Themes and Analysis

By veronica roth.

Veronica Roth made a brilliant blend of psychology, action, romance, and thriller in ‘Divergent’. Glance into the brilliant world created by the renowned author.

Michael Chude

Article written by Michael Chude

B.Sc. degree in parasitology and entomology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

‘Divergent’  by Veronica Roth exhibits various themes, symbols, suspense, plot twists, and figurative devices, contributing to its enjoyment as a mystery novel. Presented below is an analysis of the literary elements within the book.

Choice and Identity

For author Veronica Roth, ‘ Divergent ‘   is a book about self-identity, and choosing to be who you are. As the characters in the novel are mostly adolescents and young adults, they are at the stage in their lives when they are trying to find identities for themselves and decide the type of personality they have, the group they are best at identifying with, and where they fit best. Veronica Roth raises many important questions about identity, including questioning how we choose an identity, the viability and advantages of choosing the same identity as someone else, and what happens if we want to change identities.

In the future dystopian society of ‘ Divergent ,’ people only get one chance to choose their identities, a process that readers will recognize as absurd. When the city’s residents turn 16, there’s an elaborate ritual that culminates in the 16-year-olds choosing one of five “factions” to live with for the rest of their lives: the Abnegation, the Candor, the Dauntless, the Erudite, and the Amity.

Each faction corresponds to a specific personality type; the Dauntless are bold, aggressive, and brave, the Abnegation are selfless, the Erudite are super smart, the Erudite are scholars, and the Candor are open and truthful. In the ceremony, the city’s adolescents make a permanent choice about what kind of people they want to be, then they spend the rest of their lives living up to it.

The protagonist of ‘ Divergent ,’ Beatrice “Tris” Prior, who is Divergent, stands out because she is a sympathetic character. She is relatable to the average adolescent and and young adult reader with her ability to switch between personalities which makes her unable to stick to one faction. She can’t make up her mind about what kind of person she wants to be. At times, she thinks she truly belongs among the Dauntless, and at other times she’s convinced that she’s most comfortable among the people of Abnegation, who are selfless and self-sacrificing.

Although there are only very few people in Tris’ society who are Divergent, she soon realizes that there is no one in her society who truly has one fixed identity, everyone is at least a little Divergent. This failure to stick with a single identity also afflicts even the characters who are seen as the people with the most Dauntless or Abnegation characteristics, such as Tobias or Natalie, Tris’ mother, who are revealed to have other identities, hidden beneath the ones they display to the public.

The point in ‘ Divergent’ isn’t that Natalie is a Dauntless pretending to be Abnegation or Abnegation pretending to be Dauntless. Throughout the book, Tris bounces back and forth between different factions but she recognizes that she’ll have to go beyond any one of these factions. Identity, she decides is an ongoing process.

Fear and Bravery

The first lesson Tris learns during the time she spends training with the Dauntless is how to confront her deepest fears and control them. This is also the basic lesson Dauntless initiates who were not born in the faction learn after they join. The core beliefs of the Dauntless culture are built around the belief that the most basic problem with the human race is cowardice. Thus, the path to success and peace in a society is the mastering of one’s fears and becoming brave. In ‘ Divergent’  we see Tris’ growth and development. We are shown her coming of age through her understanding of her place in Dauntless and her increasing control over her fears.

One of the most important points made by ‘ Divergent’ is that everybody feels fear, no matter who they are. Tris and her peers go through rigorous training, during which they’re made to vividly experience their fears. Every one of the recruits is shaken by this challenge: fear is their common denominator, bringing them closer together. One could even say that fear is the most fundamental thing about the characters, to the point that some, like Four, of them are named after their fears.

In the story of ‘ Divergent’ we get to see that the meaning of bravery is not the complete absence of fear, but that bravery requires coming to terms with fear and dealing with it even when there are no chances of victory in sight. In the course of their Dauntless training, Tris is injected with a hallucinogenic serum that makes her experience her worst fears, but in time Tris teaches herself how to cope with and embrace her fears. She accepts that she’ll always be frightened of the same things, like drowning and losing her family. Instead of trying to hide from these fears, she chose to accept them as a part of her life.

Because she’s Divergent, Tris found it easier to stay sane during the Fear Landscape than other Dauntless cadets, he was able to reach through the program and remind herself that she is hallucinating. Tris’ courage and composure in the face of fear make her seem mature and adult-like to her peers among the Dauntless, and to readers.

However, Tris’ struggle to come to terms with her fears has far-reaching consequences beyond just excelling at her training. Her struggle also represents one of her greatest strengths as a heroine. While other members of Dauntless, including the cadets, are easily manipulated by the propaganda released by the Erudite faction, Tris stays true to her convictions, recognizing that they are trying to scare the other factions into obedience.

In general, Tris is not as susceptible to manipulation and scare tactics as other members of her faction. This is largely due to her immense courage. Another factor is her Dauntless training, which has taught her to accept fear instead of trying to bury it altogether. Everyone feels fear, Tris included. But Tris is special: she learns how to deal with her fear and channel it productively.

Analysis of Key Moments

  • Beatrice chooses to join Dauntless over her birth faction Abnegation. This sets the tone for the exploration of identity and individuality.
  • Beatrice changes her name to “Tris”. This symbolizes her transition from her old life to a new, less predictable identity.
  • Tris leaps from the moving train to mark her initiation into Dauntless, and her first step into a new world of challenges.
  • Tris faces trials, like the fear simulation and combat training, testing her mental and physical strength.
  • Tris forms a friendship with Christina, which provides emotional support and underscores the bonds formed in the face of adversity.
  • The connection between Tris and Four evolves, showcasing trust and mutual respect beyond mere romance.
  • Peter’s betrayal during the initiation tests demonstrates the ruthlessness some will adopt to succeed.
  • Tris’ inconclusive test result hints at her Divergence, setting up the mystery behind her unique identity.
  • Tris goes through her first simulation experience which reveals her fears. This introduces the concept of conquering one’s inner demons.
  • Tris’ tactical thinking during the game showcases her adaptability and resilience.
  • With her unexpected rise in the rankings, Tris challenges faction expectations and exposes the limitations of labels.
  • Tris’ gradual growth and acceptance within Dauntless emphasize her transformation and integration.
  • Tris’ abduction by the Erudite faction propels the story toward its climax and highlights the power struggle.
  • Tris’ decision to offer herself as a sacrifice for her loved ones underscores her selflessness and courage.
  • The revelation of the faction system’s origin as an experiment disrupts the characters’ understanding of their reality.
  • Tris’ final confrontation with Jeanine exposes the power struggle between factions and resolves the immediate conflict.

Style, Tone and Figurative Language

In Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent,’ the writing style, tone, and use of figurative language are pivotal in creating an atmosphere of tension, intrigue, and exploration within the dystopian narrative.

Roth’s writing style exhibits a descriptive quality that vividly creates a dystopian world in the minds of readers. The factions’ distinct environments, the imposing architecture of the Dauntless headquarters, and the societal divisions are shown with careful detail. This immersive description creates a rich setting for the story and propels readers into the heart of the story.

The tone of ‘Divergent’ experiences a transformation somewhat like Tris’ personal evolution. It starts with an undercurrent of curiosity and unease as Tris navigates her initiation into the Dauntless faction. As the story progresses, the tone evolves to one of suspense and apprehension, mirroring Tris’ increasing awareness of the faction-based society’s flaws. The revelation of Tris’ Divergence intensifies the tone, charging the story with urgency and intrigue. The transitions between Tris’ internal monologue and the external events cultivate a sense of connection with her emotional journey.

Analysis of Symbols

After each milestone in her life, Tris gets a tattoo. Each tattoo has a different and specific symbolic meaning. She gets a tattoo of the Dauntless symbol to celebrate the fact that she’s finally feeling at home among the Dauntless. In general, Beatrice’s tattoos symbolize her desire to form an identity for herself: tattoos remind her of who she is, and inspire her to be strong and true to her principles. Thus, her first tattoo represents her family, symbolizing her continued allegiance to her old life in Abnegation; her second tattoo is Dauntless, symbolizing her love for her new community.

The most conspicuous symbol in  Divergent  is also one of the most complex. Tris is Divergent, meaning that she doesn’t have a strong allegiance to any one of the five factions: on the contrary, she has qualities that align her with more than one of the factions. Divergence also suggests a unique mental state that isn’t fully explained in the novel, as Divergent people like Tris and Tobias can resist mind control and hallucinations that affect those more immersed in their factions.

At first, Tris believes that she’s alone in being Divergent. But as the book moves on, it becomes increasingly clear that she isn’t unique at all. She’s surrounded by people who have secret identities or hidden loyalties, including her mother, Natalie Prior, who is also Divergent. In this sense, Divergence symbolizes human beings’ inability to be grouped into stable categories and fixed identities. Nobody is brave, kind, or honest 100 percent of the time, and the society that tries to pretend otherwise is doomed to break down.

What is the climax of ‘ Divergent ‘?

