DIVERGENT – VERONICA ROTH
SOMETHING ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Veronica Roth was born on 19th August 1988 in New York City but she grew up in Barrington, Illinois. She was the youngest of three children from Barbara Ross, a painter. She was of German and Polish descent. Her mother’s family migrated from Poland and her grandparents survived the concentration camp. When she was five years old her parents divorced. Roth graduated from Barrington High School. After attending a year at the Carleton College, she transferred to the Northwestern University to join its creative writing program. In 2011 she married the photographer Nelson Fitch. Her first novel “Divergent” was published in 2011, Roth wrote it during the winter break of her senior year at Northwestern University, and it was the recipient of the Goodreads Favorite Book of that year. In 2012 “Divergent” won the Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction prize and Roth became the Best Goodreads Author; in the same year the second book of the trilogy, “Insurgent”, was released. Then in 2013 she finished writing “Allegiant” the last book of the trilogy. One year later six short stories from Tobias Eaton’s point of view were bound together under the title “Four: A Divergent Story Collection”. Roth’s family and her brother and sister are now living in Chicago.
“Fear doesn’t shut you down. It wakes you up.” Four
In a post-apocalyptic Chicago, survivors were divided into five factions based on their dispositions: Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the intellectual. Each year, all sixteen-year-olds took an aptitude test that would assign the faction for which they were best suited. After receiving the results, they could decide whether to remain with their family’s faction or transfer to a new faction. Those who did not complete initiation into their new faction became “Factionless” and were forced to live in poverty and become homeless.
The two Abnegation sixteen-year-old siblings, Beatrice and Caleb Prior, had to take their aptitude test.
The test began after lunch. Beatrice’s test administrator was a young Dauntless called Tori. She tugged wires toward her, attaching them to Beatrice and to the machine behind her. Then Tori passed to Beatrice a vial of clear liquid. Beatrice drank it, she closed her eyes and the test began. When she opened her eyes, she was in a simulation. In front of her there were two baskets on a table. One was filled with a hunk of cheese, in the other there was a knife. She heard a voice: “Choose”. “Why?” asked Beatrice then the baskets disappeared. Suddenly, an aggressive dog entered the room, she laid down to look smaller. The dog stopped growling and licked her face, it seemed like a different animal from the one that faced her a few seconds ago. Beatrice blinked, and when she opened her eyes, a child stood across the room. As she ran toward the dog, it turned around ready to pounce. Beatrice just jumped: she hurled her body on top of the dog, wrapping her arms around its neck. Her head hit the ground, the dog was gone and so was the little girl. Beatrice turned in a slow circle and opened a door. Now she was on a bus, and all seats were taken. Sitting near her there was a man with a newspaper, she couldn’t see his face. “Do you know this guy?” he asked tapping the picture on the front page of the newspaper. The headline read: “Brutal Murderer Finally Apprehended!”. Beatrice looked at the picture, she felt like she knew him, but she didn’t remember how. “Well? Do you?” repeated the man angrier. “Nope. No idea who he is.” answered Beatrice. “You’re lying,” he said “You’re lying!” “I am not.” “If you know him, you could save me. You could save me!” “Well,” repeated Beatrice setting her jaw “ I don’t.”
Beatrice woke up and saw Tori. “That was perplexing.” Perplexing? Beatrice was upset. If she was not cut out for any faction she would live in the street with the factionless. “Beatrice, your results were inconclusive. Typically, each stage of the simulation eliminates one or more of the factions, but in your case only two have been out. Amity and Candor, because you didn’t choose the cheese and you continued with your insistence upon dishonesty. Then we have a problem. On the one hand you threw yourself on the dog rather than let it attack the little girl, which is an Abnegation-oriented response… but on the other, when the man told you that the truth would save him, you still refused to tell it. Not an Abnegation-oriented response. Not running from the dog suggests Dauntless, but so does taking the knife, which you didn’t do. Your intelligent response to the dog indicates strong alignment with the Erudite, but I have no idea what to make of your indecision in stage one.” Now Beatrice is confused. “So you have no idea what my aptitude is?” “My conclusion is that you display equal aptitude for Abnegation, Dauntless and Erudite. People who get this kind of result are called Divergent.” Tori walked around the side of a chair and leaned back closer to Beatrice. “Under no circumstances should you ever share that information with anyone. These is very important. Divergence is extremely dangerous.” Beatrice didn’t understand, but she still nodded. She went home trying not to think about the Choosing Ceremony of the next day.
Back home Caleb asked Beatrice the reason why she went away from the test but she didn’t answer him. At dinner their father talked about his workday: Jeanine Matthews, the Erudite’s sole representative, selected thanks to her IQ score, had drafted a report that attacked Marcus’ character. Marcus was Beatrice’s father’s coworker, they were both political leaders. The report said that Marcus’ violence and cruelty toward his son, Tobias, was the reason his son chose Dauntless instead of Abnegation. But for the Abnegation society these were all false pretenses because the Erudite thought that it was not the Abnegation’s right to manage the society.
