This essay is about "The Wave", a movie based on an actual story involving the psychological transformation of students of a Californian high school from beliefs of democracy to fascism.

Essay by Kathl85High School, 11th gradeA+, April 2003

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Motivation is a powerful force working in the psyche of every human mind that consciously pushes an individual toward certain tasks in order to reach a desired goal. In "The Wave", a group of high school students' desire to be apart of a community and to hold power blinded them of reason and moral, which eventually led them to a tragic downfall. In this movie, motivation played a crucial role in the gradual destructive behavioral changes of the students at Palo Alto's Cubberly High.

The psychological and behavioral changes initially began to evolve when a history teacher, Mr. Ross, encouraged students to participate in an experiment on forming a movement called "The Wave. The students were immediately entranced by the idea and begin to follow every instruction given by Mr. Ross without hesitation. Soon, they were practicing the rules and drills of 'The Wave' outside the history classroom by assimilated them into their regular everyday life.

Soon, the students buried their previously learned values of individualism and morality to adjust to the newly formed community. This community later became almost cult-like, in which members were so intensely involved that they started to act hostile and sometimes violent towards anti-Wavers and non-members in the name of "The Wave".

The initial factor that influenced the history class to follow Mr. Ross' ideas was intrinsic motivation. The novelty of the experiment first triggered the curiosity of students and they performed every duty with enjoyment. However, as the group began to take the experiment more seriously, this seemly innocent interest turned into an obsession. Students used the movement as an excuse to harass and intimidate other children. They now remain not only for inner-pleasure but also for power. Other students from outside the classroom also fell under the spell of "The Wave"...