouble. Tank has a breakdown and is sent for a psychiatric evaluation. One morning in P&D, Tank's body shows up, and Ben and Dumbo send him off before anyone else can see him.

A replacement for Tank is sent, a girl named Ringer who Ben has noticed before. Ringer teaches Ben how to shoot well and he stops holding the squad back from graduating. Ringer and Ben flirt. The members of Squad 53 graduate, except for Sammy who is reassigned to a different squad for two more years of training. Ben promises, like Cassie, that he will come back for Sammy and he gives him his sister's silver locket.

Ben becomes a sergeant, which Ringer thought she was going to be. Reznick reveals that Tank died of an overdose one day after being taken off of suicide watch. Reznick confesses that he was there when the human soldiers - not Others, as suspected at times - killed the adults after taking the children and that he finds it hard to live with.

Ben is given the choice of taking his battalion into enemy territory or staying at the base. He chooses the former. Vosch gives a speech and Ben is fueled by hatred of him and the situation.


The Winnowing confirms for the reader that Sammy is alive. This chapter is told from his perspective and shows us just how terrifying this new world can be. Sammy regrets giving his bear to Cassie at first. He has trouble sleeping on the bus without his bear.

He goes over in his mind how things that seemed so permanent, like his mother, his family, his bear, have now all disappeared. Sammy has some trouble adjusting to this idea, but he eventually adjusts to it without too much trouble.

We see that Sammy is still very trusting, especially in how he accepts what Parker says - that Megan will be fine. Megan herself has a bad feeling about the situation and tries to follow Sammy, who reassures her, but begins to have doubts as well. Megan also makes Sammy realizes how lucky he is to have any family left at all, since all of Megan's family died (191). Sammy also reveals that he has a hard time remembering his Mom's face nowadays.

In The Human Clay, the point of view shifts back to Ben, who is quickly adjusting to being a soldier. Ben seems to relish this environment, working hard despite having a harsh instructor.

In this chapter, the reader sees Ben grow from just another member of the squad to its leader. Where once he was uncertain and a terrible shot, he is now a fairly good shooter and has managed to find himself in a position of authority. He is once again in control of his destiny.