The Wave: Chapter 11,12
Summary – Chapter Eleven and Chapter Twelve
The next day Laurie finds an envelope left at the publications office. It has been slipped under the door and inside is a story by an anonymous author. It is called ‘Welcome to the Wave – or Else’ and is written in the first person. The narrator is a junior who heard about The Wave from the seniors.
The narrator and friends attended Mr Ross’s class to see what it was about and in the corridor afterwards a senior asked them if they wanted to join The Wave. Two friends said yes, two said they did not know and the narrator said no. The senior convinced the abstainers how good it is and asked the narrator again, who again said no. The senior became angry and said the narrator would lose friends if not. This backfired on the senior, though, as the friends said people should not have to join. Since then, the senior has told the narrator to join soon or it will be too late. The narrator ends by asking ‘all I want to know is: too late for what?’
Once she has read this, Laurie feels that her thoughts are beginning to ‘come into focus’.
When he leaves Owens’ office, Ben notices all the posters and banners referring to The Wave rally. He feels as though there is somebody walking behind him and turns to find Robert has been following him. On being asked, Robert tells him he is his bodyguard. Ben hesitates and wonders if this is going too far. He has also heard students discussing ‘orders’ when he has not ordered them to do anything (such as putting up posters): ‘It was as if The Wave had taken on a life of its own and how he and his students were literally riding it.’ He agrees to Robert being his bodyguard, even though by saying this he knows he is also declaring he needs one. Ben thinks it is essential to the experiment that he maintains his image of leader and having a bodyguard will enhance this.
In Chapter Twelve, Laurie is still uncertain about attending the rally. She has started to think of The Wave as scary and the letter confirms this. Her thoughts are interrupted by a fight outside and Brian is one of the fighters. Brian shouts the mottos and the other boy tells him to ‘“shove it”’. David comes in the room and explains the other boy is Deutsch and he has been after Brian’s place on the team. Deutsch is not in The Wave and David says if he was he would not be trying to steal Brian’s place, and would not be on a ‘“big ego trip”’.
He reminds Laurie about the rally and she decides to not go. He looks shocked and says how important it is and she says he and the others are taking it too seriously. He denies this and says she should come as others look up to her. She says this is why she is not going. She wants people to make up their own minds. He looks at her with doubt and she says they have a right to not join. He squints at her and asks if she is being like this because she is not ‘“special”’ anymore and is no longer the best. She yells at him and says to not be stupid and he walks off as he tells her to find a smart boyfriend.
When the rally is on, she goes to the publications office so she does not have to explain herself. Alone, she thinks how she has to do something. Alex comes in and he says how soon the school will have to change its name to Fort Gordon High (as the students are like ‘“troops”’). Carl comes in and smiles and says ‘“Looks like I’ve stumbled into Anne Frank’s attic”’. He has been to the rally and left for the bathroom and came down to the office instead of returning. Laurie reminds them about getting the next issue of the paper out and Carl says they should do it quickly before the rest of the staff are ‘“carried away by The Mighty Wave”’. Laurie calls an emergency meeting at her house on Sunday at 2pm and tells them to pass the word on. She also says to try and make sure only non-Wave members come.
That night, Laurie stays alone in her room. She and David had arranged a date, but at 10.30 he still has not come for her. They have been dating since sophomore and The Wave has broken them up. Her father comes up to see her and at first consoles her. He moves on to tell her how he is concerned about The Wave.
He says he has heard a story of a boy at her school being beaten up after the rally. The boy either resisted joining The Wave or said something critical about it. The boy is quite new to the school and is also Jewish. Laurie’s father asks if this might have anything to do with his mistreatment.
She says this was never the original intention of The Wave as it was set up to show how Nazi Germany could have come about. It was not designed to turn them into ‘“Little Nazis”’. He asks if it has got out of hand and she nods in agreement. He says some of the men he knows are talking about seeing the principal on Monday and she says the next issue of The Grapevine is going to be a special one concerned with exposing the whole thing. He says it sounds like a good idea, but tells her to be careful.
Analysis – Chapter Eleven and Chapter Twelve
As the days pass and more students are attracted to The Wave, the negative aspects of this movement begin to come to light. Because the movement depends on ideas such as discipline and action and power, and because it is implied force is acceptable, it is unsurprising that students who want to resist it will face physical opposition. It is a movement founded on unity and discipline and so does not accept disunity or disaffection. By referring to the stories of students who are singled out for not wanting to be in the group, the ideology of fascism is brought clearly into the light. For all the cant about community, people are only considered of worth if they do not question the party line.