It’s not rare to see young adult books become a major motion picture eh? There is Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and now comes the newest series-turn-movie: Divergent. Now only being less than a month away from coming to theatres (coming to a theatre near you March 20th), I figured it would be appropriate to read the book and see what all the teen fiction hubbub is all about. I’m going to try my best to steer away from any major spoilers and just stick to my bookmarked thoughts (see what I did there?).
In this world, there are 5 different factions a person can belong to: Abnegation (The Selfless), Erudite (The Intelligent), Dauntless (The Brave), Amity (The Peaceful), and Candor (The Honest). Each faction believes the core of their manifesto (so for Abnegation, their core is the need to be selfless, Erudite’s is intelligence, etc.) is the key to peace and prosperity in the world. Every citizen is born into the faction their parents belong to, but when they turn 16, they are given the chance to pick their own faction.
Your faction is your home. Your family. And your faction will help determine what job you will have in society. Luckily, the teenagers are aided in their decision making process before the choosing ceremony. The day before the ceremony, every candidate is required to take an aptitude test will help determine what faction they identify most with based on the results. It’s common for the results to point to the faction you are currently in/your parents’ faction. Sometimes the test will result in you fitting better with a different faction and encourage you to transfer. Or, very rarely, the test will be inconclusive; in this case, you are what they call Divergent – or someone who can easily fit into two or more factions.
Our heroine Beatrice, who takes on the name Tris after joining Dauntless, is one of the few Divergent. During the trails of Dauntless initiation, she is constantly put to the test by her fellow transfers (and the initiation judges) and feels the need to prove that she belongs with The Brave. She doesn’t disappoint. She may not be top of the class, but she pushes herself again and again to prove she has the fearlessness and the determination of a Dauntless. Despite her new found “freedom” of being brave, she cannot shake her roots in Abnegation. She still feels the need to be selfless and help others before helping herself. This is where she is able to find some of her bravery.
Now, being Divergent isn’t the best thing to be in this society. They are actually feared and exterminated as soon as possible. They are seen as trouble makers who disturb the peace and question authority. To be more than one is thing is something scary: a mind who can think under different caps shows a great deal of strength and power. One of Tris’s friends states: “I don’t want to be just one thing, I can’t be. I want to be brave and I want to be selfless, intelligent and honest and kind.” To be all of these things, or even two of these things, you are and will be a strong person. The people who are brave must also be selfless in order to save people. Someone who is intelligent and honest will be able to deduce the truth out of any situation. Someone who is kind and brave will be able to lend strong support for those who cannot support themselves.
People cannot fit perfectly into little boxes (or into the factions). Each individual person has different characteristics that can be brought to the table to help improve society. If you try to fit perfectly into the box, you are more likely to hurt yourself more than help your cause. You might even hurt your cause. Embrace what makes you different from others and don’t be afraid to flaunt it. You may not know it now but these diverse qualities can make all the difference – especially when brought under one roof. Dare to be more than one thing in your life. Dare to be Divergent.