The climax of ‘ Divergent ‘ is the confrontation between Tris, who was backed up by Four, and Jeanine Matthews at the Erudite headquarters. Tris uncovers the truth behind Jeanine’s mind-control program, and her plot to take over power.

What does the Dauntless faction symbol represent?

The flames in the symbol represent the fiery spirit of the faction, their readiness to take action, and their determination to overcome challenges.

What are the social issues in ‘ Divergent ‘?

The main social issues in Veronica Roth’s ‘ Divergent ‘ are the pressure on the citizens to conform to a single character trait, the Erudite faction’s manipulation and control of other factions, and prejudice between certain factions.

What is the significance of Tris’ first tattoo?

After her initiation, Tris chose to get a tattoo of three crows which represent her parents and her brother to keep them close to her heart.

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Michael Chude

About Michael Chude

Michael Chude has years of experience writing flash fiction and reviewing books with his book club members. He is also an avid reader who loves great stories and extensive world-building.


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Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

divergent book report essay

Ebook available for kindle US , kindle UK, nook , kobo , & sony


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Thea James is one half of the maniacal duo behind The Book Smugglers. She is Filipina-American, but grew up in Hawaii, Indonesia, and Japan. A full-time book nerd who works in publishing for her day job, Thea currently resides in Astoria, Queens with her partner and rambunctious cat. COOKING FOR WIZARDS, WARRIORS & DRAGONS (available August 31, 2021) is her first cookbook.


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Ooh, nice review. I was a bit frustrated by what you deem the “potato-chip” nature of this book (generally, schlocky action stuff just doesn’t appeal to me) but you nail what’s interesting about Tris. I really did enjoy her as a character!

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Lisa (starmetal oak)

Thanks for the review!

A question about the story: if people have made these factions in order to combat the various reasons they think the world has failed before (greed, cowardice, etc) then why do they limit the intake of new recruits? Is this fleshed out in the book or just a way to create conflict?

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Like Phoebe, I’m not sure I agree with the potato-chip comment, but overall exactly what I thought. 🙂

And I’m reading BEAUTY QUEENS now, too.

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Dear Authors,

Please kill off more of your characters. It makes your OMGDANGER feel more…dangerous. See Connie Willis and Patrick Ness for details.

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@Phoebe & @Jess Tudor – Perhaps I should make the disclaimer that my favorite movie is Die Hard and I am a HUGE fan of the cheesy action movie? Heh. I can completely understand frustrations with the book’s trials and nonstop action for action’s sake, though.

But I gotta admit…I love me some potato chips 😉

@Lisa – Though it’s not really explained in the book, it’s probably safe to assume that in the cases of factions like Candor, Erudite and Dauntless that initiation is so tough and restricted because they want to make sure their new members truly uphold the ideals of that respective clan. To gain membership into Candor, for example, initiates are forced to take some sick, publically humiliating lie-detector test. With Amity and Abnegation, however, I think the bar to entry is lower because they are less sought after factions, and their ideals are more selfless and accepting. If that makes sense?

I agree that this all does sound rather flimsy and fragile, though. The worldbuilding is simplistic and doesn’t really hold together under any stronger level of scrutiny!

That said, it’s a fun book, and I hope you get a chance to read it 🙂

@Raych – I’d like to sign your letter, please! So. So. TRUE.

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Grr there are 16 people ahead of me at the library. Can’t wait to read this!

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Ms. Roth isn’t afraid to kill people and that’s one of my biggest problem with many current YA “dystopias” – this lack of teeth.

I couldn’t agree more with this. What little I read of Divergent wasn’t really for me, but it’s good to know there are authors out there who are willing to go a bit outside the norm for YA.

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I’ve been holding off on picking this one up, even though its set in Chicago and I live in the Chicago area , because the whole Faction business makes very little sense to me. I do like that it has “more teeth”, as you say, than many of the other YA dystopias out there (and like you, I have a weakness for dystopias and post-apocolyptic scenarios), but the weak worldbuilding makes me not feel the urge to read this title. Also, I am trying to stay away from incomplete trilogies for a while.

I am SO with you on this dystopia craze; so many people seem to want to cash in on this latest phenom yet so few of them seem to want to do their homework in order to make their world believable.

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I know what you mean. I definitely have to be in the right mood for dystopias of the potato chip variety, but this review definitely makes me want to give Divergent a chance if nothing else.

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Ebony McKenna

I read this recently and it was pretty absorbing. I liked the idea of factions and was especially pleased with the book having a decent ending. Yes, there is more to come, but this book at least ended in the right place. It’s a big ask to finish a book with a sense of completion, while also leaving scope for further adventures.

PS, speaking of factions, I’m kind of hankering to re-read Brave New World now. That book rocked my world.

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Marleen Gagnon

This looks like a really good read. I’ve gotta get it. Thanks for all you do.

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I actually agreed with the obsessive nature of this book. I didn’t realize I had read so much in one sitting until I was interrupted. I look forward to Roth’s future works, I think this book was very good.

But, the factions never make sense for me in the book, because there are too many other types of people out there for me, and overall, the world itself is not very well built (however, I really think that will come in the next book as there is some foreshadowing). I actually think the killing off of the characters was kinda weak, like old Star Trek red shirts. We barely know these people who are killed, so why do we care if they die?

But on a totally different note, how is this really considered dystopian? Is this a repressive or controlling state? These people get to choose which faction they will live in, regardless of what the test says. The can even leave the factions and live outside the government. This is what the book made me think of most when I was finished reading it, lol.

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What’s this trilogy you keep alluding to? I can’t think of anything…

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Ah it’s good to know you liked this Thea! Looking forward to reading this now. 🙂

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Thanks for the great review. I was fortunate enough to be the first to check out DIVERGENT when it hit the library. I loved this book. Will be in line for the sequel. 😀

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*The Trilogy That Must Not Be Named*

I just barely kept my snort of amusement from popping out. 😀

*Tris is not your usual Mary Sue. She’s selfish. She’s manipulative. She’s vindictive as hell – and I LOVED that about this book. I mean, at one point, when a character asks for her forgiveness, which she coldly refuses. Really coldly. I mean, holy masked avenger, Batman. It’s brutal, but refreshing (since these heroines are so often little goody-two-shoes that forgive even the most heinous acts).*

OH. Oh my. Me likey.

Oy – 500 pages, though! Wince.

*Though entertaining, this book does not provoke, incite, or demand a closer look at society*

Eh, I think I could be OK with that – too many dystopian works, whether YA or not, are so heavy. Maybe one that’s more on the entertainment side would be refreshing.

Awesome review, as usual. 😉

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Thanks so much for recommending this book Thea, I downloaded from iBooks and read it in a night! I look forward to her next offering. 🙂

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Amy @ Turn the Page

Brilliant review! I agree with your thoughts (though your review is far better written than my own lol!). I liked that Tris had flaws, but I still never exactly warmed to her as a character.

The relationship between Tris and Four was good – until it suddenly fast forward near the end and turned into the typical insta-love all over again!

I like an author who is willing to kill of characters – but I wasn’t feeling some of the character deaths at the the end – they felt… kind of pointless. But it was still an enjoyable read 🙂 Not fantastic but entertaining!

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Holly (Lily's Bookshelf)

I’m really looking forward to reading this one! Great review! 🙂

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I’ve just finished this book and it was very entertaining, read in it sooooo quickly too. A definite pocorn read and I am very much looking forward to the next installment. Spot on review!

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I have read this book 3 times…Now I’m doing a book review on it – the review is EXTREMELY helpful!!!

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Still unsure about reading this one. 😐

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I enjoyed your review. The way that you told the story clearly was very well done. Also your oppinion on the novel was really well formatted. I totally agree with you, how can a world be filled with humans striving to become only one thing. It’s impossible… I’ve done a review of the novel aswell if you want to check it out 🙂

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Good review.

I have to agree – I didn’t care for the flimsy pretext of the factions. I am hoping Allegiant will shed some light on the odd situation.

As for the character of Tris, I found her to be inconsistent. The author seems to have allotted her whatever traits were convenient for that particular chapter of the story.

All in all – a good, quick read, but nothing substantial.

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Warning: The following post may be a too long, boring and pseudo feminist opinion of one unimportant person!

Well Reviewed!

I like that your review is well balanced in terms of criticism and praise! I find I agree with a lot of your points on where this book succeeds (pacing, action sequences) and where it fails (you can’t question the world, or it shatters). However I would disagree that Tris is an original take on Mary-Sue. In fact, I think more and more authors are relying on imperfection to create perfected Mary-Sues.

Tris is regularly commenting on her plain looks. A trend that started with the wonderfully dubbed “Trilogy that shall not be named!” As if, stating someone isn’t jaw-droppingly attractive (while still giving conventionally attractive attributes) gives them more character. This seems to be a YA thing more than others, as I find adult fiction of a similar nature rarely delves deeply into looks after initial description (with the possible exception of fantasy creatures (fairies, elves, etc) or female protagonists under a male authors pen). In fact, because of this new emerging trope one of my favourite lines in the story was (***Spoiler***) Four commenting that if all he wanted was sex, he wouldn’t have gone to her first. (Spoiler end) One because it was funny, and two because it so fully shows why authors think it takes away the mary-sue trope. She’s not desirable, so she can’t be perfect.

