The Divergent series is set in a dystopian future in America. Like in The Hunger Games we had the reaping of names for children from the ages of 12 through 18, here when you turn 16, you have to choose a faction. A faction refers to a group or a clan of people. The society is divided into 5 such factions, each who value a certain trait or quality: Abnegation who value selflessness, Amity who value friendship and kindness, Candor who value truthfulness, Erudite who value intelligence and Dauntless who value bravery and courage. The faction you choose to be in is your family; you spend all your time there, you get married and have kids there.
When you’re 16, you have to choose which one you have to be in. To help make this choice, the day before you choose, you have to take an Aptitude test. The test is a simulation where you’re faced with these obscure situations and according to the choices you make, your traits are revealed. The revelation of your traits are what determines which faction you are most suited to. You can choose to remain in the faction you were born in or transfer to a different one. After you choose a faction, you have to go through initiation, so the faction you chose can choose you. I remember Tris’ initiation for Dauntless and a vague mention of Candor, Erudite and Abnegation initiations. But I don’t remember anything about how Amity were initiated.
The first book Divergent is about a girl named Tris Prior who is Abnegation born but chooses Dauntless as her faction. Her aptitude test gave her an aptitude for Dauntless. As well as Abnegation. And Erudite. The people who have multiple aptitudes are called “Divergent.”
When I first read Divergent I didn’t understand why they made such a big deal about Tris’ aptitude because a person isn’t defined by a single trait or quality. Humans are a combination of different qualities. Then later I realised that that was the message the book was trying to convey in the first place so I breathed a sigh of relief.
The whole concept of the factions really fascinated me. The whole idea of living with a faction who are essentially different looking forms of you is a little bit strange. So basically no one in that society was special in any way, apart from the Divergent. They were all the same which irked me.
The idea of ONLY Abnegation forming the Government is terrible. Yes they’re selfless but selflessness isn’t the only quality required to be a politician. I think each faction should have been equally represented as they all embodied important traits.
In the later books we find out that this city where Tris was from was actually an experimental set up. A few volunteers had their memories wiped and were injected with serums which gave them these qualities. The idea was that when they reproduced, their children get both parents’ traits and so on and so forth. They hoped they’d get people who had more than one quality.
This experiment I personally thought was an absolute waste of time. What did it prove? The intelligent were selfish. The friendly were dishonest. Injecting someone with a particular quality does make it dominant but it doesn’t remove the existence of the others. No one is perfect. They’re all human. All flawed. That’s all that the experiment proved. The whole “Divergents are perfect” was also not true. Tris made mistakes. Several, in fact.
The Divergent who were taken out of the city should’ve been allowed contact with their families. The scene with Tori is heart wrenching, honestly.
The message the book sent out was, I thought, a strong one. And the execution was flawless. I’m very much looking forward to reading everything else Veronica Roth ever writes.