by Veronica Roth
The city is divided into five factions - Abnegation (selflessness), Candor (honesty), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (peacefulness) and Dauntless (courage). The heroine and her brother are from Abnegation. She feels that her brother has a gift for selflessness, but she doesn’t seem to want that life. They take the bus to school where they will be tested and then choose which faction to spend the rest of their lives. She is nervous and stops to watch the Dauntless jump from a train before going to class.
Beatrice waits at a table with the rest of her faction. He brother goes for his test and comes back shaky. She is called and enters a room with a Dauntless woman that has an eagle tattoo on her neck. Though it is against the nature of her faction, Beatrice asks about it. Tori explains that the eagle symbolizes the sun and represents her overcoming her fear of the dark. Beatrice lays down and is injected to begin her test. She closes her eyes and is told to choose between cheese and a knife. She questions why and refuses to choose. They disappear and a large dog growls. She is submissive and the dog licks her. A small girl appears and wants to play with the dog, who is now aggressive again Beatrice jumps on top of it to stop it from attacking the girl. She is then suddenly on a subway train and a man asks if she knows the murderer in the newspaper. She says “no” even though he seems familiar.
After the aptitude test, Tori leaves the room. Beatrice starts to worry. When the Dauntless woman returns, she explains that Beatrice is Divergent - split between multiple factions (Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation). Tori tells her not to tell anyone about this because it would be very dangerous for her. She sends Beatrice home to think about her tough decision. Beatrice decides to walk to hide her new secret by not showing up at home early. A factionless man asks her for food and she goes to hand him a bag of apple chips. He grabs her wrist and starts making odd comments. She gets ready to defend herself when the man lets go and tells her to choose wisely.
When Caleb and the other kids arrive, Beatrice is waiting outside the house. She explains that the injection made her sick and had to leave early. She asks her brother, Caleb, not to say anything to their parents. they make dinner and when their parents do get home, their mom brings up someone leaving the testing early. The siblings play dumb. Their father had a rough day with a Erudite woman, Jeannine Matthews, who is out for power and looking to discredit an Abnegation man because his son went to Dauntless. Beatrice rules out Erudite from her option. On her way to her room, Caleb tells her that sometimes they have to think about themselves.
The next day at the ceremony, the Abnegation crowd takes 20 flights of stairs to let others use the elevators. The 16 year olds are called in reverse alphabetical order to cut their palms and drop their blood into one of the five faction bowls. Everyone is shocked when Caleb chooses Erudite. Beatrice believes that she must now choose Abnegation, but puts her blood into Dauntless.
As Beatrice leaves with the Dauntless, she steals one last look at her family. Her father looks betrayed, her mother smiling, and her brother easily adjusting to his new faction. She runs down the stairs with the other Dauntless and has to jump onto a moving train. A boy doesn’t make it, failing initiation. Christina helps pull Beatrice into the train and when the time comes, they jump off onto a rooftop together. A girl doesn’t complete the jump and falls to her death. A boy refuses to jump and becomes factionless. The initiates have to jump off the building into darkness. Beatrice volunteers to go first. Everyone is surprised an Abnegation stepped up. She jumps and is caught by a net. She introduces herself as Tris.
The transfer initiates are led separately from the Dauntless raised initiates to get a tour of their new home. Four shows them around the Pitt and the chasm. At lunch, Tris eats her first hamburger. Eric comes over to talk to Four about becoming a leader like him. Four declines as he has for the past two years. Eric leads the transfer initiates to a room where the nine of them will sleep. He informs them that they will be ranked and only ten of them will be accepted into Dauntless, including the eleven Dauntless-born initiates.
Tris has trouble sleeping because of a large boy, Al, who sobs through the night. The next morning, they start training. Four shows them and has them practice with a gun. A Erudite boy, Will, makes fun of Tris for missing, which makes her more determined. After lunch, they move on to fighting. Four gives Tris some advice about hitting because she is the smallest one there. When they have free time, Christina takes Tris shopping in the Pitt for new clothes and applies eyeliner. They go to watch Al get a tattoo and Tris sees Tori, who works in the parlor. She asks Tori for help, but is told she is on her own. She picks out flying birds and asks to have three tattooed on her chest in a line leading to her heart - one for each family member she left behind.
