The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The Owl (Symbol)

The owl is a symbol of foreboding. It first appears in a woman's dream, and it is hinted that it has appeared in many other dreams in the chapter named Intrusion: 1995. The owl symbolizes the unknown and our fear of it.

Teddy Bear (Symbol)

"That was all he needed to hear. He pushed the teddy bear into my chest." (82)

Sammy gives Cassie a teddy bear as he prepares to board the school bus with the soldiers. This teddy bear becomes a symbol to Cassie of what she lives for and what she hopes to achieve - saving Sammy. It also symbolizes her last hope that some part of her family lives and that she can one day rebuild her life in some way. The teddy bear symbolizes her hope that not everything in the world is evil yet, and that maybe an innocent, sweet soul like five-year-old Sammy could survive and make his way back to Cassie.

Silver Locket (Symbol)

"I reach for her in the dark. My fingers hook on the locket around her neck and tear the silver chain free." (118)

For Ben, the older brother of Sissy, the silver locket is the last memento of her that he has. He pulled it from her neck as he tried to save her from the thieves robbing their house, but they killed her anyway. Ben cannot live with himself because of this incident.

Vosch's Photo (Symbol)

"He tosses a wallet-size photo into my lap. I pick it up. There's a little blond kid around six, maybe seven. With Vosch's eyes. Being held in the arms of a pretty lady around Vosch's age." (127)

This photo is all Colonel Vosch has left of his family. It drives him to do what he does, to survive, just as Cassie is driven by the teddy bear and Ben is driven by the silver locket. It provides a glimpse of humanity into an otherwise rather mysterious and secretive military man.

Gun (Symbol)

"He's gone when I come back. And, yes, I came back. Where was I supposed to go, without my gun and especially without that damned bear, my reason for living?" (358)

Cassie expresses this sentiment when she comes back to find Evan gone. She came back, not for him, but for her gun and Sammy's bear. Cassie spends a lot of time talking about her guns - the M16 and the Luger - and how they ensure her safety. They allow her a sense of safety and power that she could never have if she was unarmed - or even armed with just a knife. The gun symbolizes Cassie's freedom and her capability. It represents her hope for surviving, for one day finding Sammy and taking him home.