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Divergent is the debut novel of American novelist Veronica Roth, published by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2011. It is a young-adultdystopian novel set in the so-called Divergent Universe, that features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago. The novel follows Beatrice (Tris) Prior as she explores her identity within a society that defines its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five different factions. Also driving the novel is a romantic subplot between Tris and one of her trainers in the Dauntless faction, nicknamed Four.

The novel has been compared to other young adult books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner because of its similar themes and target audience. In particular, the novel explores the themes common to young adult fiction, such as adult authority and the transition from childhood to maturity. As well as broader motifs, such as the place of violence and social structures within a post-apocalyptic society. Its major plot device, the division of society into personality types, is similar to Philip K. Dick's 1964 novel Clans of the Alphane Moon and Rupert Thomson's Divided Kingdom. Beyond its literary context, Roth's open declaration of her religion as a Christian has brought commentary from Christian communities both endorsing and challenging the novel.

Roth wrote Divergent while working on a creative writing degree at Northwestern University, and it was quickly purchased for publication. Divergent is the first book in a trilogy that was completed in October 2013. Roth's first book of short fiction set in the Divergent universe is forthcoming July 2014: Four: A Divergent Collection, edited by Katherine Tegen. Summit Entertainment purchased the media rights to the book, and production on the movie, also titled Divergent, took place in 2013.


In Divergent, we meet a character, Beatrice Prior, who does not know where she belongs and to which faction. She is born into a family that belongs to Abnegation, who value selflessness. She does not belong there, but agrees her brother, Caleb, does. Likewise, she worries about what the 'test' will tell her and which faction she belongs in. The day she sits her test, she meets her supervisor named Tori, who compliments her by saying she has never met a member of Abnegation who is curious when Beatrice asks her why it has a tattoo on her neck. In the test, Beatrice shows three factions that she belongs in: Dauntless, who are the soldiers of the city, Abnegation, who value selflessness and Erudite, who value intelligence. Her supervisor rushes her out immediately after Beatrice takes the test, firmly instructing her to never tell anyone about her results. Beatrice agrees. The night before the Choosing Ceremony, her brother tells her to not only think about herself, but her family as well. The day arrives, and she begins to choose Abnegation, but as her blood drops from her hand, she chooses Dauntless. This is shocking, as there have been rumors that Abnegation children change factions because of their treatment to their children. This, however, is not the case for Beatrice, as she had a safe childhood. On the way, she meets a girl called Christina, who was a Candor. At that point in her life, she is no longer Beatrice Prior, she becomes Tris Prior. Tris now faces a problem: she is not strong or thicker like her other opponents, and she is regularly beaten up, during this time she realizes Four is starting to become attached to her.



The main three factions that the novel focuses on are Dauntless, Abnegation, and Erudite. Due to the fact, the three characters that have/might have transferred to the factions from others like Candor and Amity. So here is the list of characters:

Seen Character[]

  • Official tris
    Beatrice Prior/Tris- The series' main protagonist. A born Abnegation who strived to be selfless, but Beatrice grew to have traits that conflicted with her original faction. Though she can be selfish at times, she's more brave when she is motivated by her selflessness and choosing sacrifice over selfishness. She learns of being a Divergent during the Aptitude Tests, who, among other things, are people who can manipulate the simulations. Most Divergent have an aptitude for two factions, but Beatrice has three, Erudite, Abnegation, and Dauntless. She chooses Dauntless and changes her name to Tris. In the initiation that follows, Tris encounters numerous enemies who seek to break her, while she grapples with feelings for a fellow Dauntless man, and her attempts to discover who she truly is. She's described as not necessarily pretty in the traditional sense, but most certainly striking with her blond hair and girlish figure.

  • Official four
    Tobias Eaton/Four- A born Abnegation turned Dauntless, Tobias, or Four after becoming Dauntless, is the one responsible for his faction's initiation. Four is an eighteen-year old Dauntless who oversees the Dauntless initiates during Divergent, specifically those who have transferred from other factions. He meets Beatrice Prior, training her, befriending her and ultimately becoming her boyfriend. He helps her through initiation and protects her identity as a Divergent. He is called Four by most, Tris is one of few who knows him as Tobias, the nickname stuck as he only has 4 fears in his fear landscape. Tobias, like Tris, was born Abnegation and is also Divergent.

  • Official peter
    Peter Hayes- One of the main antagonists of the novel, and a fierce enemy of Tris Prior. Peter is a former Candor who transferred to Dauntless. He is shown to be cruel, sadistic, antagonistic, ill-tempered, and easily jealous. He desires a status of being the top of the initiates, doing anything he can to achieve that standing. His greed for power is Peter's most discernible trait. He uses the slur of "Stiff" towards Tris throughout the novel, and is ruthless towards Tris.

  • Official christina
    Christina - She is a born Candor who chose Dauntless. She became Tris' best friend on the first day of Initiation while trying to make it back to the Dauntless compound safely. She coupled up with Will, an Erudite transfer to Dauntless. She has a knack for brutal honesty, and tactlessness.