The next day, the initiates are paired up to fight. Tris is left out because there is an uneven number. Al’s slow strength beats Will’s quickness. Christina fights a large Candor girl named Molly, who beats her bloody until Christina gives up. Eric said they had to fight until they were no longer able to, and Four is helping Will, so Eric makes Christina hang over the railing of the chasm with the raging water below. Al cheers her on and Tris joins. When her five minutes are up, Al goes to help Christina to safety. Eric says she has to do it on her own, but Al points out that was never stated. Al pulls Christina up and Tris helps.
Tris wakes up and after showering comes back to “Stiff” (slang for Abnegation) written all over bunk. Peter stands behind her and she knows it was him. When they get down to the fighting room, Tris is up first against Peter. he beats her easily and Tris wakes up in the hospital. Al, Will, and Christina are there and explain that Will beat Christina and Al threw his match. Left alone for a moment, Al and Tris comfort each other. Tris wakes up later and sneaks back to her bunk because she doesn’t want to give Peter the satisfaction of hospitalizing her overnight.
Tris is sore the next morning and Christina helps her along so that they don’t miss their field trip to the wall. They jump on a train and Al helps Tris up. Four ends the bickering that starts between Tris’ group and Peter’s. When they arrive at the wall, Four explains that the bottom five will most likely work there. An Amity farm truck pulls in through the gate, which is then locked from the outside. Robert, Tris’ old neighbor, is among them and talk with her, sad to see her looking so beaten up. After he leaves, Four expresses his worry for Tris’ decision making skills. He tells her to attack first and explains that he didn’t want to watch Peter beat her up, which is why he left during her first match. They get ready to leave.
The initiates are woken up in the middle of the night for a traditional game of capture the flag. They jump on the train and team captains, Eric and Four, start picking their teammates. Four starts by picking Tris and continues to pick the smaller, faster kids as Eric picks the larger, stronger ones. While Fours team argues about strategy, Tris climbs a ferris wheel to get a better view. Four follows and she learns that he is afraid of heights, but hides it normally. After they spot the other team’s camp and start back down, a rusted bar crumbles and Tris is in danger of falling. Four climbs down and turns the motor on so that she rotates down and can jump back to the ground. They inform the members of their team that have been on guard where the other team’s flag is. Tris has them split into two teams and go to the left and right. They are able to take out the guards with their paintball guns and Christina grabs the flag from a high tree branch. The Dauntless-born initiates from from her team joke around with Tris on the way back home.
The next day, Eric is in a foul mood from his team loosing capture the flag. He has Four demonstrate knife throwing before having them try. Tris is the first one to hit the board. Al has a lot of trouble and Eric gives him a hard time. When Al’s knife goes way off, Eric tells him to go get it while others are still throwing. Al refuses so Eric has him stand in front of the target for Four to throw knifes at him. Tris volunteers to take his place. Four taunts her but she doesn’t flinch, even on the third throw when he kicks her ear on purpose. When everyone else has left, she yells at him. He says he is tired of waiting for her to catch on, but she doesn’t understand.
In the morning, Tris is in the bathroom getting ready and finds out that her clothes are too small. She goes back to the dormitory in a towel to get her dress. Peter, Molly, and Drew are there and make fun of and threaten her. She gets away with her dress, but Peter gets her towel. When the assigned fighting starts, Tris is the last match against Molly. When their turn comes, Tris is quick to find Molly’s weakness and remembers Four’s advice. Her anger Fuels her to beat Molly until Four has to pull her off.
