The Wave

What was the attitude of the students toward the experiment?


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Although they will eventually reject The Wave, Laurie and David are very enthusiastic about it at first. David sees The Wave as an opportunity to help himself and his teammates. He thinks that its message of teamwork and discipline will help them to defeat their football rival, Clarksville. Compared to Laurie, his motives are somewhat self-centered—he sees The Wave as a means to achieving athletic glory for himself and his friends.

In contrast, Laurie believes The Wave can help others. Her strongest example of The Wave’s success is the fact that Robert is no longer bullied. Although she was uncomfortable on the first day of the experiment, she believes that organized, disciplined “Strength through Community” might make teenagers better, more compassionate people than they would be on their own.

Strasser emphasizes that adults are drawn into The Wave as easily as teenagers are. Laurie’s father thinks that today’s youth need all the help they can get, and Mr. Ross is completely fascinated by the changes The Wave has caused in his students’ behavior. Even though Mr. Ross consciously modeled The Wave on Nazi political tactics, he still recognizes that his students could benefit from some discipline.