Divergent by Veronica Roth
And so, from Merriam Webster:
DAUNTLESS: fearless, undaunted.
Undaunted: courageously resolute, especially in the face of danger or difficulty; not discouraged.
It’s those two definitions (fearless, and undaunted) that I found so fascinating. Being fearless and being undaunted are two different things. And the characters in DIVERGENT struggle with that distinction.
And from dictionary.com:
ABNEGATION: 1. to refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.); reject; renounce.
2. to relinquish; give up
I like the verbs in that one: refuse, deny, reject, renounce–active forms of stripping things from your life. As opposed to relinquish, give up– more passive.
ERUDITE: characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly
The word “erudite” focuses on knowledge rather than intelligence– intelligence being something you’re born with, and can’t necessarily control, and knowledge being something that you acquire. I find that interesting, given what I know about Erudite.
CANDOR: 1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness.
2. freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality.
That definition definitely helped me flesh out Candor more, particularly in the second book. The faction is not just trying to develop honesty– they’re also trying to develop impartiality.
AMITY: 1. friendship; peaceful harmony.
2. mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, especially between nations; peace; accord.
It’s not just about banjos and apple-picking. It’s about cultivating strong relationships and trying to understand each other. Oh, Amity.
Also, it’s not a faction, but for fun:
DIVERGENT: 1. diverging; differing; deviating.
2. pertaining to or causing divergence.
3. (of a mathematical expression) having no finite limits
Diverge: 1. to move, lie, or extend in different directions from a common point; branch off.
2. to differ in opinion, character, form, etc.; deviate.
3. Mathematics . (of a sequence, series, etc.) to have no unique limit; to have infinity as a limit.
4. to turn aside or deviate, as from a path, practice, or plan.
FACTION: 1. a group or clique within a larger group, party, government, organization, or the like.
2. party strife and intrigue; dissension.
I’m just going to leave that one alone. 1
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. 2
I’ve seen the Divergent book for awhile, and I know by now that when I see a book enough that it is a sign I should buy it. Really though the sign that made me get it was in fact the release of the second book, Insurgent. The problem with buying books in this process is I get to read the first book, instantly jump into the second book, then I am left with the cliff hanger before the finale.
I was intrugued by the concept of the books, and they reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The concept of a harsher reality, with children and teenagers dealing with death. Also similar to the Hunger Games, there are groups of people, or Factions in this case, seperated from eachother. In the Hunger Games there were Distrcits seperated from each other, each with their own place or role. Divergent gives each faction a role, and also a guide to live by. Other than these factions there is no real explanation of why they are there or how it came to be that of all the world we are left with these 5 factions in the Chicago area. The factions were essentially made to try and correct all the wrongs done in the past. It was these wrongs that have brought them into the desolate landscape they now reside in. The concept of these factions is interesting, but hard for me to wrap my head around. I would say that almost all people would be Divergent. One can be happy in a particular place, but to be forced to live one life with the same actions with no divergence seems impossible to me. But now we are just over analyzing and ruining the fun of fiction. There doesn’t have to be a reason or explanation for anything. That is the beauty of fiction, it is the way it is, because someone decided to make it that way. No questions.
A quote from the book on factions and a glimpse into the origin of them.
p. 42 “Our dependents are now sixteen. They stand on the precipice of adulthood, and it is now up to them to decide what kind of people they will be. … Decades ago our ancestors realized that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world. Rather, they determined that it was the fault of human personality — of humankind’s inclination toward evil…They divided into factions that sought to eradicate those qualities they believed responsible for the world’s disarray.”
Beatrice talking about their food that I thought was funny.
p.31 “… I cook peas on the stove. He defrosts four pieces of chicken. Most of what we eat is frozen or canned, because farms these days are far away. My mother told me once that, a long time ago, there were people who wouldn’t buy genetically engineered produce because they viewed it as unnatural. Now we have no other option.”
Beatrice Prior is the main character of the book. She has always felt out of place in her faction, and wasn’t able to represent the qualities of her faction as simply as her fellow Abnegation. When a young adult turns 16, there is an aptitude test that helps them decide on which faction they will devote the rest of their lives to. After this, there is a choosing ceremony done in front of friends, family, and strangers from other factions. Here you will make the decision to stick with your faction, or transfer to another. Transfering factions is looked upon as a traitorous quality, but none the less happens very often.
Beatrice, or Tris, is a small, plain girl, but has many strong qualities. It is not just visual and physical strengths that makes you brave, like the Dauntless. Bravery is found in every faction, but shown in a different way. Growing up in an Abnegation faction, she does not have the same experiences as other children, or the same way of thinking and acting. So many things are foreign to each faction, it makes things difficult for many faction transfers. We follow Tris as she tries to find out where she belongs, and who she is. She holds a secret that could get her killed, and must choose her friends wisely.
I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy and I am looking forward to reading the second one. Look past any analytical reasons why things are the way they are and just read the books! With these harsh futuristic novels, its hard to get attached to characters because you never know what could happen next. You get a glimpse at completely different life, which is thrilling, but always hoping bad things don’t happen and the “good” people don’t die. As it turns out with these types, harsh realities don’t include stories where the ones around you live forever.