This study guide will help you analyze the novel The Wave (1981) by Morton Rhue (Todd Strasser). You can also find a summary of the text, full characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting the novel and putting it into perspective.
Morton Rhue, a pseudonym for the American author Todd Strasser (born 1950), has penned over 140 young adult and children's books, along with short stories and non-fiction pieces. Strasser's works often explore relatable themes for young readers, such as bullying or feeling like an outsider, but he also delves into complex issues like school shootings, homelessness, and war. Among his novels are Angel Dust Blue (1978) and Fallout (2014). Recently, his novel American Terrorist faced controversy and was pulled from publication in the United States.
The Wave, a young adult novel published in 1981, is primarily based on the 1967 experiment "The Third Wave" conducted at a Palo Alto high school by teacher Ron Jones. The novel also draws inspiration from a 1981 film adaptation of the experiment. Through a contemporary lens, The Wave demonstrates the ease with which individuals can be captivated and manipulated by an idea. The group's sense of security and belonging enables even the most ostracized outsider to feel accepted and integrated. Although the novel concludes abruptly, it effectively communicates the ever-present danger posed by totalitarian associations.