The Choosing Ceremony began. It consisted in choosing everyone’s future faction, by dropping a blood-drop in a bowl containing a substance that represented a faction: gray stones for Abnegation, water for Erudite, earth for Amity, lit coals for Dauntless, and glass for Candor. Now it was Caleb’s turn. He accepted the knife that Marcus gave him, he dragged it across his palm, held his hand over the Erudite bowl and his blood dripped into the water, turning it into a deeper shade of red. Beatrice was shocked. Her selfless brother, born for Abnegation, Erudite? Then Beatrice heard her name, she was uncertain between Abnegation and Dauntless, stones and fire were both on her left. She held the knife in her hand and touched the palm with the blade. Then she shifted her hand forward and her blood sizzled on the coals. She was selfish, she was brave, she was going to join the Dauntless.
When the ceremony was over the Dauntless exited first. The crow of Dauntless led Beatrice to the stairs, then everyone started running. Beatrice followed them down the street and around the corner, then she heard a train horn. The train glided toward them on the rails with all doors opened waiting for the Dauntless to pile in, and they did, until only the initiates were left. A Candor girl helped Beatrice jump on the train, her name was Christina. After arriving at the Dauntless headquarters, they started jumping off the train and landed on a roof. Max, one of the five faction’s leader, explained that to belong to the Dauntless the initiates had to jump off a ledge to enter the compound. Beatrice volunteered as the first jumper. She walked up to the edge and looked down. Then she jumped, and after a long fall she hit a net. She saw a few hands stretching out to her, she grabbed the first one and a young man helped her. His eyes were dark blue. He asked: “What’s your name? Think about it. You don’t get to pick again.” “Tris” answered Beatrice firmly. Lauren, a dark-haired girl with three silver rings said: “Make the announcement, Four.” The boy, Four, shouted: “First jumper, Tris! Welcome to Dauntless.”
When all the initiates stood on solid ground again, Lauren and Four divided them into two groups: the Dauntless-born initiates with Lauren and the faction transfered with Four. Most of the initiates were from the Dauntless, so only nine people remained. Tris was the only Abnegation transfer, and among them there were no Amity transfer. The rest were from Erudite and Candor. After dinner Eric, a second leader faction that seemed wicked, explained the rules for training that he would oversee. The training would take place from eight o’clock to six every day, with a break for lunch. In the first stage of initiation, they kept transfers and Dauntless-born initiates separated. At the end of the initiation, a ranking would be put together with the one of the Dauntless-born. The ranking would determine the order in which they would select their future job, if the initiates weren’t in the top ten they would have to live as factionless. At the end of the day, Eric showed the dormitory to the transfers initiates. They would live together for two weeks.
The first-day-training began. The initiation was divided into three stages: the first stage was primarily physical, the second emotional and the third mental. The physical stage taught how to shoot a gun and how to fight. Tris never used a gun so it was very difficult for her. At lunch Tris and Christina ate with Will, an ex-Erudite, and Al, an ex-Candor. After the afternoon training-session Tris, Christina, Will and Al went to the tattoo place. There Tris saw Tori, who tattooed three flying birds on Tris’ collarbone.
Since the transfer initiates were in odd number, Tris didn’t fight today. The fight rules established that each fight ended when one of the two combatants was unable to continue, because for Eric, a brave man never surrendered. After one day, Tris had to fight against Peter, the cruelest guy of the nine initiates. Unfortunately Tris lost the fight and she fainted. The next day all the group of initiates went to the fence, a chain-link barrier with barbed wired strung along the top that surrounded all the city, because some Dauntless after the initiation became fence guards.
The following day after winning a fight Tris was exhausted. When she arrived in the dormitory Eric
entered roaring. There was also Four. Dauntless-born initiates and faction transfers would play capture the flag, a Dauntless tradition. Four made the first team: Tris, his first choice; Christina; Will; Drew, another ex-Erudite; and two other Dauntless-born, Uriah and Marlene; all the team’s members were fast, with narrow shoulder and small frames; instead of the members of Eric’s team, which were broad and strong. For the game they went to the pier where there was an abandoned amusement park. To find a better observation point, Tris climbed up the Ferris wheel, followed by Four. In this moment, Tris understood that she felt something for Four but she couldn’t say what. While they were climbing a bar creaked beneath Tris, but Four caught her just in time before falling down. From the top of the Ferris wheel they could see the other team’s flag. After developing an attack plan, Tris recovered the flag.
When the first part of the training ended, Tris beat another girl and she became really good in throwing knifes. Today was the Visiting Day, her mother went to visit her. Her mother knew that Tris was a Divergent, because many children who were raised in Abnegation received inconclusive result. That day the classification of the first part of the initiation was published: first place Edward, second Peter, third Will, fourth Christina, fifth Molly, sixth Tris, seventh Drew and the two eliminates were Al and Myra. During the night Tris heard someone screaming, it was Edward with a knife in his eye. Tris was sure that Peter and Drew had attacked him. Because of the happening of the night before, the ones that had to leave were Edward and Myra.
