What was the major life lesson learned by Laurie, David and Mr.Ross in "The Wave" by Todd Strasser?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In "The Wave" by Todd Strasser, a teacher, Mr. Ross comes up with an idea to help his students learn about the Holocaust. He creates a fictional group called the Wave where students are expected to conform to the ideals of the group for the "good" of the group. Unfortunately, his plan gets out of hand when the students learn the lesson Mr. Ross is trying to teach too well. They begin to blindly follow the imaginary leader of the Wave and ostracize students who refuse to join them, eventually physically bullying those who will not. When Laurie writes an article about the negative impact of the Wave, her boyfriend, David, tries to convince her to stop spreading her views. In the midst of an argument, David shoves Laurie, and she falls to the ground. David realizes that she is right about the Wave, and they go to Mr. Ross' house to speak to him about ending it. When Mr. Ross sees that they are right, he calls the students together in an assembly to meet their supposed leader. The movie screen is set up, and as Mr. Ross introduces the Wave's leader, they all see Adolf Hitler's image on the screen. In the end, Laurie, David, and Mr. Ross understand that their individuality is important and that no one should blindly follow any leader. Their big lesson is that even though it may be easier to be a part of a group, it is more important to think for themselves and to  question the group's motivation and activities, instead of accepting everything someone tells them as fact.

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