Secondly I found that Tris’ personality is now becoming another trait seeing more and more in YA literature with female leads. While one part of me fully enjoys that female protagonists are being featured and given attitudes beyond the disney princess; this dichotomy of princess or badass is just as problematic in creating fully realized female characters. I loved it with Katniss, because it was justified: She is poor, she is oppressed and she truly doesn’t understand giving without receiving. To her, survival and self-preservation justifies any means; yet she is still successfully kind. Her world supports that. In Tris’ case, she does have food, she lives in a world where essentially her father is the government and literally taught to only understand selflessness. The fact that she is then made so cold to differentiate her from others, makes her a Mary-Sue. She has no reason to be cruel and vindictive other than because in the eyes of the author and by extension readers: it makes her better. It makes her more than the average: She’s perfect because she’s tough, because she has undesirable traits she recognizes but doesn’t mind. In any other character, these traits would make them the villain. If done well an interesting machiavellian villain, but villain nonetheless. Lastly, she is instantly the attraction of the similarly perfect male lead without reason. (You mentioned this one) This I can overlook, after all people (especially at the characters given ages) can and occasionally do get enamored with a look. It may be even be justified as she is probably the only other person who can share a similar history, and present with Four.

I personally found myself uninterested in Tris as a character after a few chapters in dauntless: I already knew her. What kept me reading was the pace you were talking about, and the hopes something more interesting and unexpected happens. Her mother interested me, the other transfers interested me. We know Tris chose, but why did they? They weren’t special, divergent. Yet, we never really get to know anything about them.

In conclusion: Potato chips indeed!

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Just read Divergent… and I had a slight problem with it that no one seems to address: If Caleb is Beatrice’s older brother (as she states in the first few pages), and if the Choosing Ceremony is for 16yos, then why is Caleb at the Choosing Ceremony at the same time as Beatrice? Is he newly turned 17 and missed the cutoff date for the previous year’s Ceremony? Tbh I nearly stopped reading the book because it seemed like such a huge thing to make the reader puzzle out.


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ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg An essay on divergent

In this essay I will consider the social, economic and political factors of divergent. Advancments in divergent can be linked to many areas. While it is becoming a hot topic for debate, it is impossible to overestimate its impact on modern thought. It is an unfortunate consequence of our civilizations history that divergent is rarely given rational consideration by so called ‘babies’, who just don’t like that sort of thing. With the primary aim of demonstrating my considerable intellect I will now demonstrate the complexity of the many faceted issue that is divergent.

Social Factors

Society begins and ends with divergent. When Thucictholous said ‘people only know one thing’ [1] he globalised an issue which had remained buried in the hearts of our ancestors for centuries. While deviating from the norm will always cause unrest amongst ones peers, divergent cleary plays a significant role amongst the developing middle classes.

Of paramount importance to any study of divergent within its context, is understanding the ideals of society. Society is powered by peer pressure, one of the most powerful forces in the world. As long as peer pressure uses its power for good, divergent will have its place in society.

Economic Factors

Increasingly economic growth and innovation are being attributed to divergent. We will primarily be focusing on the JTB-Guide-Dog model, which I hope will be familiar to most readers. Inflation

Clearly the graphs demonstrates a strong correlation. Why is this? Seemingly inflation will continue to follow divergent for the foreseeable future. Supply Side Economic Tax Cuts Tax deductions could turn out to be a risky tactic.

Political Factors

The media have made politics quite a spectacle. Looking at the spectrum represented by a single political party can be reminiscent of comparing divergentilisation, as it’s become known, and one’s own sense of morality.

It is always enlightening to consider the words of a legend in their own life time, Demetrius T. Time ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t through parties.’ [2] Primarily, he is referring to divergent. To paraphrase, the quote is saying ‘divergent wins votes.’ Simple as that. While divergent may be a giant amongst men, is it a dwarf amongst policy? I hope not.

To conclude, divergent parades along man’s streets and man waves back. It enlightens our daily lives, ensures financial stability and always chips in.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Stevie Jackson: ‘At first I was afraid I was petrified. Thinking I could never live without divergent by my side.’ [3] An essay on divergent

Increasingly economic growth and innovation are being attributed to divergent. We will primarily be focusing on the JTB-Guide-Dog model, which I hop

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I also did not find myself respecting the protagonist, Tris. I just finished the second book of the Divergent trilogy. Although I was wary of her character before, when *spoiler* Tris turns down a position in leadership solely so that Four can take over the faction *end spoiler*, I actually had to put the book down and walk away in disgust. Why does she think Four is better than her? Why, no matter what major action Tris takes in the story, does she give others credit for it? Even in the many fight scenes, we catch her claiming that it was Four who taught her how, Four who somehow was responsible for saving her life. And a lot of the time, he does end up saving her life, because he is the stronger, more sensible character.

So what is this supposed to be teaching the young girls reading this book? That they should be weak and expect less of themselves than their boyfriends? That the best way to act is to be a stereotypical girl and depend on others? Or is the author, Veronica Roth, trying to prove the stupidity of sixteen year old girls? If this is the case, she should not have tried to make Tris so real and widely relatable.

Roth and Tris have the third and final book in the series to change my mind about this.

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Although it’s a good read, and I love Tris, I love the idea, the setting, the factions, the love between the 2 main people, and yes the idea of being Dauntless sounds cool. I can’t help but compare it to to said Trilogy, something about said Trilogy just sores miles above this set of books. Thumbs up Roth, can’t wait to read others.

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Francesca Moore

This review summed up exactly how I felt about the book. I loved how fast paced it was and I loved the fact that the protagonist never become a superhero by the end of it, that way it felt more realistic. I’ve just watched the film and I wasn’t amazed by it, felt the book was so much better. I’m pondering whether to read books 2 and 3 of the series now as I’ve heard they are not as good as the first.

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I’m sorry, I have to be the critic here. As a fellow writer reading through Divergent currently, Veronica certainly is creative, to an extent. Her writing style… it’s pure childish. She has the level of a 10th grade student. A lot of places I have to reread because the wording is off. Not only that, but her constant short sentences are annoying. And Tris and Four’s romance is disgustingly cliche. Tris, as a character, is both whinny and hypocritical. She doesn’t want her friends to betray her, but she wants to make them jealous? Really? And why exactly is she Divergent? She’s not selfless, she does nice things in remembrance of her family, which would be selfish, wouldn’t it? And she’s not really intelligent, honest, or loving. I can’t even remember what third faction she received.

All in all, the idea seems creative enough, but the only reason I’m powering through is just to be able to say I read it. I’m not even bothering picking up the next two books. You can count on that.

Book Review: Divergent | Books, TV, and Me

[…] The Book Smugglers […]

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I can’t believe Tris was even considered to be a Mary Sue. A book character for an authour’s own created universe can’t be a Mary Sue. Plus she’s HUMAN.

And potato-chip nature? Have you even looked at the themes of the book? They’re deep af.

Divergent by Veronica Roth | One Book Two

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This book is such a kind of amazing. Can somebody tell me total part of this serie????

Becoming Napoleon – Calling All Skeletons

[…] interest to me, however I have felt a certain level of transformation with regard to, say, Beatrice Prior, or Tris as she would prefer. One could argue that artists have magic powers so to speak. They know […]

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this review is very detailed and provides quiet a lot of information to satisfy our needs of information . to whomever did this , i show a lot of respect for it seems to have a lot of effort and time placed into it. all i would like to say is that however that it may provide information, it does not provide all information on related topics that all book reviews require to have on a needing bases. i hope my information supports future reviews 🙂

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My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to checking out your web page again.

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Home — Essay Samples — Entertainment — Divergent — Summary And Reflection On Divergent By Veronica Roth


Summary and Reflection on Divergent by Veronica Roth

  • Categories: Book Review Divergent

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Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 1374 | Pages: 3 | 7 min read

Works Cited

  • Roth, V. (2011). Divergent. HarperCollins.
  • Roth, V. (2012). Insurgent. HarperCollins.
  • Roth, V. (2013). Allegiant. HarperCollins.
  • DeGross, J. (2014). From dystopia to utopia in young adult literature : Critical explorations of the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner Series. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Davis, S. M. (2015). Dystopian fiction east and west: Universe of terror and trial. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • White, E. L., & Hogg, N. (2016). Moral issues in young adult literature: Exploring real-world issues through YA literature. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Karp, J. B. (2017). The fractured adolescent: A development approach to the treatment of youth with schizophrenia. Oxford University Press.
  • Kucich, J. (2017). The Oxford handbook of Victorian literary culture. Oxford University Press.
  • Caserio, R. L. (Ed.). (2018). The Cambridge companion to the American modernist novel. Cambridge University Press.
  • Mendlesohn, F., & James, K. (2018). The Cambridge companion to science fiction. Cambridge University Press.

