Textual interpretation

The Grapevine publication office as a safe space for freedom of expression 

The introduction of the novel the Wave by Morton Rhue (Chapter 1) takes place in the publication office of the school newspaper The Gordon Grapevine, whose editor-in-chief is Laurie Saunders. In this place it is possible for the students, or at least the team from the school newspaper, to express their opinions freely. We can see, then, that the central theme of the novel is suggested right at the beginning. The freedom of expression pursues  the characters throughout the novel and often leads to conflicts between The Wave supporters and the critical voices against the movement. Thus, freedom of expression is of tremendous importance to the novel as a whole. The incompatibility of free expression and peer pressure is skillfully elaborated by Morton Rhue.

In a sense, it can be seen as a leitmotif that the narrator returns to the publication office of the The Gordon Grapevine whenever freedom of expression is in danger, or a conflict threatens to escalate. This place is in contrast with Ben Ross’ history classes. It is Ross, in fact, who severely endangers freedom of expression by naming the community as the most important principle of all. The Wave definitely restricts the fundamental right of people to express their opinions as they wish.

Conflict between group ideology and individuality

The real conflict, however, arises from the subject of National Socialism. History teacher Ben Ross cannot explain to his students in a comprehensible way why the German population did not fight back against Hitler. The idea of an experiment arises in his mind. He collects all the characteristics that, in his opinion, were at the core of National Socialism and creates a movement: The Wave. In t...

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