The 5th Wave


Key Quotes

1. This is what the Others have done to us. You can’t band together to fight without trust. And without trust, there was no hope. How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

When Cassie encounters the Crucifix Soldier, she is forced to contemplate whether or not she has to kill this bleeding, wounded young man who is, by all appearances, human, in order to save herself. This illustrates the profoundly sinister nature of the Others’ annihilation plot: divide and conquer. By creating a context in which humans cannot trust one another, it is truly every man for himself. If individuals cannot come together and fight together, they will never survive. The idea of trust as an essential part of humanity is a major theme of the novel. In this quotation, Cassie distills it clearly to the bare essentials. As the novel progresses, Cassie will have to learn to trust again, in order to remain human and, ultimately, to survive.

2. He grew up on Close Encounters and E.T. and Star Trek and totally bought into the idea that the Others had come to liberate us from ourselves. No more hunger. No more wars. The eradication of disease. The secrets of the cosmos unveiled. “Don’t you understand this could be the next step in our evolution? A huge leap forward. Huge.” He gave me a consoling hug. “We’re all very fortunate to be here to see it.”

Here, Cassie describes her father’s attitude about the alien visitors on the eve of Earth’s destruction. As the mother ship hovers silently in the sky, Mr. Sullivan wants to believe that they will bring good things to Earth with them. From the first pages of the novel, The 5th Wave describes a reality in which optimism about alien encounters is utterly shattered. In this context, the motif of references to utopian fiction such as Star Trek is bitter and ironic. This passage also represents foreshadowing, because Cassie’s father ultimately dies due to a misplaced trust in military...

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