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“divergent” by veronica roth essay sample, example.


Divergent is the first book of a trilogy written by Veronica Roth , an American writer. It tells the story of a post-apocalyptic dystopia; the plot unfolds in post-war Chicago, where all of the people, after reaching 16 years old, must join one of the five strata in order to find their life niche for the rest of their lives. The novel, which was published in the USA on March 5, 2001, was called the best young adult fiction book of the year by many literary observers.

The novel tells the story of a 16 year-old girl Tris who is about to join one of the stratum named after certain traits of personality: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. The members of Abnegation, in which Tris has been born and raised, are able to act selflessly and sacrifice themselves to help others in need. Amity is devoted to the ideals of peace, kindness, and neutrality. Candor practices honesty, as its members believe it was total lies and deception which had led humanity towards devastating wars in the past. Dauntless cultivate strength, courage, and constantly seek ways of overcoming fear. The Erudite are focused on intelligence, curiosity, and knowledge; they are rivals with Abnegation.

Before the Choosing Day, Tris finds out she is a so-called divergent. It means she has an aptitude towards more than just one faction. Particularly, Tris has a potential to join Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. She is told to keep this fact in secret, otherwise her life could be in danger, as faction leaders usually kill divergents. Tris decides to join Dauntless; to do it, she must successfully pass several challenges. Tris was examined for her physical capabilities; she also had to face various virtually simulated fears; finally, she had to face her own fears. Tris successfully passed all the tests and joined the Dauntless.

Meanwhile, Tris finds out the Erudite faction is carrying out plans to assault the Abnegation, who run the city. In their plans, the Erudite wish to use the Dauntless to their advantage. When the newcomers pass the initiation and get adopted by the Dauntless, they are all injected with a serum that is meant to track the position of the lost members of the faction. One night, the serum turns all the Dauntless into brainwashed mind-controlled somnambulants, and makes them attack the Abnegation faction. Tris and her instructor Four are divergents, so the serum does not affect them; they try to escape, but get caught by the Erudite. They are injected with a new version of the serum, designed especially for divergents, which separated one from each other.

Tris is then saved by her mother, who is also a divergent. During the escape, Tris finds her brother Caleb, but loses her parents—they get killed. Then Tris rescues Four, and together they manage to free the Dauntless from the serum’s influence, and leave to the Amity-controlled sector.

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Of the five factions that are available in this novel, which would you choose and why?

The factions cover five key qualities, with Abnegation being selfless, Dauntless being brave, Candor being honest, Amity being kind, and Erudite being intellectual. Do you think these categories are sufficient or are there any other potential factions that you can think of?

Do you agree with the concept of splitting society into factions in this way? Do you think it is beneficial or is anything lost in this process?

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Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior lives in what was once Chicago but is now a vastly different place from what it used to be. The entire society fits within the city limits and is divided into five factions, each of which has a different set of guidelines and lifestyles that support its goal. The Abnegation faction pursues selflessness, Dauntless practices courage, Candor engages truth, Erudite seeks knowledge, and Amity follows kindness. These factions work together to form a perfect society --- well,  almost  a perfect society.

When citizens reach 16, they undergo an aptitude test that determines the best fit for each person. The following day is the Choosing Ceremony in which each teen must decide the faction he or she will join for the rest of their lives. Most follow in their parents' footsteps, but some choose a different faction, thus cutting off most contact with their loved ones. They have a saying in their society, "'faction over blood;" a person's faction becomes their new family.

So, at 16, Beatrice faces the biggest decision of her life. She has grown up in the Abnegation faction, where all thoughts and deeds focus on selflessness and doing for others. Unfortunately, Beatrice isn't very good at being completely selfless; she's forever getting disapproving looks from her parents and brother. So she's not surprised when her aptitude test doesn't point to Abnegation. She's surprised, though, when her test is inconclusive. This is extremely rare and makes her a Divergent. Her tester advises her never to tell anyone, as being a Divergent is extremely dangerous. Beatrice doesn't understand, and it makes her decision even more difficult. She must decide whether to follow in her parents' footsteps, in which she hasn't been very happy, or turn her back on her family and dare to be courageous. 

On the day of the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice follows her gut and elects to join Dauntless, the faction of bravery. Next she must undergo a series of initiation procedures in order to become an official member. These procedures are beyond tough, beyond scary, and beyond one's darkest nightmares, both physically and mentally. If she fails, Beatrice will become factionless --- an outcast living on the brink of poverty. But in order to survive, she must find the courage to reinvent herself and face her greatest fears. One of the first things she does is change her name to Tris, signaling a new beginning. She has no idea, though, of the magnitude of what is in store for her, including falling in love. The worst part, unbeknownst to most, is that a mutiny is brewing beneath the surface, and their well-ordered society is about to implode.

Veronica Roth's first novel marks the beginning of a trilogy, opening up a whole new adventure for book lovers. She writes with an intensity that challenges readers to look at their own lives, to consider which faction they might choose, to dream up which nightmares they might face in a similar initiation. She chose to set the story in first person, present tense, which adds to that intensity and energy. Tris is an extremely interesting character and very well rounded, and the story takes a unique turn with the massive emotional transformation she goes through as she reinvents herself. DIVERGENT offers exciting danger, sweet romance, intriguing psychiatric excavations, and nonstop captivating action. Veronica Roth is a welcomed and talented new addition to the YA book world.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on May 3, 2011

divergent book report essay

Divergent by Veronica Roth

  • Publication Date: February 11, 2014
  • Genres: Dystopian , Fiction , Thriller , Young Adult 14+
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • ISBN-10: 0062289853
  • ISBN-13: 9780062289858

divergent book report essay


The official a.l. phillips website, savvy saturday – a sociologist’s analysis of “divergent”.

Like many fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian worlds created by people who haven’t studied sociology, the world of Divergent has a few severe flaws. To define terms, a severe flaw (in my dictionary) is one that portrays an importantly different and inconsistent reality than that which the author is purposefully trying to establish. Minor flaws are things like timeline believability problems – books where, for instance, a protagonist is supposed to go from being a clueless farm-boy to a daring knight in just a month. Those are the kinds of problems where readers can shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah, whatever. It’s unbelievable, but not problematically so.” In contrast, severe flaws are unavoidable. They are problems so ingrained in the world that the author has built that they confront the reader throughout the book and undermine the author’s message. Unfortunately, this is a problem that the world of Divergent faces.

I’ll give the “first book only” version first, for those of you who want to remain relatively spoiler-free. (The end of the second book and the third book are supposed to “fix” the problems of book one, but in my opinion, raise more questions than they answer.) In Roth’s first book, Divergent , she reveals a society that has been built around five “factions.” These factions are created to be tightly knit social groups, almost castes, in which the members of the faction all revere a single moral virtue or ideal that shapes their actions and their beliefs. Different factions have different jobs in society, different lifestyles, and different value systems.  All well and good thus far. One can look at the ancient Hindu caste system and see that separating otherwise-identical people into utterly separate groups can work.

But then one key component is added that makes the whole system break down. Every person is allowed to choose his or her own faction when he or she comes of age, and this choosing is aided by a test that determines where an individual would best fit. Once an individual has chosen a faction, that faction becomes his or her new family – “faction before blood” is a key line from the book – and individuals must leave their old faction’s worldview and ties behind.

We then find out that this system has supposedly been working for over a hundred years. This is the severe flaw. The system cannot work the way it is supposed to, if Roth is trying to describe human beings as they truly are. (And if she is trying to describe humans who live in this city as being in some way very different from humans in our world, then it undermines the entire message of her third book, Allegiant .)

There are three major reasons that the faction system is severely flawed: 1) the virtue-driven nature of the factions conflicts with the nature of man, 2) the allowance of choice of factions undermines the integrity of the faction system, and 3) the creation of factions should lead to violence rather than lead away from violence.

First, basing factions on non-conflicting virtues presents a problem for any individual who is given a basic moral education. As the character Four expresses, why should you be forced to choose between being strong, selfless, intelligent, honest, and kind? Why can’t you pursue all of them? Given that the characters of Divergent do seem to have a typical human moral compass, the faction system cannot work as written. ALLEGIANT SPOILER (mouse-over): Given that Four actually isn’t Divergent, and is in fact “genetically flawed” as are most other people in the world of Divergent , this makes this argument even stronger.  

The nature of in-groups is to emphasize what makes people in your group good and special, while downplaying, minimizing, or shrugging off the strengths of other groups. This is relatively easy to do when the strengths of other groups cannot mutually coexist with your own. (For instance, a plumber can be glad that he isn’t an electrician or a university professor, because you can’t be all of them, and it isn’t expected that you be all of them.) It is practically impossible to do if the strengths of other groups can mutually coexist with yours, and – in fact – if universal morals in your world say that other groups’ strengths are, in fact, things to be emulated. No one in the world of Divergent says that honesty or bravery or kindness or even intelligence are inherently bad. In fact, the characters display a moral code that acknowledges the goodness and the strengths of the different factions. This is a sociological problem. If an individual is ever praised for being honest when he or she is in Abnegation, or ever praised for being brave when he or she is in Erudite, it will undermine the system that is so highly revered.

