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In the novel The Wave by Morton Rhue, Robert Billings is a student at Gordon High school in 1969. Robert is a recognizable figure and one of the main characters who experiences the most change throughout the novel, and is a recognizable figure. Robert was a shy, timid young boy who was known as the class loser and “Gordon’s High’s very own untouchable.” Robert found school as a difficult subject itself because he knew he could never live up to the expectations of his brother Jeff.

When Mr Ross, Robert’s History teacher, introduced a new teaching technique that gave his students a better understanding of what life may have been like in Nazi-Germany during World War II, Robert started paying attention to the lesson being taught. By participating in all the class activities and was used as an example to demonstrate discipline, “Everybody look at Robert, his legs parallel, knees bent to ninety degrees and his spine straight and chin back. Well done Robert.”

Mr Ross created a group, a community, called the Wave, and Robert Billings was a member. The Wave represented equality and impartiality which is what made Robert change so dramatically. Robert went from class loser, to being an equal with other students because the Wave terminated the specified groups of popularity. Robert became a new person and found his self-identity when he stated without hesitation “Mr Ross, I feel like I have been born again.” Robert became Mr Ross’ bodyguard due to the fact that Robert believed that the leader of the Wave needed protecting in case anything should happen to him. This is where Mr Ross notices an incredible change in Robert, “Where once stood a withdrawn and unconfident boy, there now stood a serious Wave member, concerned for his leader.”

The change in Robert is important because it shows how a simple difference in a teacher’s teaching can make one student, who had an uncomfortable and unpleasant background, change so dramatically in a short period of time. This shows how changes can happen so quickly by letting an issue indulge a teenage mind, and renewing a person in an either positive or negative way, “Robert is a completely new person.” Robert had come from a situation where, he was not prepared mentally or emotionally for when the change occurred, therefore the result was negative. Metamorphism occurs to Robert and is an important focus in the novel to demonstrate the consequences of the Wave. Robert had never experienced being equal with his peers and the Wave gave him an opportunity which evolved and made Robert change. “Mr Ross, for once in my life I feel equal.”

Robert’s change represents The Wave itself, “A wave represents a pattern of change.” Robert is change and The Wave is change. Change is important because it is the moral in the novel that shows how one thing can make a difference and CHANGE a personality and life. “…He seems like a totally new person.”



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