Tris went for a walk to forget the guy that got stabbed in the eye. While she was walking she met Uriah, who together with his brother Zeke, Marlene, her sister Shauna, and Lynn a friend of theirs, brought Tris to the zip-line that crossed the town to make something Dauntless. The day after the second stage of initiation began. The Dauntless-born and transfer initiates would be put together from now on. Tris awaited her turn in a dark hallway with all the other initiates. The test consisted in a simulation of her fears and it finished when she calmed down. Her hallucination showed to Tris a flock of crows that pecked and scratched her. She breathed and stopped the simulation. Tris spent only three minutes, she got out three times faster than the other so Four suspected that Tris was a Divergent.
After the simulation she went back to meet Will and Christina, and they stayed out all night. They also met Four, who, while he was drunk, said to Tris that he liked her. The day after Four didn’t remember anything of the past night, and Tris had to do another simulation. This time she was in a glass box, that in a few seconds was filled with water. She tought that the simulation was all in her head and it disappeared. Now Four was sure that Tris was a Divergent.
Tris went with Uriah, Zeke, Marlene, Shauna and Lynn to the training room, because Uriah would shoot to Marlene’s muffin with a plastic pellets gun. Four stopped them and said to Tris that she belonged to the Dauntless and that he wouldn’t say anything to Eric. When Tris returned to the dorm she heard Eric and Jeanine Matthews, the Erudite’s representative, talking about killing Divergent rebels. Suddenly someone grabbed her, covered her mouth and eyes. There were three guys: Peter, Drew and Al. Tris was terrified. They brought her to the chasm and tried to kill her. Four heard Tris screaming and saved her before she fainted. She woke up in Four’s apartment and she stayed there for the night.
Tris told Christina and Will what had happened the night before, they were horrified. The third stage of the training consisted in controlling the emotions and the body in a series of virtual fears, the number of fear someone had in his landscape varied according on how many he had. The next day they found Al dead in the chasm. That night Tris entered Four’s fear landscapes. His first fear was the height they had to jump off a skyscraper, the second was confinement, the third was killing an innocent and the firth one was his father, Marcus Eaton, who hit Four since he was little. The simulation ended, Four’s real name was Tobias Eaton and his nickname sprung from his number of fears. Then Tobias kissed Tris.
Tris went to visit Caleb. Jeanine Matthews saw her and had a talk with her. Jeanine wanted Tris at her side in the fight against the Divergent. Tris accepted in order to deter Jeanine’s suspect. The next day was the Dauntless’ initiation day, the ceremony consisted in facing her fears in the fear landscape. It showed her seven fears: the fear of losing control with the crow, in the box of water and in the ocean, Peter that set fire to her, men that were there to kill her, the fear to sleep with Tobias and the fear to kill her family.
After the simulation, Eric injected an orange serum to all the initiates. The last classification was published: first place Tris, second Uriah, third Lynn, fourth Marlene, fifth Peter, sixth Will and finally seventh Christina. The night after the ceremony, the serum induced a simulation and all the Dauntless became sleep-walking soldiers under orders to attack the Abnegation compound. The serum didn’t work on Tris and Tobias because they were both Divergent. Tris and Tobias tried to break away from the pack and escape as they arrived at the Abnegation compound, but Tris was shot and wounded. Tobias refused to leave her behind and they were captured and brought to Jeanine. She injected Four with an experimental serum that overrode his Divergent ability to control what he could see and hear. Jeanine directed Tobias back to the Dauntless control room to oversee the attack and sentenced Tris to death.
Tris woke up sealed inside a real-life glass tank that filled up with water, but her mother broke the tank and rescued her. Her mother revealed that she was also Divergent before she was killed helping Tris to escape. Tris got away but was forced to kill Will, who attacked her under the influence of the simulation. She found her father and Marcus in a safe house. They went to the Dauntless compound to find the source of the simulation and fought their way through to Dauntless headquarters. Tris’ father sacrificed himself to clear the way for her to reach the control room.
Tirs had to confront the mind-controlled Tobias, who attacked her. Tris realized she could’t kill him, and surrendered. This caused Tobias to break through the special sight-and-sound-only simulation. Freed, Tobias helped Tris to shut down the Erudite simulation and to set free the Dauntless from their mind control. They rejoined Caleb, Marcus and Peter, who helped Tris to find the control room in exchange for his safety. The group boarded a train to the Amity sector to find the rest of the Abnegation survivors.
“I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.” Tris
MY PERSONAL OPINION
A movie was shot after the Divergent’s trilogy. I enjoyed the film very much so I started to read the whole series. Veronica Roth was able to create a special continuity in all the books and I was sucked in and kept reading the books. They were very interesting and diversified, in fact the first two books were written from Tris’ perspective but the last one was written from her and Four’s point of view. I would suggest this book to all fantasy lovers because it’s an original story and it was a real page-turner.
(c) Alice De Rossi