In short, a virtue-based faction system is not conducive to a stable society, and asking readers to believe that it has worked for hundreds of years is a severe flaw.

The only way it could work, in fact, is if there is no movement between factions. This brings us to our second point. Allowing individuals to choose their own faction is to say that every individual can choose one of five equally good worldviews to follow. However, this conflicts horribly with the entire idea of being raised in a faction that truly believes that its way is right.

Sociologically, individuals are raised by their parents to believe that a certain view of the world is correct and good. We are moral animals, as sociologist Christian Smith states. Every culture has a set of beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong, which form the rules that children internalize. In the world of Divergent , parents have one of two choices: tell their children that they must follow the rules of their faction and obey their faction’s worldview only as one choice among many that is no more good than any of the others until they come of age, or tell their children that their faction is right , that the others are wrong , and then have this view of the world challenged every year in the choosing ceremony. (This ceremony tells children that a test shows them what faction they truly belong in, and that faction may not be the one that their parents are from.)

If a child doesn’t want to obey his or her parents, then, a natural retort would be, “Well, maybe I don’t belong in this faction! Why should I follow your rules if I’m really ____ faction?” Parents in Divergent have no real grounding to answer this question – because their children would be right. If their child is actually meant to be in another faction, why should they be forced to follow the worldview and practices of their parents’ faction until they reach a certain age?

Now, if factions only governed one’s job, and if the society held a common moral grounding or set of common practices, the differences between factions wouldn’t be as large an issue. (This is where one might compare Divergent to Harry Potter and the houses of Hogwarts: all children at Hogwarts know that they’re all students at the same school, that they all take the same classes, follow the same rules, and answer to the same headmaster. They all know that they take the same tests and after they graduate, they will all be members of one wizarding society. This prevents the differences in beliefs and strengths of the houses from getting out of hand – though Rowling does show rivalries and conflicts between the houses that occur, as is believable.) In Divergent , however, there is no going beyond the factions. There is no deeper moral code or religious grounding that applies to everyone. No one is above or beyond the factions; there is no emperor with divine power who everyone obeys, or even a set of common rituals and beliefs that bind people in the society together. Instead, Divergent shows five different cultures, each of which believes that its way is the right way, and yet which allows its members to freely choose a different path if they are so led. It is internally inconsistent, and should not work.

Finally, and culminating from the above points, the existence of a faction system should increase, not decrease, violence in a society. Emphasizing differences between people, rather than similarities, always creates tension and keeps things from running smoothly. Every country, business, organization, and family knows that you have to emphasize what holds you together if you want to maintain peace among people who are different. Creating factions based on personality types and differing virtues is the ideal way to cause a war, not to prevent one. “Separate but equal” has always been a bad idea that leads to prejudice and violence. Integration and appreciation of differences through appreciation of deeper similarities, not segregation based on differences, is the way to keep the peace.

One would think that in the aftermath of war, the leaders of a city would recognize this.

On the other hand, it isn’t surprising that a college aged novelist wouldn’t. Again, Divergent is well-written, emotionally powerful, and speaks truths about psychology, morality, and the nature of man. But if Roth continues to write in new fantasy worlds, I hope she will take some time to learn more about the nature of societies as well as the nature of individuals. It will improve the quality of her work, and add to, rather than distract from, the points she wants to make in the stories she tells.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “ Savvy Saturday – A Sociologist’s Analysis of “Divergent” ”

I’d just like to comment that you explained the society of Divergent really well, so that’s a good sign of your sociological skills!

But, you got to remember that the book is fiction. As well as the book shows the conflict when Erudite trys to take the government over and its factions. Book to acknowledges the fact of human nature and that why there is the Divergent. You also got to remember that there is people that would rather live their life and do with being in consistency and fill out of place if there is any change.

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by Veronica Roth

Divergent essay questions.

In what ways does Tris's identity develop over the course of the novel?

Tris began the novel timid and unsure of herself and her desires, which was characteristic of her Abnegation upbringing: she was never allowed to focus on herself, so she never knew exactly what she wanted. Upon choosing Dauntless her bravery obviously begins to blossom, but she experiences some other changes as well. She forges friendships and relationships central to her identity, with people who bring out the best in her. And she learns that though she has chosen another faction, she can still be selfless; and indeed she is, time and time again. By the end of the novel, she is fully aware of herself as Divergent - someone who does not fit in, but who cannot be controlled. The events of the end of the novel reinforce who she has been - selfless - and who she wants to become - brave. There are many significant experiences to discuss, both good and bad, that shaped Tris as a person throughout her time in Dauntless.

Compare and contrast this rigidly structured society with our own. What are the pros and cons of each? Does one provide a more effective lifestyle than the other?

The distinctions between Tris's society and our own are very apparent; their idea of becoming a good person involves selecting one virtue to cultivate their entire lives, while for us, being good and morally sound involves a mixture of all of their faction virtues and more. Socially, we have much more freedom of choice, but is that freedom always a good thing? Studying any of the five virtues of Tris's world can indeed have positive effects on one's life. It all depends on perspective; either could be seen as the more effective lifestyle, depending on how you look at it, but the faction system certainly makes some significant missteps in trying to control and direct a person's identity and humanity.

Discuss the soundness of a government run only by a single faction. Is Jeanine Matthews truly wrong for calling for greater representation, or is it better to keep administration in the hands of the selfless?

This is certainly a far cry from our system of democracy. While having the innately selfless run the government seems like a respectable idea in theory, in practice it may fall short. Abnegation do not have the same goals in life as Erudite, Candor, Amity, or Dauntless, so therefore it is natural that their administration is called into question. Perhaps a system with equal representation from every faction would be a better strategy; though policy would not consist of extremely selfless acts, sometimes representatives do have to be selfish advocates for their people. And with everyone having a say, there would be much less chance of a rebellion the size of Erudite's. Jeanine wasn't entirely wrong in what she preached, but she certainly went about it the wrong way, and Abnegation wasn't to blame for a system that had been flawed from the start.

What are the benefits of sorting people into social groups the way the factions are sorted? What are the drawbacks?

We tend to subconsciously sort ourselves into groups regardless; we gravitate towards people with similar interests as us, people with similar backgrounds, people who look like us. With a society organized into groups, citizens are always surrounded by like-minded people, and there is a much greater chance of getting along with those who think like you. On the other hand, though, that separation can promote intolerance and prejudice, which is obviously apparent in the novel; all the factions shunned the values of their competitors, promoting a far too separated way of life.

There are only five factions; are there any other human virtues missing from the list? Why would these be necessary in well-rounded citizens?

Valuing only honesty, selflessness, peacefulness, bravery, and intelligence seems like a very small slice of the vast majority of honorable human virtues. Another faction could exist based on loyalty; many of the problems in Tris's world (and our own) are caused by betrayal and distrust. A faction based on diligence could ensure that all its citizens are hardworking and productive. And there could also be a faction based on creativity, which shapes the mind in many ways the other factions do not.

Discuss Tris Prior as our protagonist. Is she a reliable narrator? Does she always tell the truth? Are we constrained by her point of view?

Tris is typically a very straightforward narrator, though perhaps her point of view is often clouded by her own personal prejudices. We do not get a good sense of Peter's character, for instance, because she is always so determined to hate him; perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye. We're certainly constrained by her perspective, only knowing what she knows at any given time. We solve the mysteries of Four, her mother, and the Erudite-Abnegation feud only as soon as she does, because the story is told only from her first person perspective. The limits of this perspective does allow for some mystery and tension, though, as well as the strong impression of Tris as a hero.

What significance do Tris's relationships have in her life?

Various relationships begin to blossom for Tris only after she's left Abnegation. Her family is broken apart, but at a distance she seems to get even closer to her mother, learning more about her past than she ever knew before. In Abnegation, Tris never had true friendships, but in Dauntless she becomes close to Will, Christina, Al, Uriah, and some of the other initiates. Without them, she wouldn't have had the support she needed to get through initiation. And finally, her relationship with Four has changed her in many ways; she's been given someone to open up to, who in turn opens up to her, and for a person with as much to deal with as Tris, this is absolutely essential.

Compare and contrast Peter and Jeanine Matthews as antagonists. Who would be considered the central antagonist?

Both Peter and Jeanine serve as Tris's enemies, but in very different ways. Peter is more present throughout the novel, causing trouble for Tris during initiation, her most immediate concern. But Jeanine is an antagonist on a larger scale; though she doesn't make an actual appearance until late in the novel, we know she's been behind the growing rebellion of the Erudite and the hunt for Divergent. Jeanine's aims and the reach of her grasp lead to something much, much larger than a struggle for ranking during initiation. For this reason, only Jeanine can be considered the central antagonist.

In what ways is the brewing war between Abnegation and Erudite reminiscent of our societal power struggles?

Though the battle at the culmination of the novel is fought with high-tech innovations like simulations, the circumstances that caused it can be easily compared to the power struggles in our own society. It starts with a group of people believing they've been treated unjustly, with an unfairly small amount of say in government, and ends with a bloody battle to determine who stays and who goes. Revolutions and major modern-day wars begin in much the same way. Jeanine Matthews is representative of the persuasive, charismatic, and intelligent leader who is able to convince her people to rally against another group; in this case, Abnegation. Jeanine's method of manipulation through propaganda (false claims about Abnegation) and disrespect for others based on a perceived difference or lack mirrors fascist leaders from history.

Which theme in the novel would you consider the most significant, and why?

Though many major themes in Divergent are prevalent, the one that constantly comes into play is the theme of identity and how one's choices determine self. Tris is constantly making choices that define who she is, starting with the major one on Choosing Day and continuing throughout initiation, ending with her decision not to shoot Tobias in the control room in order to stop the simulation. Her identity develops further with every decision, and eventually she learns that she can truly be brave and selfless at the same time. This theme applies to other characters as well; Caleb, for instance, chose to switch to Erudite in order to stay true to his own identity, but eventually returns to Abnegation because he decides that Erudite's plans were wrong, and he could not be a part of it. Each and every character in the novel makes at least one choice that aids in determining their identity; therefore, this theme is extremely significant.

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Divergent Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Divergent is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Divergent Chapter 12

They are small and fast.

How does tris use verbal irony on page 66

Sorry, my page numbers don't match yours.

What is Tris' hope for the future of Dauntless?

Tris hopes to become a member of Dauntless in order to join a faction in which she can feel that she belongs, prove that she is courageous and capable, and to lead a more exciting life.

Study Guide for Divergent

Divergent study guide contains a biography of Veronica Roth, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Divergent
  • Divergent Summary
  • Character List

Essays for Divergent

Divergent essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Divergent by Veronica Roth.

  • Power and Corruption: A Comparison of Animal Farm and Divergent
  • Tris from 'Divergent' as an Archetypal Hero

Wikipedia Entries for Divergent

  • Introduction
  • Background and setting

divergent book report essay

Divergent: 10 Big Differences Between The Movie And Book

divergent book report essay

The society author Veronica Roth created in Divergent is a complicated one, with five very different ideologies pieced together to create factions of humans who dress together, eat together and don’t really have much in common with outsiders. There is abnegation, a faction of selfless individuals who look to help others and run the government. Erudite is for the smarty pants. Candor is for the honest. Amity, the lighthearted and Dauntless is for the brave and selfish, the protectors of the city. It’s where our heroine, Beatrice, wants to be, but does she really fit in?

Director Neil Burger ’s big screen take on Veronica Roth’s story does diverge in some ways, but often attempts to keep the integral portions of the novel intact, changing details and dialogue to suit its own needs and whims. The biggest changes then, mostly stem from Lionsgate’s need to keep the movie at a PG-13 level when some of the dystopian content from the book is harrowing and ultimately unsettling. Most of the changes work, but fans of the novel might be a bit surprised when they first watch certain scenes play out.

Following are the ten biggest changes I noticed in my screening of Divergent . Feel free to remark on any changes you feel may have been more noticeable. There are many spoilers in the Divergent book to movie comparison. Do not delve in if you want the film to be a surprise.

Dauntless train

No one fails out of Dauntless on the first day. While Burger’s vision still makes it clear that Dauntless is a tough faction, there are no recruits who become factionless. Additionally, there is no recruit who misses the building and plummets to her death.

Peter divergent

Peter is less vicious and adds a tinge of humor to the movie. In the novel, he is a monster, cheating and using violence to ascertain his high ranking in Dauntless. At one point, he even stabs another trainee in the eye to keep his place in the rankings. In the movie, he is still despicable, but he has humor and an attitude that makes him a more complicated villain.

Divergent mother

There is more division between the factions. Assumedly to highlight the fact that the factions live very separate lives, we don’t get to see them interact much. Tris doesn’t spend time at school with other factions and when her mom visits, it is shown as a dangerous, secret act rather than one committed openly and deliberately.

Divergent the pit

There is less fighting in the pits. While the Divergent movie does a good job of explaining how new faction members will live and die by their rankings, we are less clued in to the absolute violence in the pit. Additionally, we don’t get to see what most of Tris’ friends, foes and companions are capable of in the ring.


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Divergent capture the flag

Tris’s projection from near-failure to Dauntless success is streamlined and changed . We only get to see the young woman fight once or twice, and at one point she is even told her tenure in Dauntless is over. Tris manages to magically redeem herself during the capture the flag game when she, not Christina, holds up the flag.

Divergent Al

Al’s betrayal is pretty sudden . In the novel, we know that initially he felt protective of Tris and even had a desire to date her. In the movie, we know Al and Tris hang around with one another, but his involvement with Peter and his cronies comes a little more out of left field.


Speaking of betrayal, Tris’ near-death experience with Al, Peter and the gang is tamed quite a bit. Peter never feels her up, making comments about her body and toying with the possibility of a rape along with the murder. It makes it easier to see Peter and Al as human beings instead of monsters.


Tris’ final simulation is different. Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor’s script helps to explain the danger Tris is in going into her final test to join Dauntless. Just as in the book, Tris gets some help from Four going into the final. However, in the film, the two uncover more practical ways (fire, etc.) to beat the birds and the glass box that capably keep Tris’ divergent behavior hidden.

Divergent jeanine

Erudite Jeanine is present when Tris and Four square off at the end . After beating the new version of her serum, they force the woman to shut down the program controlling the Dauntless. This should give the viewers a little more satisfaction, since moviegoers will get to see the villain fail.

Divergent four

Four shows his father kindness at the end of the movie. It’s a small moment, but instead of Tris showing Marcus disdain, Four helps his father onto the train. This illustrates that even though Marcus and his beatings instilled fear in Four’s mind, he is still willing to show a little abnegation and help his father to survive. The move makes Four seem like even more of a hero.

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways. 

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divergent book report essay

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"Divergent" is all about identity—about searching your soul and determining who you are and how you fit in as you emerge from adolescence to adulthood. So it's all too appropriate that the film version of the wildly popular young adult novel struggles a bit to assert itself as it seeks to appeal to the widest possible audience.

It's the conundrum so many of these types of books face as they become pop-culture juggernauts and film franchises: which elements to keep to please the fervent fans and which to toss in the name of maintaining a lean, speedy narrative? The "Harry Potter" and "Hunger Games" movies—which "Divergent" resembles in myriad ways—were mostly successful in finding that balance.

In bringing the first novel of Veronica Roth's best-selling trilogy to the screen, director Neil Burger (" Limitless ") and screenwriters Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor have included key moments and images but tweaked others to streamline the mythology and move the story along. The results can be thrilling but the film as a whole feels simultaneously overlong and emotionally truncated.

Folks who've read the book will probably be satisfied with the results, while those unfamiliar with the source material may dismiss it as derivative and inferior. (Stop me if you think you've heard this one before: "Divergent" takes place in a rigidly structured, dystopian future where one extraordinary girl will serve either as its destroyer or its savior.) But the performances—namely from stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James and Kate Winslet in a juicy supporting role—always make the movie watchable and often quite engaging.

In the fenced-off remnants of a post-war Chicago 100 years from now, society has been broken down into five factions—groups of people arranged by a primary, defining trait. The Amity are happy, hippie farmers who dress in shades of sorbet. The Candor run the judicial system and value truth about all else. The Erudite are the serious-minded scholars who wear conservative, dark blue. The Abnegation are known for their selflessness and modesty. And the pierced-and-tatted Dauntless are the brave soldiers who protect the city from … who knows what? Whatever the perceived threat is, it requires them to run, scream and practice parkour wherever they go.

Woodley's Beatrice Prior is a member of the Abnegation alongside her brother, Caleb ( Ansel Elgort ), and their parents ( Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn ). They dress in drab colors, eat simply and are only allowed to steal a quick glance in the mirror once every three months when it's time for a haircut. Basically, they're no fun, and Beatrice has a wild streak in her that she's been forced to suppress.  

When she undergoes the aptitude test required of all teens, which determines which faction is the best reflection of one's true nature, her results are inconclusive. She's got pieces of a few different places in her, which makes her what's known as Divergent, which makes her dangerous. Thinking for yourself is a naughty thing in this world, apparently; plus, the angsty inner conflict that rages within Beatrice is something to which the target audience for the book (and the movie) surely can relate.

At the annual Choosing Ceremony, where the teens use their test results to pick the faction they want to join for the rest of their lives—like the last night of sorority rush, mixed with the "Harry Potter" sorting hat—Beatrice dares to choose Dauntless. This means she can never see her family again. (Man, the rules are strict in dystopian futures.) But it also means she gets to train to unleash the bad-ass that's been lurking inside her all along.

Renaming herself Tris, our heroine must learn how to fight, shoot, jump from moving trains, throw knives and control her mind in a series of harrowing simulations, all while competing against a couple dozen other initiates in a demanding ranking system. Eric (a coolly intimidating Jai Courtney ) is the merciless Dauntless leader who's taking the faction—which was founded on the notion of noble courage—in a more militant and vicious direction.

But the hunky trainer who goes by the name Four (James) is the one who will have a greater impact on the woman Tris will become. Quietly and generically brooding at first, James reveals more depth and shading to his conflicted character as the story's stakes increase. He and Woodley have an easy chemistry with each other, but the romance that took its time and smoldered on the page feels a bit rushed on the screen.

Similarly, the supporting figures who had identifiable personalities in the book mostly blend into the background here, including Tris' best friend, Christina ( Zoe Kravitz ). But it is extremely amusing to see Miles Teller , who played Woodley's first love last year in the wonderful " The Spectacular Now ," serve as her enemy here as the conniving fellow initiate Peter. The smart-alecky Teller is also the only actor here who gets to have much fun. With the exception of a few major set pieces—the zip-line ride from the top of the John Hancock Center, for example—"Divergent" is a rather dark and heavy endeavor.

Woodley, though, by virtue of the sheer likability of her presence, keeps you hanging on, keeps you rooting for her. She may not have the blazing, rock-star power of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in " The Hunger Games ," but there's a subtlety and a naturalism to her performance that make her very accessible and appealing. And when she needs to crank it up and kick some butt—as she does in a climactic scene with Winslet as the evil Erudite leader who's hell-bent on eradicating Divergents and maintaining control—she doesn't oversell it.

Plus, there could be worse role models for the eager adolescent audience than a young woman who's thoughtful, giving and strong—all at once. The inevitable sequel will show us what else she's got in her.

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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Film credits.

Divergent movie poster

Divergent (2014)

Rated PG-13

143 minutes

Shailene Woodley as Beatrice Prior / Tris

Theo James as Tobias "Four" Eaton

Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews

Miles Teller as Peter

Jai Courtney as Eric

Zoë Kravitz as Christina

Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior

Ray Stevenson as Marcus Eaton

Maggie Q as Tori

  • Neil Burger
  • Evan Daugherty
  • Vanessa Taylor

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Divergent Book Report

Divergent Book Report

Divergent is a novel by Veronica Roth that takes place in future Chicago. The city is divided into five factions based on personality traits: Abnegation for selflessness, Erudite for intelligence, Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, and Amity for peacefulness. Once a year, all sixteen-year-olds take a personality test to determine which faction they belong to. After receiving their results, they must decide whether to remain with their family or join a new faction.

Beatrice Prior is 16 and was born into an Abnegation family. However, selflessness does not match her personality as it does her brother Caleb’s. During Beatrice’s aptitude test, the results are strange: instead of neatly matching into one faction, she shows equal scores for three factions – Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. This makes her Divergent,” and she is warned never to reveal this information to anyone because it could result in her death. Even for a Divergent, having results that match with three factions is very rare.

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When she is on her way home from the test, Tris runs into a factionless man who grabs her hand and scares her. She starts to feel nervous because she doesn’t want to end up like him and is worried about risking her normal life and failing. On Choosing Day, Beatrice surprises everyone by making the decision to leave Abnegation and join Dauntless, while her brother Caleb chooses Erudite. Tris instantly leaves to join Dauntless and renames herself Tris when she reaches the Dauntless compound so as not to sound like such a “good girl”. She becomes good friends with other transfers, Christina, Al, and Will.

During initiation in Dauntless, Peter immediately starts antagonizing Tris, believing she isn’t good enough to be in the faction. To remain in Dauntless and avoid becoming factionless, they must rank within the top ten at the end of initiation. Initiation is divided into three stages: learning how to handle guns and knives, hand-to-hand combat, and facing fears. Despite being physically weaker than most initiates, Tris finishes sixth overall in stage one. However, Peter is envious of Edward’s first-place finish and seeks revenge by stabbing him in the eye with a knife.

Tris is ranked just after Molly, due to an incident where Peter pulled off Tris’s towel and made fun of her when she first arrived at the dorm. Tris wanted to fight Peter, but instead fought Molly and quickly defeated her. However, Tris’s anger towards Molly for tormenting her caused her to continue fighting until she almost beat Molly to death. Meanwhile, the Erudite faction is causing tension among the factions by spreading false reports about the Abnegation leaders who govern the city.

Peter, Molly, and Drew give Tris a hard time because she came from Abnegation. According to reports, Tris and Caleb’s parents raised them incorrectly by switching factions. Abnegation was known for giving away the city’s food to the factionless. Despite this, Tris begins to make friends with Uriah, Lynn, and Marlene – Dauntless-born initiates. During stage two of their training, initiates are put into simulations that test their ability to calm down quickly when confronted with their worst fears.

Tris is Divergent, which enables her to perceive that she is in a simulation while others cannot. She can also manipulate the system. However, she is cautioned not to disclose her Divergence because faction leaders execute anyone who possesses it. Tris emerges as the top initiate at the end of the stage, surpassing all others.

That night, Peter, Drew, and Al assault Tris and attempt to hurl her into Dauntless headquarters’ abyss. Fortunately, Four intervenes just in time and saves her life. Al implores Tris for forgiveness but she declines his apology causing him to commit suicide by jumping into the chasm.

Tris enters her fear landscape for her final test. She has to face seven fears: getting eaten alive by crows, drowning while trapped in a glass tank, drowning in the ocean, being burned at the stake by Peter, being kidnapped by bad guys, having sex with Tobias thinking that he only wants her because of her body and being forced to shoot her own family. After completing the test successfully, Tris is given a shot of a new serum that tracks people in case they go missing. The final rankings are then posted and Tris is ranked first.

During the celebration, Tris realizes that the serum is how the Erudite will force the Dauntless to attack Abnegation. The plan is executed that night, and all of the Dauntless become mindless soldiers under hypnosis, attacking Abnegation. However, Tris and Tobias remain unaffected due to their Divergent status. They attempt to escape but are eventually caught and brought before Jeanine, the leader of Erudite. She injects Tobias with a new serum that affects Divergents.

During the attack, Tris is sent to her death by someone she trusted. Meanwhile, Tobias is taken back to the control room due to his exceptional computer skills. Tris finds herself trapped in a glass tank similar to the one in her fear landscape. Fortunately, her mother – a former Dauntless who is also Divergent – comes to her rescue. Sadly, Tris’s mother loses her life while helping them escape. Later on, Will attacks Tris under the influence of the simulation and she is forced to kill him in self-defense. In their quest to stop the simulation, Tris reunites with Caleb and Marcus after finding them with a group of others from Dauntless.

Tris finds the control room despite her father being killed along the way. She encounters Tobias who is under the influence of a simulation that causes him to attack her. Although Tris cannot overpower Tobias, she refuses to kill him and surrenders. This action breaks through Four’s simulation, allowing them to shut down the Erudite simulation and free the remaining Dauntless from their mind control.

The group reunites with Caleb and Marcus, as well as Peter who had helped Tris find the control room in exchange for his safety. They all board a train to the Amity sector in search of other Abnegation survivors.

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Convergent thinking refers to the mental processes involved in generating ideas and solutions to problems. In convergent thinking, the learner uses his/her previous learning and experience to effectively deal with a task or to find solutions to a problem (Atherton, 2005). For example, when a manager is asked to design a program that would increase

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Guest Essay

Harvard Should Say Less. Maybe All Schools Should.

An illustration of a graduation cap connected by its tassel to a microphone.

By Noah Feldman and Alison Simmons

Dr. Feldman is a law professor and Dr. Simmons is a professor of philosophy, both at Harvard.

Last fall, Harvard University’s leadership found itself at the center of a highly public, highly charged fight about taking an official institutional position in connection with the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the war in Gaza.

First, critics denounced the school for being too slow to issue a statement on the matter. Then, after a statement was released by Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, and 17 other senior Harvard officials, some critics attacked it for being insufficiently forceful in condemning the Hamas attack, while others criticized it for being insufficiently forceful in condemning Israel’s retaliation.

One of the many sources of confusion at the time was that Harvard, like many other universities, did not have a formal policy on when and whether to issue official statements. In the absence of a policy, Harvard not only had to figure out what to say or not say; it also had to deal with the perception that not issuing a statement, or not issuing one fast enough, would in effect be a statement, too.

Fortunately, Harvard now does have official guidance for a policy on university statements, in the form of a report issued on Tuesday by a faculty working group on which we served together as chairs, and endorsed by the president, provost and deans. The report recommends a policy based on both principle and pragmatism, one that we hope can enable Harvard — and any other school that might consider adopting a similar policy — to flourish in our highly polarized political era.