On visiting day, the initiates go to the Pit to meet their families with a warning to not get too attached. Tris is surprised to see her mother. After introducing her to her friends, her mom drags her away from a fight with Will’s Erudite sister. She asks Tris about her test results and Tris is truthful. Her mom warns her that sometimes that happens with Abnegation kids and to try to stay in the middle of the pack. She also tells Tris to visit Caleb and tell him to research the serum. Tris realizes that her mom was Dauntless-born.
Tris finds Al in the dormitory, not wanting to see his parents. He puts his arm around Tris, but she makes it clear that she is not interested in him like that. After dinner, the rankings are posted. Tris is number six thanks to her win against Molly. Al is near the bottom. In the night, Tris is woken up by screaming and finds Myra (ranked last) over her boyfriend Edward (ranked first). Someone stabbed his eye with a butter knife. They all know it was Peter and his anger about being second. Tris and Will spend some time together and he mentions that the Dauntless used to stand up for people rather than being bullies. Edward and Myra drop out to become factionless, saving Al from having to leave.
Wile avoiding the dormitory, Tris runs into Uriah (Dauntless-born initiate). He extends an invitation for her to join the other Dauntless-born initiates in a ritual. They sneak out and jump on the train. Shuana introduces herself, already knowing who Tris is. The train doesn’t slow to its usual pace when they jump off, but they all do and start running. They go the hundredth floor of the old Hancock building and have to zip line down on a sling attached to a pulley on a steal cable. Tris is the first initiate to go and she loves it. Shuana says they should stop calling her “Stiff.” Her friends are jealous when she returns, but have their own story to tell about a Erudite boy fighting against Abnegation leadership. Christina stood up to him. Tris is barely listening.
Stage two of initiation begins and they have to wait in a hallway until they are called by name. Idle chit chat starts up between the Dauntless-born and transfer initiates. Tris learns that Uriah is ranked first on the other side. When there is only three of them left, Tris is finally called. She walks through the door to find a set up like the aptitude testing. Four explains the similarities and differences. She is hooked up to the machine and injected, her only hint is that the hallucinations will stop when she can slow down her heart rate. Tris is in a field and gets attacked by a swarm of crows. They peck at her until she lays down and forces herself to relax. She is extremely mad at Four for torturing her when she comes out. He explains that she needs to control her fear and point out it only lasted three minutes, which is much shorter than the others. As he walks her back to the dorm, he explains that the leadership chooses the training and it wasn’t always this ruthless. Tris wonders why he didn’t pick the trainer job.
Tris walks in to the dorm filled with all of the initiates to find Peter reading a slanderous article about her father. She tries to take the paper from him, but Will drags her out before a brawl starts. he points out that Abnegation is no longer her faction. Christina and Al come out and drag her down to the Pit for distractions. On their way to dinner, they spot Four, drunk with his friends. He strolls over to Tris and whispers that she looks good. Will overhears him while Al and Christina wonder what the exchange was about. Tris blames the alcohol and silences Will.
In the next simulation, Tris is trapped in a clear box that fills with water. She shatters the glass to end the hallucination. Four realizes that she is Divergent and tells her to control it before anyone finds out. He is going to delete her recording to protect her. Tris goes to Tori, who reluctantly tells her that her brother was Divergent and was found dead after a Dauntless leader found out. They said he committed suicide, even though he was happy with how things were going. Tori thinks the simulation manipulation is just a symptom of something bigger.
Four days pass and Tris keeps going through different illusions. However, she knows they aren’t real and overcomes them easily. When rankings are posted, Tris is first and her friend are all near the bottom. Will wonders if she is playing naive for sympathy. Al is ranked last and wants to be left alone. Tris goes to hang out with some Dauntless born initiates and watches Uriah shoot a pellet gun at a muffin on top or Marlene’s head. Four and a few other members kick them out of the shooting range. He tells Tris that she belongs in Dauntless and she hold his hand before running off to join her friends. Peter, unhappy about being second again, gets a group together. They gag and blindfold Tris and go to throw her over the edge of the chasm. She is able to get the blindfold off and see her attackers (Peter, Drew, and Al) before Peter releases her. She grabs the railing and Four comes to her rescue.
