In Language Arts class, we just finished a book called The Wave by Todd Strasser. The Wave was a true story, an experiment that took place in Palo Alto, California, in 1969. This was an experiment performed by Ron Jones, whose character in the book is Ben Ross. This all started when a film about The Holocaust was played in Ben Ross’s history class room. Not all students seemed as into it as Ben was, so Ben put the students in place of power to answer some questions.
“Whoever is new to power is always harsh,” Aeschylus.
This quote (above) explains how the students in The Wave movement felt. They felt power and only power. Power that could not be ceased or collected unless somebody with even more power stopped it. The Wave is a tool that students used to ditch their own classes to be in Ben’s class, to beat up other kids, and to act as soldiers. The Wave was already bad enough for these students, imagine how this would follow through in the future! They can’t possible thrive being in a set group of people, nor should they leave their own friends behind as traitors. This movement was bad, almost too bad.
First, The Wave was not good for the students because there was no popularity or standing out. This sounds almost like a good thing, but G-d made us who we are so that we could be ourselves. This was getting to the point that everyone was acting the same, and was getting out of hand. The Nazis were the same. Although they were being trained to act as a squadron, they did act like one, and look at what came out of that! This does sound like something a military would pursue, but it was more than that. The Nazis tortured, gassed, whipped, strangled, starved, and most commonly, killed the less superior race. Many thought that The Wave could turn into a group like this, and it was heading into that direction.
Another example of why The Wave is so horrible is because everybody was acting like a unit. This was critical because in order to be successful, you need to learn how to do things your own way and develop your mind to choose for yourself. In this scenario, I think these people should fend for themselves and stand up for what’s right. The Wave prevents students from doing this because so many people are a part of The Wave, and it is pressuring everyone to say no to what everyone else thought.
Also, being in The Wave is very much like being a soldier in an army. The point of The Wave was to show the students that the Nazis had a lot of power. By continuing this movement, many students, not only in this class, came together to act as an army. One student took it too far and beat up a Jewish boy while chanting, “Strength through discipline, strength through community, strength through action,” which is The Wave motto. After the fight, the Wave member called the Jewish boy a “dirty Jew.” This is one of the many reasons that I think this must stop!
“I don’t think I like it, Laurie. It sounds to militaristic to me,” stated Laurie’s mother. Laurie was a girl who was in the movement and was hesitant from the beginning about the whole thing. I agree with Laurie’s mother because it is true, this act is militaristic. This is not a good kind of thing for high school students to be getting into, because they still don’t know everything there is to know about the world. Also, they didn’t use a lot of common sense!
To bring all of these variables together and come to a conclusion, The Wave was a horrible movement that should not have come to be. This led the students in Gordon High School into times that they didn’t think would ever happen. They didn’t get a chance to fend for themselves or stand up for what they believed in even if they wanted to, due to peer pressure. Everybody stayed together as a squadron or unit, and it did not seem realistic. With all of that said, The Wave was a horrible experience for Gordon High School students to go through and I believe that this should have been controlled and prevented from the start.
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