I have decided to take a break from reading the 39 Clues Series and write my next letter essay on the novel, Divergent, a 487-page long, dystopian fiction novel written by Veronica Roth. Veronica Roth was born on August 19, 1988 in New York City, and was raised in Barrington, Illinois. Her mother, Barbara Ross, is a painter. She is the youngest of three children. Her parents separated when she was five years old, and her mother has since remarried to Frank Ross, a financial consultant for landscaping companies. Her brother and sister live in Chicago. She is of Polish and German descent. Her grandparents from her mother’s side of the family were holocaust survivors, whose religious convictions pushed her mother away from religion. Veronica learned about Christianity by attending a Christian Bible study during her years in high school , and has stuck with it ever since. After attending a year of college at Carleton College, she transferred to Northwestern University for its creative writing program. She married photographer Nelson Fitch in 2011. Divergent was released for purchase on April 25, 2011. This novel is the first of the Divergent trilogy, a series of young-adult dystopian novels set in the Divergent Universe. I decided to read Divergent because it was my book for my first dystopian-themed book club.
Divergent takes place in a post-apocalyptic Chicago and in about Beatrice “Tris” Prior who lives in a society where its citizens are defined by their personality-affiliation with 5 factions. The factions are Abnegation for selflessness, Amity for kindness, Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, and Erudite for intelligence. At a certain age, the citizens take a test that determines their factions. When Tris takes the test she discovers that she can go to 3 factions, Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite! That makes her a Divergent, which the society beliefs is a threat, so now Tris has to keep it a secret and pick only 1 of them. So she ends up picking Dauntless. Later in the book she discovers that Erudite is planning an attack on Abnegation by using a serum to control the minds of Dauntless and have them attack Abnegation. Tris is immune to serum, so it is up to her to save Abnegation and free Dauntless from the mind-control serum.
I was surprised when Erudite, a faction that is highly intelligent believes that Abnegation, a faction that is very selfless is corrupt. What on Earth made Jeanine (leader of the Erudites) believe that? I like way the author added that situational irony. This book mostly reminded me of the Hunger Games. Divergent has a post-apocalyptic society with futuristic technology and the Hunger Games has a post-apocalyptic society with futuristic technology. I was interesting this passage: “If conflict in Dauntless ends with only one person standing, I am unsure of what this part of initiation will do to me. Will I be Al, standing over a man’s body, knowing I’m the one who put him on the ground, or will I be Will, lying in a helpless heap? And is it selfish of me to crave victory, or is it brave?” -Tris (Pages 97-98). The competition that the Dauntless transfer initiates face upon arrival in their new faction is quite unlike anything they’ve experienced before. Fighting enemies is hard enough, but in Dauntless, more likely than not you will end up fighting friends as well. When faced with her first fight in Dauntless, Tris immediately begins to struggle with her old identity versus her new one, Abnegation versus Dauntless. Does her desire to win represent the selfishness that Abnegation despises, or the bravery that Dauntless prizes? This is one of the first instances of Tris’s ongoing struggle to differentiate between faction values in Divergent. I rate Divergent 8 out of 10.