Tris is in a room with Four, not knowing how she got there. He tells her that he beat up Drew and he is in the infirmary. They are in his dorm room. Tris tells him not to report the situation and he accepts her request. He tells her to not let them bother her and to depend on her transfer friends. Tris says she can’t forget this because they sexually assaulted her. Four is angry and says he has to act to keep her safe. He also tells her to ruin them and to stop calling him Four.
In the morning, Four goes to the Pit first and Tris leaves his room shortly after. She hates having to pretend to be scared and weak, but she does. Everyone is surprised at what happened, especially that Al was part of it. Four leads them to the glass ceiling and outside to an area where they will have stage three of initiation in front of a panel of judges. The simulation will combine stage two evaluation of fears and stage one abilities. Everyone will know it is only a simulation, so Tris may have lost her advantage. Four calls out Peter in front of everyone for what he did to Tris. Back in the dormitory, Al is crying and apologizes to Tris. She can’t forgive him. Will and Christina tell him to stay away from her.
Christina wakes up Tris in the night and they run down to the Pit to find people fishing Al’s body out of the chasm. Tris runs and ends up at Tori’s. They go to the funeral where Eric gives a speech about Al being brave. Tris storms off and Four finds her. She yells out how Al was a selfish coward. Four warns her that the Dauntless leaders are watching her. She needs to act like her Abnegation tendencies are going away. They want to quash any rebellion before it is even a thought. Four holds her and she admits her guilt over Al’s death. Four gives advice that sounds like something her father would say. She asks what faction he was originally from, but he refuses to answer.
In an attempt to cheer up Tris, Will, and Christina throw Erudite articles into the chasm. Tris notices that her friends seem to be flirting with each other. She spots Four and sends her friends back to the dormitory with out her so she can follow him to the glass building that houses the fear landscape. They inject each other to go through his fears. After heights is confinement, and then killing a person. Last, Four has to face his father, Marcus, who is her dad’s colleague. She realizes that Four’s actual name is Tobias. He got the nickname Four from how many fears he has. Tris also realizes that the Erudite accusations of Marcus are true. Four takes Tris’ hand to show her something else.
Four takes Tris down a hallway that leads to the bottom of the Chasm where they sit on the rocks. Tris wants to know if Four is Divergent, but he claims that he isn’t. His aptitude test results were for Abnegation. He left to get away from his father. He admits that he likes Tris. She wonders why and mentions their age difference. he points out they are only two years apart before he kisses her. Tris realizes this also could’ve happened had they both chosen Abnegation.
Tris starts her day in an overly happy mood until Four ignores her. The initiates are taken up to the fear landscape to try out the Dauntless-born instructor’s fears. Tris is assigned to kidnapping and the simulation has people trying to thrown her over the chasm. She looses control. Four comes along and is hard on her. She smacks him across the face and leaves.
Jumping onto the train, Tris goes to the Erudite headquarters. She demands to see Caleb, who is shocked to see her. She tells him about their mom requesting that he research the simulation serum before she is taken away to Jeanine, the Erudite leader. She realizes that this is the person behind the Dauntless killing Divergents. Tris acts as Dauntless as she can and is then driven back. Eric threatens to lower her friend’s ranks if she can’t explain herself. Four comes to her rescue with a story of how Tris was embarrassed because she tried to kiss him and he rejected her. Eric believes it and sends her on her way. She meets up with Four and yells at him for being cruel. He points out that he can’t make it look like he is playing favorites. He then tells her to meet him later that night. Alone in the dormitory with Christina, she finds out that her friend and Will are a couple. Late that night, Tris and Four jump on a train to the Erudite headquarters, where their lights are on after curfew. Four admits that he hacked into some poorly concealed war plans agains Abnegation. The Erudite plan to use the Dauntless as soldiers.
