One thing that appears over and over again in apocalyptic literature and film is a wave. A wave could cause a flood…

It could also be a radiation wave that starts the apocalypse…


Maybe, it is a wave of zombies that takes over the world.


So, what makes the wave an object that is worth repeating in apocalyptic themed literature and media?

When you think about it, a wave and the apocalypse share quite a few qualities. The first similarity is they both bring  destruction and renewal where they go. A wave literally wipes out what was in its way just like the apocalypse will. The second similarity is that in many cases they are both cyclical. As soon as one wave ends, a new one begins. Throughout the semester we looked at apocalypse stories such as “Gilgamesh”, “Ragnarok” and The Canticle for Leibowitz that are clearly cyclical. My final similarity is that the wave follows the plot structure of an apocalypse story. There is the rising action where the wave is gaining height; there is the climax where the wave reaches its peak or even where it crashes, and finally, there is the falling action where the wave dissipates into nothing. The plotline for an apocalypse seems to fall into background of the source of the apocalypse (the rising action), the apocalypse itself (climax), and finally the world after (the falling action). This plotline not only follows apocalypse stories, but it also applies to many other genres as well.

Like the plotline, waves are not only found in apocalyptic literature. They could also be found in songs; however, some song lyrics could crossover to the apocalyptic theme intentionally or unintentionally.

I believe, the Beach Boys’ lyrics “Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world” applies not only to surfing, like the writers intended, but also to the apocalypse (Beach Boys).  Survivors of the apocalypse figuratively sit on top of the new world as the surf the apocalyptic wave. If they were to make one mistake or become unbalanced for one second, they could easily be swept into the wave which vanishes them from the old world. It seems like the apocalypse can be compared to everything, including a Beach Boys’ song.

Waves can be beautiful to look at, and if they are the right size, they are fun to play in; however, I, for one, would not want to ride a gigantic wave such as the apocalypse.

Work Cited

Beach Boys. “Catch a Wave.” Surfer Girl. Capitol. 1963.

BeachBoysRemembered. “Catch a Wave.” online clip. Youtube. 18 June 2011. Web. Accessed 03 April 2016.

Malinowski, Erik. “They Know Not What They Do.” gif. Buzzfeed. 27 October 2013. Web. Accessed 03 April 2016.

“Net Short-Wave Radiation” gif.  Global Climate Animations. 13 February 2003. Web. Accessed 03 April 2016.

oothelonewolfoo. “Tidal Wave Gif.” gif. undated. Web. Accessed 03 April 2016.

Sun Shroom”Animated Zombie.” gif. 25 June 2015. Web. Accessed 03 April 2016.