Letter Essay #5 – Ashley Gillis

Ashley Gillis

Mr. Jockers





In the novel, Divergent by Veronica Roth, the main character is 16 year old Beatrice Prior.  Beatrice lives with her brother Caleb and their mother and father in a world of mystery & fear, because they’re restricted by gigantic gates that keep them in. They live in a city with five factions. Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity, and Dauntless. Beatrice and her family are part of Abnegation, the selfless, giving, and helpful faction. Their main priority is to help the factionless and poor.  The Candor faction is honest, trustworthy, and are able to read body language to detect lies. Erudites are the intellectuals. This faction provides most of the city’s doctors, scientists, teachers, and librarians. They keep records of everyone throughout the city and provide most of the technological advances. The Amity faction is kind, peaceful, & carefree. They grow most of the crops and care for the livestock and they are used as counselors, artists, and love art, music, and laughter. Then there’s the Dauntless. They’re incredibly brave and they provide protection for the city by guarding the gates. They’re loud and expressive and have lots of courage. Then there’s a faction that most people don’t know about, or they choose not to talk abou it. They’re called Divergent. Being Divergent is considered very dangerous since their minds can’t be controlled and many faction leaders are afraid of what Divergents can do. When people go through the aptitude tests, they get placed in a faction based on their results. People who are Divergent fit into more than one faction.

When an individual turns 16 they take a test called an aptitude test. When a child is born into one of the factions that doesn’t mean they necessarily have to stay there. The aptitude test determines what faction an individual is suited for.  A simulation is injected into a person’s neck that triggers parts of the brain like fear and other negative emotions, which then induces a hallucination. The simulation is connected to a computer so the tester can see everything the person is experiencing and all of the choices they make. One characteristic that stands out in Divergents is that they have the ability to control simulations.

The story follows Beatrice from the day she has her test and onto two more books. When Beatrice goes to take her tests she knows she will get Abnegation, she has to get Abnegation.  Tori, the lady who will be monitoring her, hooks her up to the test. Beatrice acts as if it’s no big deal, not choosing between the knife and meat in front of her to save a young girl from a huge vicious dog and instead tackles it. After it’s over she comes back to reality to see Tori’s horrified expression. She rushes her out of the building and tells her to tell everyone who asks that her tests did not come out correctly. Beatrice, confused and scared asks what happened. So Tori explains that she is Divergent. When the day comes to choose her faction she does the unthinkable. She chooses Dauntless. The story continues with Beatrice, now Tris after she makes the first jump into a net from a 20 story building, and the challenge of keeping her secret safe from everyone through intense training and fights, falling for her trainer Four, her simulations put on a screen big enough for everyone to see, and last but not least, having to end a mission to completely destroy the entire Abnegation faction and put the Erudites as the rulers of the city.

Something that surprised me was how towards the end when Tris finds her mom hiding behind a wagon as shes out helping the factionless her mother knew that she was Divergent. When i read about it the whole idea of a “mother instinct” came to mind and I feel like this scene really represented that. But what surprised me even more is how much Tris is really like her mother. Tris’ mom, Natalie, was raised in Dauntless! So now they both have the background in both the Abnegation and Dauntless factions. And just to top it all off, Natalie is also Divergent. So in this little get together for Natalie and her daughter it’s to warn her about all of the tests and things that could expose her. Clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

One theme in the book is identity and choice. Most of the main characters in the story are teenagers. And mostly what they’re trying to do (besides survive) is trying to figure out the kind of people they want to be, and in a way what kind of personality and reputation they want to have. Do they want to be hard workers and be leaders? Kind and gentle? Intelligent beyond compare? That day when they turn 16 and go to the choosing ceremony is pretty much the day where they can put themselves out there and state who they will be.

One passage that stuck with me was, “Be brave Tris. The first time is always the hardest.” This was on page 232, and it’s when Tris is going through her first simulation in Dauntless as the second round of initiation with Four. This stuck with me because the word “brave” comes up so many times in the book and to me in a way when Four said this i feel like he was saying that not only to get her to calm down during the simulation but if she needed to brave to be apart of Dauntless and to make it through.

Overall I rate this book a 8/10 and i recommend it for anyone that loves science fiction and dystopian stories, an unexpected love story, and a lot of action and suspense.

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