Initiation day comes. There is a large crowd around the fear landscape as the Dauntless-born initiates go one by one. No one can see their fears except the judges. In a waiting room, it is announced that they will go in order of ranking. Tris will go last. She patiently waits her turn until her name is called and Eric injects her.
Tris’ simulation starts and she goes through the fears she is familiar with first: birds, tank of water, control over ocean waves, and Peter burning her at the steak. She then faces the faceless men from the aptitude test. Next, Tris faces her fear of intimacy with Four by making out with a simulation of him. All of a sudden, she has to shoot her family again. Instead, she lets the other person shoot her in the head.
Tris is welcomed into Dauntless. Eric explains that he has to inject her with a tracker the Erudite developed in case she goes missing. Four invites her back to his place before the banquet. He sees her Abnegation tattoo and shows her that he has all the factions on his back. Tris tells him that he was in her fear landscape and explains that she hasn’t been with anyone. Four explains that he hasn’t either and they will wait until they are both ready. Agreeing that they have to warn Abnegation soon, they hold each other. Tris feels like Four won’t be in her fear landscape anymore and he jokes that they will call her six.
Four and Tris eventually separate to go to the banquet. Eric announces the ranking and Tris is first. Will and Christina are sixth and seventh. Both of Peter’s sidekicks are now factionless. Will hopes to be able to get a leader-in-training spot, but Peter wants the same and is ranked higher. Four comes over and they no longer care about people knowing about their relationship. As they kiss, Tris realizes the serum is how the Erudite will get the Dauntless to fight for them.
Tris is woken up in the middle of the night from everyone getting ready to leave. She follows them as best she can and is able to find Four outside. She maneuvers herself into line with him in the train and he squeezes her hand to let her know that he is Divergent and not under Erudite control. They are taken to the Abnegation city and watch as the Dauntless start killing people. Eric puts his gun to Four’s head and Tris shoots him. They try to run, but Tris is shot. Four refuses to leave her and they are surrounded.
Tris and Four are taken to Jeanine. She is surprised that he is Divergent, and now has a new serum that she want to try out on him. Tris is too wounded to experiment with, so she will be executed. Four kisses Tris before trying to strangle Jeanine. Dauntless guards gram them and he is injected. He still has his mind, but is under their control. They send him to the control room and Tris is taken to room B13.
Just like in her simulation, Tris is in a cylinder that starts filling with water. She tries to break out at first, but gives up when she realizes it is useless. Her mom shows up wielding a gun and breaks the tank to set Tris free. They work their way out of Abnegation headquarters and outside. Her mom tells her that she was once Dauntless, but had to leave the faction because she is Divergent. She tells Tris where the rest of their family is before running out in the street firing her gun. Tris runs and when she looks back, she sees her mother murdered by the mindless Dauntless soldiers. Tris runs.
She makes it to where the Abnegation are hiding after having to shoot Will in the head to get away. Her dad removes the bullet and stitches her up while Caleb explains that he is factionless after researching the serum. Tris realizes that the Erudites are controlling their army from Dauntless headquarters. Tris is going to go and delete the simulation data.
While the rest of the surviving Abnegation members run to Amity for sanctuary, Tris, Caleb, their father, and Marcus jump on a train. Tris leads them into the compound the same way she first entered. They find Peter in the Pit and he asks to go with them in exchange for telling them where the control room is. Tris clears the way while finding another Divergent that lets her through. She leaves Caleb, Marcus and Peter where it is safe and takes her dad up in the elevator. He goes down a hallway to distract the guards and is shot in the stomach. Tris makes it to the control room and finds Four.
Four doesn’t recognize her and they start fighting. Tris gets his gun away, but she knows she can’t beat him in a fight. She gives him the gun because she can’t kill him. He puts it to her head and Tris prepares to die.
The remaining members of their party all meet up after Four shuts down the simulation and steals the data. Tris stands between Four and Marcus, warning him to stay away from his son. They all jump on the train and head away from the city. Tris and Four declare their love for each other.