“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
Divergent is a trilogy, the books are Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant, in that order. The fourth book, Four, is the view point of the other protagonist. The trilogy is written by Veronica Roth; she was still in college when she sold the story of a dystopian Chicago and a girl finding her place in a world that tried to tell her who she was. Roth penned a trilogy that wove together civil war, heartbreak, and questions of identity into the wildly popular Divergent series. The book series has also been made into movie.
It is a series about a society divided among assigned factions and a girl who doesn’t fit into any of them. The moral force of the books lies in the constant reminder that you should always, under all circumstances, make decisions for yourself, rather than letting society dictate these decisions to you.
It is set in a dystopia where people are sorted into one of five factions based on their personality traits. The five factions are based on personality, virtue, and strength. Each group possesses certain qualities they mutually value and excel at. The factions are called Abnegation (selfless), Erudite (intellectual), Dauntless (brave), Candor (honest), and Amity (peaceful).
The Five Factions – Divergent
Beatrice, the main character, was born into Abnegation, but she’s far from selfless. Strong-willed and hard-headed, but when she receives the results of her aptitude test; she learns that she is “divergent,” meaning she doesn’t fit into any one clan. Instead, Beatrice fits into three: Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. But Divergent people are not welcome in their society since they are seen as a threat to the status quo because they are stronger than the others.
Divergent person can choose to stay in the faction they were born into or test into a more fitting faction. If they fail the test, though, they become “faction less” and are forced to live in poverty.
In the first book, Beatrice leaves her parents and her faction in order to go to Dauntless. The first thing she does after going there is change her name to Tris because she doesn’t want to be the old, weak and selfless Abnegation, instead she wants to prove herself and become a brave Dauntless. There she meets Four (the other protagonist) who is her instructor. Four is a troubled boy whose father abused him and who has unexpectedly found himself in the middle of a war among the factions. Throughout Tris’s initiation, the two become closer and closer, revealing Four’s character and his past.
The first book is focused around Tris Prior and her journey through this society, and into the civil war. This broke out between disagreements on what should be done with the Divergent population and the true meaning behind this cohort. The leader of Erudite, Jeanine Mathews came to the conclusion that the Divergent population are a threat to their society. This leads to her entire faction supporting her and her decision to overthrow the Abnegation, because the entire faction sides with Jeannine Mathews and they do not dissent her decision. They also have unanimity in their opinions of Abnegation and of the Divergent. By the end of the first book, Tris has lost a family member, almost died, and is on her way to safety. In the books that follow, her collision course with Jeanine causes the conflict to grow.
In the second book, Insurgent, Tris and Four, meets Evelyn (Four’s mother who is faction less now) and join alliance with her. The faction less has now a very strong army and they want to help the factions go down so that there is no inequality among any of them. They keep an eye on Jeanine Mathews and her supporters. Tris takes it upon herself to the be the Divergent who turns herself in to save everyone else, Tobias arrives at Erudite headquarters as well. There they are tortured but they don’t lose sight of why they are there. The faction less starts attacking the Erudite headquarters’ and Tris then gets a chance to sneak into Jeanine’s office and steal the secret information. People are killed from both the side and that’s when Jeanine is caught and killed. Tris plays the secret information in front of everyone, in which some women states that everyone was put within the safety of the fence because on the outside, humanity is killing each other, the video then states that once they gather enough divergent, they should exit the fence and save people on the outside and that’s when they leave us at a cliff hanger.
The third book starts when all the people who are divergent exit the fence to save the people from outside. They meet the leader of genetic welfare, David, and Tris, Four and their friends discover that their world was all a part of an experiment involving genetic modification, leaving some people ‘pure’ (divergent) and other people ‘damaged’ (not divergent). Here a memory erasing serum plays a big role, Tris realizes David plans to wipe the memories of her hometown using a gas version of the memory serum, she springs into action against him.
At the end of the Allegiant novel, Tris dies as she disseminates the memory serum to those in the bureau’s compound, including David, in an attempt to stop them from further discriminating and abusing ‘genetically damaged’ people. I feel this was a bit stretched out since there is a death serum that is first realised in the air and she has such powerful genes that she doesn’t get much affected from it but she dies when David shoots her.
The first two books of the series did an excellent job of exploring the human experience in relation to love, loss and survival but the third book spoiled it. I feel they exaggerated the situation in the third book and didn’t even give us the satisfaction in the end since they killed the protagonist.
I honestly loved the book. It teaches us so much about being strong and teaches us how we can be strong with our fears. How it is good to be different and unique, it teaches us how to be yourself and not go by what people say and what they think. And lastly, it teaches us that sacrifice can be worth it.
About the Author – I am Kavya Somani, first year student of BA in Media and Communication. I have always been an extrovert and love talking to people and listening to their stories. I always crave for a good story so I started reading; I always look forward to it. I also watch a lot of movies and television series.