  • Official will
    Will - Originally from Erudite, Will transferred to Dauntless, along with fellow Erudite members Edward and Maya. He befriended Tris, Christina, and Al during training, as he felt like a third wheel to his fellow Erudite transfers. He is knowledgeable in fact-based information and bares no ill-will toward Tris as a former Abnegation member, unlike his older sister.

  • Official eric
    Eric - He is a Dauntless leader who was an Erudite transfer. He's depicted as envious of Four, though he maintains a higher position in the ranks of Dauntless. Eric is the cruel and brutish side of bravery, contrasted by Four's common-place selflessness shade of bravery. He tends to be a bully, while espousing hatred for bullies.

Transferred From

Beatrice from Abnegation to Dauntless
Tobias from Abnegation to Dauntless
Peter from Candor to Dauntless
Christina from Candor to Dauntless
Will from Erudite to Dauntless
Eric from Erudite to Dauntless

  • Natalie abnegation
    Natalie Prior- Mother of Beatrice and Caleb Prior. She is selfless, always thinking about what's best for everyone else. Natalie was born Dauntless but later turned to Abnegation to try to hide her Divergence from wary eyes. She tells Tris she loves her no matter what, and means it; she has a tattoo from her Dauntless upbringing.

  • Official andrew
    Andrew Prior- The father of Beatrice and Caleb Prior. He is an epitome of selflessness; always doing what's best for the people around him. Andrew becomes a council member effectively becoming an influential man in the city. He has a period of selfishness when Beatrice and Caleb both choose to leave Abnegation, as Natalie tells Tris on Visiting Day. He tends to spout off tirades on the Erudite and their intentions.

Transfer From

Natalie Prior from Dauntless to Abnegation
Andrew Prior from Erudite to Abnegation

  • Official caleb
    Caleb Prior- Brother of Beatrice, son of Andrew and Natalie Prior. Caleb always seemed selfless and harbored no selfishness, he loved to read books and seek knowledge, eventually choosing to transfer to Erudite. Despite this, Caleb never forgot about his old faction, and chose to help his family during the rebellion in spite of his apparent betrayal to Abnegation. He becomes a larger part of Tris' story as time passes.

  • Official jeanine
    Jeanine Matthews - The leader of Erudite and the main antagonist of the series. She was chosen to be the leader because of her extremely high IQ scores. Her main goal: to gather the Divergent and find a way to end their control over simulations (either by murder, or science).

Transferred From

Caleb Prior from Abnegation to Erudite
Jeanine Mathews From Erudite to Erudite[1]

Unseen Characters[]


Like in other pieces of children's and young adult fiction, the novel probes the place of authority and identity within the youth's relationship to parents and other social forces. Critic Antero Garcia describes the thematic similarity between these dystopian novels to be an interest in the "grasp of power between youth and adult authority" comparing the novel to Unwind by Neal Shusterman. In The New York Times, Susan Dominus stated that Divergent "explores a more common adolescent anxiety--the painful realization that coming into one's own sometimes means leaving family behind, both ideologically and physically". The Voice of Youth Advocates agrees, writing that Divergent shows the pressure of "having to choose between following in your parents' footsteps or doing something new". Similarly, critic Antero Garcia compared the thematic interest in the characters being "forced into limiting constraints of identity and labor associated with their identity" to the similar interest in forced identities and labor in the dystopian children's novels Matched by Allyson Braithwaite Condie and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

Some reviews criticize the depth and realism of the social structures within the novel. For example, Kirkus review called the social structure a "preposterous premise". Similarly, Booklist called the structure a "simplistic, color-coded world [that] stretches credibility on occasion". In a review for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's st]udent newspaper "Royal Purple News", Abrielle Backhaus notes how the "entire system seems insubstantial" and asks rhetorically "How could it be possible for any individual, with his or her infinite emotions and experiences, to be condensed to one single quality to tolerate for the rest of their lives and to choose at the mere age of 16?" In an interview Roth describes the social structure to have expanded from her initial conception, adding Candor to fill "a gap in the reasoning behind the world that needed to be filled".

A large part of the social structure's effect on the novel is to divide the different types of knowledge that the characters have access to. In her book chapter exploring how literacy in different knowledge effect the series, Alice Curry describes the factions and their indoctrination as deliberately creating a gap in knowledge for their initiates. Because of the initiation process, the characters become illiterate in the knowledge valued by the other factions, thus Tris's divergence allows her to be admirable and successful because she can become literate in a broad set of knowledges and information types. Curry argues, that Jeanine's leadership within Erudite, represents an academic "Ivory Tower" that alienates other types of knowledge, thus the book critiques academic learning, in favor of the broader literacy embodied by Tris. Curry compares the novel to Julie Bertagna's 2002 Exodus, describing both as using spaces and landscapes where knowledge is learned to critique "crumbling knowledge institutions", like academic spaces, that "dissemble" knowledge instead of facilitating deeper holistic knowledge literacies that create "understanding".

