Think about the authors purpose.
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The Wave was Todd Strasser's third novel, written while he spent days working as the owner of a fortune cookie manufacturer. It is based on a real-life experiment performed by high-school teacher Ron Jones in 1967 (for more information, see "The True Story Behind The Wave"). Throughout the 1970s, Jones's experiment was cited in numerous studies and academic papers and attracted publicity.
On his web site, Strasser writes:
"To be honest, I have always wondered if the 'real life' experiment conducted by Mr. Jones actually went as far as his essay alleges. At the same time I firmly believe that whether it did or not is entirely besides the point."