The Wanderer

The Wave Symbol Icon

Sophie has a recurring dream in which a giant wave looms over her, ready to crash upon her, yet she always wakes up just in time before she’s crushed. “The Wave” of Sophie’s dream represents a tragedy from Sophie’s past: her parents’ death at sea. Though Sophie seems to have blocked this memory from her conscious mind, it nonetheless haunts her in her dreams, disguised as the symbol of The Wave. If Sophie faces an enemy in The Wanderer, it’s this wave which won’t leave her alone—the call of a painful past which she’s forgotten but cannot break free from. Realizing what The Wave means for her—recognizing that her original parents are no longer with her, and thereby owning the truth of her own history—is the hurdle which Sophie must overcome in her journey across the ocean. Though she might not know it in the beginning, there’s a reason why she sets out upon the sea: to uncover the truth of her past.

The Wave Quotes in The Wanderer

The The Wanderer quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Wave. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of The Wanderer published in 2011.
I. Preparations Quotes

And what I wanted to do was go on and on, across the sea, alone with the water and the wind and the birds, but some said I was too young and the sea was a dangerous temptress, and at night I dreamed a terrible dream. A wall of water, towering, black, crept up behind me and hovered over me and then down, down it came, but always I awoke before the water covered me, and always I felt as if I were floating when I woke up.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Wave, The Open Ocean
Page Number: 1-2
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Wanderer quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
V. Wind and Waves Quotes

I was going overboard; I was sure of it. Underwater forever, twisting and turning, scrunched in a little ball. Was this the ocean? Was I over the side and in the sea? Was I four years old? In my head, a child’s voice was screaming, “Mommy! Daddy!”

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Wave, The Open Ocean
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia d

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

It seems a hundred years ago that we were lobstering and clamming on Grand Manan and trekking around Wood Island, and it seems a hundred years ago that we were eager to get under way, oblivious to what lay in wait for us. I feel as if I have to start to love sailing again, because I don’t love it now. I just want to get to Bompie and forget about the ocean for a while.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker), Bompie
Related Symbols: The Wave, The Open Ocean
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fug

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute

I feel as if there were things inside me that were safely tucked away, sort of like the bilge down there, hidden under the floorboards of The Wanderer. But it feels as if the boards were blown off by The Wave and things are floating around and I don’t know where to put them.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Wave
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipis

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magnLorem Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

And I keep thinking about the wave dream I used to have. What seems especially eerie is that the wave in all of those dreams was The Wave—exactly the same: the same height, the same shape. The only difference is that the wave in my dreams was black, and this one was white. . . .
I can’t get rid of the feeling that the waves of my dreams were all pointing to The Wave that got us on the ocean.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Wave, The Open Ocean
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proidLorem ipsLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscinLorem ipsum Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod

VI. Land Quotes

I reached across the bed and touched her hand. “Sophie,” I said. “Maybe that’s not Bompie’s story. Maybe that’s your story.”
Bompie whispered, “Sophie, he’s right. That’s your story, honey.”
Sophie stared at me and then at Bompie. She looked so scared and so little sitting there beside Bompie. And then she put her head down on Bompie’s chest and she cried and cried and cried.

Related Characters: Cody (speaker), Sophie, Bompie
Related Symbols: The Wave, The Little Kid
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat Lorem iLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusm

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut la

Get the entire The Wanderer LitChart as a printable PDF.
The wanderer.pdf.medium

The Wave Symbol Timeline in The Wanderer

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Wave appears in The Wanderer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Preparations
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...learning how to sail. Sophie then describes a nightmare she’d have of a towering black wave creeping up on her, nearly crushing her, but she always woke up just in time.... (full context)
II. Shakedown
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...get back to work to steering the boat: the wind had picked up and the waves started to swell. (full context)
IV. Under Way
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...her recurring dream about “The Wave” happened again the night before. She says that the wave, as usual, rose up very high above her, “a huge black wall of water,” and... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...isn’t sure. The little kid laid down on a blanket and fell asleep, and a wave of water started pouring over the little kid. Before the little kid was swept away,... (full context)
V. Wind and Waves
Men and Women Theme Icon
37. Wind.Sophie writes about the violent wind and waves the crew is currently experiencing. She says that the waves are incredibly high—she even estimates... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...that the crew has lashed down every loose object on The Wanderer, and that the waves made it seem like she’s riding a roller coaster, but now the waves are much... (full context)
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...force-ten gale, the winds blowing at fifty knots an hour. She writes that the wall-like waves are pounding day and knight, and about every 20 minutes a wave fills the cockpit.... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...next two journal entries, she describes her and the crew’s encounter with a nearly fatal wave. Sophie says she was stationed on lookout, with Uncle Dock in the cockpit and Cody... (full context)
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
50. The Wave. Sophie says that the wave, which she calls “The Wave,” like the one that haunts her in her dreams, had... (full context)
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...a new entry, that the crew is afraid to sleep—they’re afraid that the nearly fatal wave will return. She also compares her encounter with the wave to being born—in her mother’s... (full context)
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...says that it’s frightening to be on lookout now, after her encounter with the giant wave. She also mentions that it seems like it’s been a hundred years since they were... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...also says that Uncle Stew seems calmer and nicer, even now, after the nearly fatal wave, when there are so many things he could be worrying about. Stew even gets a... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...thinking about the dream of The Wave that she always has. She says that the wave of her dreams was exactly the same height and shape of the wave that happened... (full context)
VI. Land
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...little kids, but that was actually her uncles’ story. Further, she said the nearly fatal wave she encountered was black (like “The Wave” of her dreams), but it was actually white. (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...a drawing for Sophie of her up in the bosun’s chair, swinging out over the waves. Sophie says she’s very touched by the gift, and wasn’t expecting one. (full context)