Like The Hunger GamesDivergent depicts considerable violence for a Young Adult novel. The Publisher's Weekly review emphasized this stylistic choice, calling it "edgy" and describing the initiation rituals that Tris endures "as spellbinding as they are violent" and describes them as "sadistic tests of strength and courage". But, as Susan Dominus points out, the novel doesn't keep this violence at the forefront of reader experience; she writes in The New York Times, that "Terrible things happen to the people Tris loves, yet the characters absorb these events with disquieting ease. Here, somehow, the novel's flights from reality distance the reader from the emotional impact that might come in a more affecting realistic (or even fantasy) novel."

When describing her inspiration for the Dauntless training through exposure to fears, Roth, in an interview for the website "PopSugar", says, though influenced by many sources, the most important was her "Psych 101 my first year of college [where] I learned about exposure therapy, which is when they treat people with fear, like for anxiety. It exposes them repeatedly to what they're afraid of, and gradually you become less afraid of it, or have a healthy level of fear, and I thought of the Dauntless then, because they're conditioning perfectly normal people to get over perfectly rational fears." Daniel Kraus's Booklist review of the novel described the intense psychological pressure as like "akin to joining the marines" but also providing the "built-in tension" that makes the novel a compelling read.

Though the novel does not maintain an overtly Christian thematic interest, some readers place the novels themes within this context because of Roth's professed religiosity. In the postscript "Acknowledgements," Roth emphasizes her Christian faith saying "Thank you, God, for your Son and for blessing me beyond comprehension." For some reviewers this element of Roth's lifestyle is important to the novel's impact; for example, when reviewing the novel for the Christian Ministry "Break Point", Sherry Early describes Roth as "a Christian" and the novel setting as "post-feminist, maybe even Christian". She also says that though the novel is "not overtly Christian", it follows a "Christian point of view" because it "fight against the restrictions placed upon her by a controlling and totalitarian state" and because "Tris must also explore the cracks and imperfections within her own psyche." K. B. Hoyle also acknowledges that the novel would have a "Christian message", when reviewing the novel for the Evangelical book review organization The Gospel Coalition. However, Hoyle criticizes the novel for using "terminology most Christians would consider profane" and for not making the Christian themes more explicit by "never nam[ing] Christ or even clarif[ying] what the practices are supposed to mean".

Reviewers outside the Christian community have also noticed the Christian context of the novel. In a review of the book and first movie, David Edelstein observed the book's treatment of intellectuals as following a tendency in some parts of Christian culture to regard science and intellectualism as a threat to Christian faith: the intellectual Erudite faction are largely depicted as control-hungry villains pitted against the Abnegation faction, who are depicted as righteous and merciful. He wrote "The novelist, Veronica Roth, reserves her loathing for the 'Erudites', who spend their days in intellectual pursuit. She appears to be one in a long line of religious conservatives (her first acknowledgement is to God, 'for your Son') who think there's nothing more dangerous than intellectualism, which makes people apt to seize power and impose Maoist-like uniformity on entire populations — on pain of death."

Many reviewers note how the style of writing within the novel offers a distinctive quick prose that creates a reading experience that is fast-paced. For example, writing in The New York Times Susan Dominus described the style as "brisk pacing, lavish flights of imagination and writing that occasionally startles with fine detail". Nolan, from The American Prospect, noted that Divergent follows the structural and stylistic patterns of both The Hunger Games and Blood Red Road.


Divergent has been well received. In a review from the New York Times, Susan Dominus wrote that it was "rich in plot and imaginative details," but also that, compared to other such books in the same genre as the Hunger Games trilogy, it did "not exactly distinguish itself." In a review for Entertainment Weekly, Breia Brissey said that it was "flimsier and less nuanced" than The Hunger Games but was good, giving it a B+ rating. Kirkus Reviews said it was "built with careful details and intriguing scope." Common Sense Media commented on the book's "deep messages about identity and controlling societies" and on the "unstoppable plot that's remarkably original." It was rated 5 out of 5 stars and given an age 12+ rating.

The book debuted at #6 on the New York Times Children's Chapter Books Best Seller list on May 22, 2011, and remained on the list for 11 weeks. It also spent 39 weeks on the Times's Children's Paperback Books Best Seller list in 2012, reaching number one. The Times changed its Children's Best Seller lists in December, 2012, eliminating the Children's Paperback list, and Divergent continued its run on the new Young Adult Best Seller list. It is still on the list as of February, 2013. To date, book sales are now over 5 million copies for both novels combined, and both titles are HarperCollins most successful e-books ever in regards to sales.

Awards Given

  1. Divergent won Favorite book of 2011 in 2011's Goodreads Choice Awards.
  2. Divergent won Best Science-Fiction and YA Fantasy of 2011 in 2011's Goodreads Choice Awards
  3. Divergent was number one in the Teens' Top Ten Vote, sponsored by YALSA.
  4. It also won the Sakura Medal Contest.

Film Awards


Main article: Divergent (film)


  1. because she choose to stay in the faction she was born into.