I went to the movies last night and as I’m sitting here typing this, I’m still grinning ear to ear. I loved Divergent! I read a while back Allie Condie’s Matched trilogy – about a girl who is born in a society so well determined that after an exam she will know who her lifetime mate will be. Unfortunately for her, the test fails and she has to hide the fact that she is matchless..
Divergent starts on the same concept. Somewhere in the future, there has been a terrible, terrible war that has left America in ruin (we don’t know what happened to the rest of the world) and in Chicago, a new way of ruling has emerged that seems to work.
The overview shots of Chicago are amazing. The amount of CGI used to make the city as a post-war zone was well used and I felt like I could just sink into the scene. The fact that I could only find a seat three rows from the screen did help too!
Now, in this new world of social order, we have casts. Each cast has its own colors and dress code and dreams and aptitudes. They are called factions and each faction is identified by a trait:
Abnegation (The Selfless)
“ I choose to turn away from my reflection, to rely not on myself but on my brothers and sisters, to project always outward until I disappear. ”
The faction that values selflessness in the service of others. These are ones who do community service.
The dystopic society of Chicago is ruled by a council of fifty people, composed entirely of representatives from Abnegation because their faction is incorruptible, due to their commitment to selflessness. Abnegation’s color is grey. They must wear all grey loose fitting clothes to not attract attention to themselves. The only accessory they are allowed to wear is a plain watch.
Erudite (The Intelligent)
“ Ignorance is defined not as stupidity but as lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge inevitably leads to lack of understanding. Lack of understanding leads to a disconnect among people with differences. Disconnection among people with differences leads to conflict. Knowledge is the only logical solution to the problem of conflict. Therefore, we propose that in order to eliminate conflict, we must eliminate the disconnect among those with differences by correcting the lack of understanding that arises from ignorance with knowledge. ”
“Bookcases line the walls on either side of me, but they seem to be decorative more than anything, because computers occupy the tables in the center of the room, and no one is reading. The Erudites stare at screens with tense eyes, focused.”
According to the norms of the faction, it is dictated that a faction member must wear at least one blue article of clothing at a time, because blue causes the body to release calming chemicals which attest to their saying, a calm mind is a clear mind. It is also noted that Erudites are big on speeches and that Eloquence are for them.
Dauntless (The Brave)
“ We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another… We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves. ”
Dauntless are those who are brave, fearless almost. They strive to become fearless and indestructible. The Dauntless are those who guard the fence, making sure no one gets in or out, and are the best soldiers. Dauntless color is black, in which members completely dress. Dark makeup and tattoos are also recommended for members.
Amity (The Peaceful)
“ Give freely, trusting that you will be given what you need… Do not be angry. The opinions of others cannot damage you… The wrong is past. You must let it rest where it lies… You must no longer think cruel thoughts. Cruel thoughts lead to cruel words, and hurt you as much as they hurt their target. ”
The faction who values peace above else. The ones who try to make everything peaceful. Members of the Amity Faction are dressed in red or yellow. Every time Tris sees them, they look kind, loving and free. Amity children are seen playing hand clapping games and singing songs. They mostly have a laid back happy go lucky attitudes and are viewed as artists. Yet despite that, Amity has given Chicago understanding counselors and caretakers. Robert Black is known to have chosen this faction. He readily hugs Tris and notes of her bruises. He told her to go back to Abnegation and that they would make an exception of her but she refused. He says she should be happy. A trait of every Amity that he wanted for her but she rebuked him and says, “the goal of my life isn’t just… to be happy.”
Candor (The Honest)
“ Truth makes us transparent. Truth makes us strong. Truth makes us inextricable. ”
The faction that values honesty. The ones who can’t even tell one little lie. A member of the Candor faction can be recognized because of his black suit and white tie, a Candor standard uniform. They see the truth as black and white so that is what they wear. Through the years, the Candor Faction provided the people with trustworthy and sound leaders in law. Candor children are seen to make wide gestures with their hands and appear to be arguing. They are very truthful and would even frankly and tactlessly say what they feel. The candor initiation does not utilize simulation but utilize lie detectors tests and truth serum. An initiate sits in front of everyone and are asked a load of really personal questions. According to Christina, the theory is that if the person reveals all his secrets, he has no desire to lie about anything because the worst is already in the open. Although candor value honesty the most, they also seek to develop impartiality. The term “Candor” roots from the word “Candid” in french “Canduer” in latin “Candor” which is used in the book. The word means: To shine,be white.
There is one more group that is not part of the social classes or factions. These are the factionless. These are the people who failed to complete their initiation into whatever faction they chose and live in poverty, doing the work no one else wants to do. They are the janitors, construction workers and garbage collectors. They are the ones who make fabric, operate trains and drive buses. In return for their work they get food and clothing. They live in places in collapsed roads, empty subways full of trash and sewage.It is later found that they have the highest number of Divergent. They wear mix clothing from other factions.
Our main heroine, Beatrice Prior, is born into the Abnegation house. While growing up, she is fascinated by the Dauntless who appear so free and brave. This society does allow free choice, so a person born in a faction can choose another faction where to mature. The choice is essential as once it’s made, all ties to the family are severed and they need to focus only on the faction they wish to be in.
The test for the skill-set is essential and when Beatrice takes the test, she presents aptitudes for all the factions, making her a divergent. She is able during the testing phase to identify the reality of her surroundings, making her able to change the test while it’s happening. She is advised to hide the fact that she is a Divergent and carefully choose a faction she feels close to her heart.
She chooses Dauntless and her brother chooses Erudite, leaving her parents alone. What she does not know is that the Dauntless faction is pretty hard-core, meaning she will have to go though tough training and if she fails, she will be expelled making her a factionless. They gather points and anyone under the line will be eliminated.
The first test is jumping off a building.
When she lands, she encounters Four (yes, that’s his name) and the guy is HOT! There is a flowering romance budding between them and I was absolutely rooting for her to succeed. I’m not going to spoil it too much, just state the obvious – they end up together and the kiss scene is amazing! She touches his tattoo (which spans across the whole of his back) and then he turns around and … *smooch*. 🙂
There was one point though where I had to close my eyes. She has to pass one final test where she shows that she can think as a Dauntless and not as a Divergent and she has to face her worst fears. The last one and deepest of her fears is the approach of Four in her heart. The fear of intimacy, the fear of being taken against her will. She is thrown onto the bed and he climbs on top of her… I could not watch anymore. Rape is not something to watch in a movie… Then she hits him in the balls! Laughter issues from all over the cinema and the lady next to me said “You go, girl! Show’em where it hurts!” I had to chuckle but it was a truly cringe moment.
I’m not going to spoil how the story unfolds as the movie has just come out and it would be mean of me to ruin the fun. But you do have to see it! 🙂
PS: If you have seen I, Frankenstein or A good Day to Die Hard, you will remember who the leader of the Dauntless is (Eric):
All I could think of was Macklemore: