Literature: Divergent

"One choice can transform you."
"One choice can destroy you."
"One choice will define you."

Divergent is a Young Adult dystopian thriller trilogy (2011-2013) written by Veronica Roth, who was a mere 23 years old at the time of the first book's release.

In a dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a different personality trait:

  • Candor values honesty, plain-speaking, and impartiality. Members are extremely social, tactless and see everything in black and white terms. They wear black and white. Most of Candors work in law and civil administration.
  • Abnegation values selflessness and self-effacement. Members are sombre, reserved, trained to place themselves at the services of others at every possible opportunity, and bear any abuse from others with good grace. They wear gray. The leaders of the city are chosen exclusively from within Abnegation as they are widely considered to be incorruptible.
  • Dauntless values courage and fearlessness, Members are trained in combat and to suppress fear. They wear black. Most Dauntless work as police or as soldiers protecting the city walls.
  • Amity values peace and cooperation. Members are much more laid-back than the other factions. They wear bright colors, normally yellow and red. Most Amitys work in farming, and they use a notably different political structure than the rest of the city, as well as being located largely outside the walls.
  • Erudite values intelligence and knowledge. Members are rigorously educated in science and elocution, and the faction's emphasis on reading is almost fetishistic. They wear blue. Most Erudites work in science and to maintain the city's technological infrastructure.

Every year, sixteen-year olds must select a faction to be a member of for the rest of their life, lest they become factionless.

Beatrice grew up in Abnegation, unable to think of herself. But when she takes an aptitude test to decide what faction she fits in the most, her result is that she is a Divergent, qualifying for more than one faction. Therefore, she rejects her heritage and joins Dauntless, renaming herself Tris. As she takes the highly competitive initiation test, the conflict that threatens to rip apart the society gradually unravels before her.

The second book in the trilogy, Insurgent, was released on May 1, 2012. The third and final installment, Allegiant was released October 22, 2013.

There are also a series of four ebooks that show Four's story from his point of view: The Transfer (Sept 3, 2013), The Initiate (Dec 17, 2013), The Son (Jan 21, 2014), and The Traitor (Feb 11, 2014).

The movie adaptation of the first book was released on March 21, 2014, it stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer and Maggie Q.


  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Becoming factionless, who live in poverty and are ostracized, is considered this by most of the characters. Subverted in Insurgent, when Tris gets to interact with them.
  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: Seems to be pretty heavily implied as the norm, given that Natalie and Andrew were together before they entered Abnegation together, and that the Bureau requires that all persons entering the experiment promise to have a minimum number of children to ensure the survival of their "corrected genes."
  • Abusive Parent: Tobias's worst fear is his own father who used to beat him as a child. Which is why he transferred.
  • Action Girl: Tris and any other female Dauntless initiate. Or else.
  • Action Mom: Tris's mother.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the book, Eric is described as having a frightening and repugnant appearance. In the film, he certainly still has an intimidating presence, but is actually pretty good looking.
    • In the novel Tris is described as average looking, with a long nose. In the movie she is played by the gorgeous Shailene Woodley.
  • After the End
    • Sort of. Allegiant reveals The United States still exists, but is a shadow of its former self. Half of the population is dead. The mid west has been used for experiments and its implied that the west coast is either uninhabited or possibly isolated. (Its not clear as the fringe groups don't go there because the terrain is too rough to traverse.)
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Fernando in Insurgent, who seems to be ruled by logic more than the average Erudite.
  • Ambition Is Evil: The viewpoint held by Abnegation. This puts them at odds with Erudite.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Bureau, responsible for the constructed, faction-based community in Chicago for at least eight generations.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Asshole Victim: Anytime something bad happens to Peter.
  • Atrocious Alias: Molly nicknames herself "The Tank."
  • Ax-Crazy: Most of the Dauntless characters at the end, though they were under mind control.
    • Except for Peter, who was awake during the simulation because the Erudite figured he was homicidal and wouldn't mind killing a few hundred people while awake.
  • Battle Couple: Tobias and Tris.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tris's mother shows up to save her from being executed.
    • In Insurgent: Tobias leads a counter attack just as Tris is rebelling against her captors.
    • Somewhat subverted in Insurgent when Tris tries to save Jeanine from Tori.
  • Big Brother Is Watching
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tris manages to stop the mind control device and rescues her boyfriend. Unfortunately, many members of Abnegation and Dauntless have been needlessly killed, both of Tris's parents (as well as Will) are dead, she has little chance of befriending Christina again, and Jeanine is still out there.
    • And Insurgent Tris and Tobias have reconciled and they got the information, but Evelyn has staged her coup and Tris, Cara and Christine are seen as traitors
    • And then we have Allegiant: Tobias negotiates a peaceful resolution between Evelyn and the Allegiant, Chicago rebuilds, and the Bureau are all mindwiped to no longer distinguish between GP and GDs but Tris dies
  • Blatant Lies: Peter, who is from Candor, claims he is not murderous.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Inverted. Allegiant reveals that the Chicago walled community was an experiment to restore humanity back to normal after years of selective breeding caused what they considered to be "damaged genes" in humans, making them prone to certain vices and violence.
  • Brutal Honesty: The Candor faction is all about this.
  • Bury Your Gays: Lynn comes out of the closet after being fatally wounded. In Allegiant, played with in the case of Amar, who admits to having had a crush on Tobias. Needless to say, Amar isn't nearly as dead as those in Dauntless believed him to be.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor, poor Al.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The first movie has Tris getting Jeanine to shut down the mind control program with a shot of her own serum.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Tobias mentions early on that he is good with computers. Not surprisingly he uses this in the end.
  • Cliffhanger: Insurgent ends with an epic one, with the revelation that Chicago was walled off as part of an experiment to restore humanity to a war-torn world, and that once there are enough Divergent people among them then they should open the gates and reenter the wider world.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Tris quickly learns that people are more willing to share information after they've been shot.
    • Also used by the Erudite on Tobias. Doesn't work until they force him to watch Tris undergo the torture instead
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jeanine, the representative of the Erudite faction, uses her power and intelligence to create the mind-control revolt against the Abnegation-controlled government.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tris, at the end of the book.
    Tobias: "I might love you. I'm waiting until I'm sure to tell you, though."
    Tris: "That's sensible of you. We should find some paper so you can make a list or a chart or something."
  • Death by Childbirth: Tobias' mother died giving birth to his younger sibling years before the series began. Not really.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Tris at first refuses to forgive Al, but she realizes she should have after he kills himself.
  • Disapproving Look: Beatrice mentions her brother has one that she's memorized.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Peter does whatever he can to get rid of potential rivals in the initiate ranking, from stabbing Edward in the eye to trying to throw Tris into the chasm.
    • Also Molly, who feeds lies about Tris's father to Erudite because Tris beat her in a fight and ranked higher than her.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: As a result of shooting Will, Tris develops a gun-phobia.
  • Driven to Suicide: Al. Peter tricked him into helping in a plot to throw Tris into the chasm. His guilt over the attempt and the fact that he's failing drive him to do this.
  • Dystopia
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Peter may be a sociopathic attempted murderer but he will not leave a debt unpaid, which is why he ends up saving Tris's life.
  • Evil Genius: Jeanine. She has the highest tested IQ in all of the Erudite faction, and she's not a nice person.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The Bureau, or at least how they ended up. Which is ironic, considering they exist to correct the genetic manipulation done by a previous group of Evilutionary Biologists.
  • The Evils of Free Will: There are shades of this in Abnegation. Basically, any part of free will that serves the self is prohibited.
    • Many see this as the problem with Divergent in general: people who are Divergent don't necessarily conform to the thought patterns of their respective factions and therefore can't be trusted.
  • Expy: Humans trying to perfect humanity through genetic engineering, the new humans being incredibly cruel and vicious, and a massive war starting over these genetically modified humans in which populations are decimated? It's practically what the Eugenics Wars would have been like if the Augments didn't get political power.
  • Eye Scream: Edward is on the receiving end of one via a butter knife because he ended up first on the initiate ranking. Peter does not like being in second place.
  • Face Your Fears: A major component of Dauntless initiation.
  • Fantastic Faction System
  • Faking the Dead: George and Amar, done by The Bureau to protect them and bring them to the outside world.
  • Final Solution: This is how Erudite attempt to get rid of the Abnegation in the first book. They fail.
  • Genki Girl: Marlene.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: After getting into a fight with Peter in Amity, Tris is given a drug intended to calm and relax her. Because of her slight build, it has a stronger effect, temporarily blissing her out.
    • Also, the entire Amity compound's food supply (specifically the bread) is infused with small amounts of it.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Nobody's motives are purely evil or purely good. Candor tends to view everything in terms of Black and White Morality, but Tris realizes that this is not the case.
  • Heroic Sacrifice/The Hero Dies: At the end of Allegiant Tris gives her life to stop the "reset" of Chicago by Laser-Guided Amnesia so that Caleb doesn't have to do it.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: The aptitude test. Tris mentions that students don't even know what the test entails, and Tori informs Tris that she cannot tell her what's going to happen during it.
  • Hope Spot: In Allegiant just when it looks like Tris is going to shrug off the death serum and survive, David fatally shoots her. She still manages to get her Heroic Sacrifice off, though.
  • Hufflepuff House: From all of the factions, Amity gets the least mentioned in Divergent. None of the transfer to Dauntless are from it (one tried, but chickened out of the initiation almost immediately), and only one named character is a member of it. They have a slightly more important role in Insurgent.
    • Candor also has a minor role in Divergent, although they also get elevated in Insurgent.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Said word-for-word when Tris confronts Tobias while he's under the effects of a mind-controlling serum.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The name of every book ends in 'gent'.
  • Insufferable Genius: Erudite in general, and their leader, Jeanine.
  • I Owe You My Life: Why someone very unexpected saves Tris' life. He claims to only think in term of debts, and couldn't conceive of doing anything for someone unless it was to get them to owe you a favour.
  • Important Hair Cut: Tris in Insurgent
  • Jerk Ass: Peter, Molly, and Drew.
    • Special mention goes to Peter. He goes out of his way to make Tris's life miserable, from throwing petty insults to outright sexually assaulting her and trying to kill her.
    • Molly's no pushover either. To get back at Tris for wounding her pride, she feeds lies to the Erudite about Tris's father and Abnegation.
    • With his extreme teaching methods and betrayal Eric is this.
    • Jeanine.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lots of characters.
  • Knife Nut: In Insurgent, Tris can't bring herself to use a gun, but has no problems using a knife.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The serum associated with the Abnegation can erase memories.
  • Living Lie Detector: Some people from the Candor faction. Tris is worried that Christina, who transferred from Candor, will be able to tell that Tris killed Will, Christina's boyfriend.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted with Tobias.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the first book, Tobias is mindcontrolled into attacking Tris. She thinks that her "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight is failing, and prepares herself to die.
    Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
    I don't know. I don't know.
    Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
    I want to be.
    I can.
    I believe it.
  • Mind-Control Device: The "tracking" chips placed in every Dauntless member controls them and ultimately leads to the Dauntless members, aside from Divergents, being controlled into attacking Abnegation.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tris reacts this way after Al commits suicide as a result of her refusing to forgive him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Part of the Dauntless initiate training. Peter utterly serves Tris in one fight, but Tris delivers total ownage to Molly in another.
  • No Sympathy: Many fans felt that Tris was rather cruelly dismissive at Al when he tried to repent for participating in her attempted murder, out of peer pressure and desperation.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Beatrice as "Tris" and Tobias as "Four".
  • Please Wake Up: Tris in the movie to her mother mere moments after she dies. It's just one piece of her heartbreaking reaction.
  • The Power of Love: Tobias, under Jeanine's mind-control, becomes horribly close to shooting Tris, but the sound of Tris's voice makes him snap out of it.
  • The Outside World: In the book and film, Tris finds the world beyond Abnegation to be completely different from her previous life of selflessness. Further and farther, the Outside world of Chicago offers a crumbling cityscape.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Both of Tris's parents.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Dauntless are implied to be this. The Erudite use them to fight their physical battles in a war, even agreeing being put under mind control so they could do what they do best: killing!
  • Reckless Sidekick: Christina to Tris.
  • Red Shirt: In Insurgent: Fernando.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Tori becomes so obsessed with avenging her brother, she ignores Tris's pleads to spare Jeanine and kills her. Even after her revenge is complete, she brands Tris (a girl who she's interacted friendly with in the past) a war criminal, instead of hearing her out.
  • Sherlock Scan: While nowhere near the almost superhuman level that this trope is often used, Tris is much more perceptive than average.
  • Shoot the Dog: Tris has no choice but to shoot Will, who, under mind control, was trying to kill her.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Intentionally invoked by the intellectual Erudite. Purely Aesthetic Glasses are part of their "uniform."
  • The Sociopath: Peter, Eric, and Jeanine all have shades of this, but we see the most of Peter.
  • The Spartan Way: Dauntless initiate training. From fights to knife-throwing to fear simulations, it's not pleasant.
  • The Spock: What the Erudite aim for, especially Jeanine.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Peter, Molly and Drew.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Edward. In Divergent, he seems like a skilled fighter but otherwise average kid. When she runs into him again in Insurgent, he's noticeably darker - to the point that Myra has left him.
  • Trauma Conga Line: From the ending of the first book onwards, almost every character crosses this.
  • Truth Serums: Candor has them. In Insurgent, Candor uses truth serum for interrogations.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The extremely negative reaction to Allegiant has led to some speculation that its predecessors were written with the intent of being one book and Roth, who admits she didn't know where the story was going when she began writing, didn't have the time and/or talent to work out a better final installment.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Tris is a small teenage girl. Far too often, she's assumed to be a non-threat - even when she's pointing a gun at them.
  • Villainous Valor: Jeanine: (with a knife to her throat as Tris tries to make her shut off the mind-control program) I admire that you're willing to die for what you believe. So am I.
  • Virtual Reality Interrogation: Jeanine tries this in Insurgent.
  • Waif-Fu: Tris.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tris's dad calls her out for shooting Peter in the arm. Though she points out that, despite being Dauntless, he is cowardly and borderline psychopathic and lives depended on it. She knows he will give in quickly once he is in pain.
    • In Insurgent, Tobias calls out Tris multiple times of being suicidal.
    • In return, Tris calls out Tobias for being a hypocrite. he tells her that she's strong enough to take her scolding, but still tries to "protect" her. He insists she be open and honest with him, while still insisting on the right to keep his own secrets. He says he trusts her perceptiveness, but refuses to listen to her warnings about people repeatedly. Thankfully, the both of them get better. Eventually.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Four"?: Subverted. His real name is actually Tobias. He's called Four because he only has four fears.
  • Worthy Opponent: In Insurgent, Tris might be the enemy, but the Dauntless will still honor her for walking to her execution.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Tris loses control and beats Molly bloody during their fight during testing, Eric congratulates her. She decides that she doesn't want to be congratulated for something like that by someone like him.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The second round of testing consists of this.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Tris shoots both Peter and Eric, but they doubt she'd do it since she's a Stiff. Both end in some non-fatal injury.
    • During the events of Insurgent, Tris injures Eric again, this time with a knife. If this goes on any longer it's going to enter into Running Gag territory.