Text Type – Novel
Author – Veronica Roth
Divergent follows the character Beatrice in a dystopian future where society has been split into five different factions which revolve around one specific personality trait. The factions consist of; Dauntless (who value bravery), Abnegation (who value selflessness), Amity (who value peace), Candor (who value honesty) and erudite (who value intelligence). In this society you are born into a faction but when you turn sixteen you may choose to stick with your faction, which is what the majority of people do or you can change factions. Beatrice is born into the faction of Abnegation but when she is of an age to choose she transfers over to Dauntless which is extreme because Abnegation children are generally considered ‘goody two shoes’ but then she goes to Dauntless who are extreme and live life on the edge. During this time Beatrice finds out that she is ‘Divergent’ which means that she fits the traits of multiple factions and this is considered to be extremely dangerous. When she joins Dauntless she must endue many trials to test her bravery like combat training, survival training and facing your worst fears. One of the first trials she withstands is free-falling into a pit, she is the first of the group to jump and gets her name changed to Tris as she begins her new life. Through out her trials she makes many friends and foe but one of the instructors known as ‘Four’ becomes her love interest. Four helps Tris through her training but then she finds out that Four is also divergent. Everyone is the Dauntless house gets given a mysterious serum and one night Tris wakes up to see all of her peers mind controlled walking single file like perfect soldiers. She joins the line trying to act the same but is very confused. Along the way she meets Four and he is unaffected by the serum. It is revealed that due to them being divergent. Tris and Four have to work together to destroy the leaders of this new-found uprising.
For me reading Divergent I could easily relate it to the world because of how in the book the society forces everyone into this black and white world where you can only be one thing and it’s considered bad to think differently to everyone else. This is displayed throughout the entire book because Tris is told that being divergent is dangerous and unacceptable. The only reason why the government doesn’t want anyone to be divergent is so they can control everyone. Living a closed-minded life style is encouraged in order to enforce control. Tris even gets told by other divergents to hide her true self because other people shouldn’t know. Tris was a very strong Female protagonist, “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” This is a quote in the book that really represented her character well. She over comes so many challenges just by believing in her self and her ability to get anywhere. She is able to control and manage her biggest fears by the end of the book.
The concept of making everyone follow a ‘social norm’ really relates to me and how I feel about the school system. At school it feel really frustrated to be forced into this system where everyone is compared but in a way where everyone has to be the same. The biggest culprit is the school uniform, every day at school we are forced to dress the same and it just feels like they’re trying to stop us from truly expressing ourselves. We have to wear these uncomfortable stale clothes and after a while it feels like it seems to influence the behavior of the students. I defiantly feel more sluggish and bored when wearing the uniform because that’s the effect the clothes have. During mufti ways I feel more energetic and comfortable cause I feel like I can be me. Another example of when I see this happen is NCEA itself, we are constantly being compared on how well we can do what the system wants. Someone can be really talented but just because they don’t do what the school system wants they get classified as dumb or unworthy. This reminds me of an Albert Einstein quote: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This is a problem that the school system has and Divergent is able to show this very well because Tris is easily the most capable of passing the simulation she is held back by the expectation of society.