In brief, the report says that university leaders can and should speak out publicly to promote and protect the core function of the university, which is to create an environment suitable for pursuing truth through research, scholarship and teaching. If, for example, Donald Trump presses forward with his announced plan to take “billions and billions of dollars” from large university endowments to create an “American Academy” — a free, online school that would provide an “alternative” to current institutions — Harvard’s leadership can and should express its objections to this terrible idea.

It makes sense for university leaders to speak out on matters concerning the core function of the institution: That is their area of expertise as presidents, provosts and deans. But they should not, the report says, take official stands on other matters. They should not, for instance, issue statements of solidarity with Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, no matter how morally attractive or even correct that sentiment might be.

In addition, the report says, university leaders should make it clear to the public that when students and faculty members exercise their academic freedom to speak, they aren’t speaking on behalf of the university as a whole. The president doesn’t have to repeat this point with regard to every utterance made by the thousands of members of the university. But the university should clarify repeatedly, for as long as it takes to establish the point, that only its leadership can speak officially on its behalf.

This policy might remind some readers of the Kalven Report , a prominent statement of the value of academic “institutional neutrality” issued in 1967 by a University of Chicago committee chaired by the First Amendment scholar Harry Kalven Jr. But while our policy has some important things in common with the Kalven Report, which insisted that the university remain silently neutral on political and social issues, ours rests on different principles and has some different implications.

The principle behind our policy isn’t neutrality. Rather, our policy commits the university to an important set of values that drive the intellectual pursuit of truth: open inquiry, reasoned debate, divergent viewpoints and expertise. An institution committed to these values isn’t neutral, and shouldn’t be. It has to fight for its values, particularly when they are under attack, as they are now. Speaking publicly is one of the tools a university can use in that fight.

Take the use of affirmative action to achieve diversity in higher education admissions. Harvard argued in defense of this idea in the Supreme Court on several occasions — starting in 1978, when the court’s controlling opinion allowing diversity in admissions relied extensively on a brief that Harvard filed, through 2023, when the court rejected the use of race in diversity-based admissions. Harvard’s advocacy all along was far from neutral and would arguably have violated the Kalven principles. On our principles, however, Harvard was justified in speaking out forcefully in support of the method it long used to admit students, because admissions is a core function of the university.

We recognize that some observers, on both the left and the right, may interpret the timing of our report as an attempt to support some point of view they don’t like. That said, our recommended policy is designed not as a response to immediate events but as a response to the changed reality in which the university operates: a world of social media and polarized politics. Both put intense pressure on universities. Both cry out for a policy where before, none was demanded.

On social media, it can sometimes appear that anyone with a claim to Harvard affiliation speaks for the institution, even as we in the university know otherwise. We’re not naïve enough to think that just announcing a policy will change what the internet thinks. It will take repetition, emphasis and consistency to make the policy widely understood.

In an age of polarized politics, we also need a policy that will spare university leaders from having to spend all their time deciding which global and national events deserve statements and which statements from the university community merit official repudiation. On many, maybe most, important issues, no official statement made by the university could satisfy the many different constituencies on campus.

In formulating its recommendation, our faculty working group struggled with some challenges that don’t have great solutions. For example, we didn’t address, much less solve, the hard problem of when the university should or shouldn’t divest its endowment funds from a given portfolio. The Kalven Report claimed that a decision to divest is a statement in itself and so the university shouldn’t do it. In contrast, we saw divestment as an action rather than a statement the university makes. We therefore treated it as outside our mandate, even though symbolic meaning can be attached to it, just as it can to other actions (including investing in the first place). Our report encourages the university to explain its actions and decisions on investment and divestment — much as Harvard’s President Larry Bacow did in 2021 when the university decided to reduce its investments in fossil fuels, and much as President Derek Bok did when the university didn’t divest from South Africa in the 1980s — but that’s all.

Our committee members represented a wide range of academic specialties and points of view. We disagreed, and still disagree, about a lot. At a university, that’s both normal and highly desirable. Ultimately, a university is a community unified by a commitment to trying to get it right, not by a single answer to what is right in every case. Where we converged was on the belief that the university must protect and defend its critically important role and that it undermines its core function if it speaks officially on matters outside it.

Noah Feldman ( @NoahRFeldman ) is a law professor and Alison Simmons is a professor of philosophy, both at Harvard.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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  1. Divergent Summary

    Divergent Summary. In a futuristic, dystopian Chicago, society is organized into five factions. Each faction places value solely on a specific virtue, which its members work to cultivate throughout their lives. There is Abnegation, which values selflessness, Amity, which values peace, Erudite, which values knowledge, Candor, which values ...

  2. Divergent Themes and Analysis

    Style, Tone and Figurative Language. In Veronica Roth's 'Divergent,' the writing style, tone, and use of figurative language are pivotal in creating an atmosphere of tension, intrigue, and exploration within the dystopian narrative. Roth's writing style exhibits a descriptive quality that vividly creates a dystopian world in the minds ...

  3. Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

    Title: Divergent Author: Veronica Roth Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Teen) Publication Date: May 2011 Paperback: 487 Pages In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave ...

  4. Summary and Reflection on Divergent by Veronica Roth

    Published: Mar 18, 2021. Divergent is a book that its main topic is the division of people in certain spaces depending on the virtue people had to develop in that space. Not only division it's like the main topic at all, but there are also a lot of other characteristics that could explain in a word the topic of the book, the envy is another ...

  5. Divergent: Free Summary Essay Sample

    "Divergent" by Veronica Roth Essay Sample, Example published October 3, 2013 - updated September 14, 2023 . by Admin. 2 min read. 0 comments. Divergent is the first book of a trilogy written by Veronica Roth, an American writer. It tells the story of a post-apocalyptic dystopia; the plot unfolds in post-war Chicago, where all of the people ...

  6. Divergent Study Guide

    In the world of Divergent, society has been divided into five subgroups, or factions. Each faction espouses a dominant character trait. For example, Candor is the faction of truthfulness or honesty, and Amity is the faction of kindness or friendliness. The term divergent refers to people who do not fit into a single faction of society but ...

  7. Divergent Essay Topics

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "Divergent" by Veronica Roth. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

  8. Divergent

    Publication Date: February 11, 2014. Genres: Dystopian, Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult 14+. Paperback: 576 pages. Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books. ISBN-10: 0062289853. ISBN-13: 9780062289858. Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior faces the biggest decision of her life when she must choose which of the five factions to join that make up their society.

  9. A Literary Analysis of Divergent, a Book by Veronica Roth

    In the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, Beatrice "Tris" Prior has to go on an intriguing adventure to find herself. She is torn between finding herself through who she is, and who everyone else wants her to be. ... The example essays in Kibin's library were written by real students for real classes. To protect the anonymity of contributors ...

  10. Savvy Saturday

    The top movie in theaters this week was the film Divergent, based on the book of the same name by Veronica Roth.I can understand why this movie (and book trilogy) has made the headlines. Well-written, with deep, realistic characters, a thoughtful portrayal of loss, grief, sacrifice, and courage, and gripping action (told in the first person present tense to keep readers on the edge of their ...

  11. Divergent Essay Questions

    Divergent Essay Questions. 1. In what ways does Tris's identity develop over the course of the novel? Tris began the novel timid and unsure of herself and her desires, which was characteristic of her Abnegation upbringing: she was never allowed to focus on herself, so she never knew exactly what she wanted.

  12. Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

    Divergent is the fast-paced, action-packed story of 16-year-old Tris, who comes from one of the five factions in a dystopian Chicago. She must choose one of the factions--Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness), or Erudite (intelligence)--to live in and serve for the remainder of her life.

  13. Divergent: 10 Big Differences Between The Movie And Book

    Director Neil Burger 's big screen take on Veronica Roth's story does diverge in some ways, but often attempts to keep the integral portions of the novel intact, changing details and dialogue ...

  14. Divergent book report

    Divergent Book Report Divergent is a novel by Veronica Roth. This story happens in Chicago in the future. The city is separated into 5 factions based on personality traits. The factions are Abnegation (selflessness), Erudite (intelligence), Candor (Honesty), Dauntless (bravery), and Amity (peaceful). One day every year, all sixteen-year-olds ...

  15. Divergent movie review & film summary (2014)

    Vanessa Taylor. "Divergent" is all about identity—about searching your soul and determining who you are and how you fit in as you emerge from adolescence to adulthood. So it's all too appropriate that the film version of the wildly popular young adult novel struggles a bit to assert itself as it seeks to appeal to the widest possible audience.

  16. ⇉Divergent Book Report Essay Example

    Divergent Book Report. Divergent is a novel by Veronica Roth that takes place in future Chicago. The city is divided into five factions based on personality traits: Abnegation for selflessness, Erudite for intelligence, Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, and Amity for peacefulness. Once a year, all sixteen-year-olds take a personality ...

  17. Opinion

    Harvard Should Say Less. Maybe All Schools Should. Dr. Feldman is a law professor and Dr. Simmons is a professor of philosophy, both at Harvard. Last fall, Harvard University's leadership found ...