Rhue, Morton - The Wave

Ben Ross, Summary, Main Characters, Ben Ross, Laurie Saunders, David Collins, Robert Billings, Referat, Hausaufgabe, Rhue, Morton - The Wave
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The Wave

In a history-lesson the teacher Ben Ross showed a film about Hitler and his German youth movement. The pupils who attended Mr. Ross’ class could not believe that it was possible to manipulate such a number of people. Many of the teenagers who took part in this lesson were discussing the topic for quite a long time. So Ben began to think about the behaviour of these people who lived 50 years ago. Was it so unintelligible? To get an answer to this question he started an experiment. He wanted to prove that every human being could be influenced and manipulated by a strong and authoritarian leader.

So Ben illustrated the situation to the pupils by a little experiment. He wrote on the blackboard: „ STRENGTH THROUGH DISCIPLINE! “.And he started to give the teenagers certain commands. The children were interested in the solidarity and so Ben went on with his test. The next slogan he put up was: „STRENGTH THROUGH COMMUNITY! “.

With these two rules the pupils got the feeling that they were acting like one single person. Even outsiders like Robert were integrated in the group and so a real organization was built up. Mr. Ross decided to call it THE WAVE. He even developed a special salutation and certain member-cards. So the little school class of the beginning was growing into a real movement. Some members tried to recruit new ones and others started to control the others if they obeyed the three rules: Strength through discipline, Strength through community, Strength through action. But by the time Ben’s girlfriend and the headmaster of the Gordon High School, the school where Ben worked, started to worry because they were afraid that the experiment might get out of control. But Ben was able to reassure them and so he went on with it.

One day Laurie Saunders, the editor of the school-newspaper found an anonymous letter in the editorial office. The writer said that pupils of the school were forced to join THE WAVE. She did not know what to do and so she went home. There her father told her that a Jewish boy had been beaten up by some members of the Wave. She decided to bring out a special edition of the newspaper in which she reported about THE WAVE. When Ben read the newspaper he was shocked. He had never realized that the group had become that big. David, another member, went to Laurie because he wanted to tell her to stop these actions. But she could convince him that THE WAVE was a bad organization. They went to Mr. Ross and told him to stop the movement the same evening. Upon that Ben called in a big assembly the next afternoon. There he showed all the teenagers their real leader and the reason for his experiment: HITLER. Now the pupils realized that they had been manipulated successfully like the German young people under Hitler.

Main Characters

Ben Ross
Ben Ross is a young teacher who designs his lesson exiting and interesting. His subject is history. His students like his classes and trust him. For him it is important that his students understand his lesson and he wants them to get close to teaching material. That is one reason why he started the project "the wave".
He enjoys occupational status but he lost it during the project.

Laurie Saunders
Laurie Saunders is a student of Ben Ross who always has good grades and is very popular. She is the girlfriend of David Collins and her best friend is Amy Smith. Laurie was the only person against the project by Ben Ross. She started actions against "the wave" and lost therefore their whole friends.

David Collins
David Collins is the boyfriend of Laurie Saunders and also a student of Ben Ross. He is the leader of the football team. That is the reason for his popularity. First, he is an avid follower of the project. David thinks that all the others must be right and Laurie must be wrong. As he cannot stop her, he starts to attack her verbally and physically. At the end he understands that Laurie is right and he is wrong.

Robert Billings
At the beginning of the book Robert Billing is an outsider. As a member of The Wave, he feels very well because he finally respected and perceived. He plays an important role in the project. When the project is terminated, he is the worst affected.

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