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Literature / Divergent

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"Every time I think about the word "Divergent", I hear Tori's warning—and now my mother's warning too. Don't tell anyone. Dangerous."

Divergent is a trilogy of young adult dystopian thriller novels written by Veronica Roth.

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 the 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.
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  • 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 from 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 "Tris" Prior 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 namesake first book in the trilogy was released on April 26, 2011. The second book, Insurgent, was released on May 1, 2012. The third and final book, 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), with these stories being collected in the book Four: A Divergent Collection, released on July 8th, 2014. A short story called We Can Be Mended was also released in 2017 and served as an epilogue to the series.

A series of film adaptations of the books was also released from 2014 to 2016, although it was ultimately left unfinished. It stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoë Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Naomi Watts, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer and Maggie Q. The first book's adaptation was released on March 21, 2014. The second book's adaptation, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, was released on March 20, 2015. The third book was divided into two films — the first part, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, was released on March 18, 2016; the second part, Ascendant, was slated for a 2017 release, but Allegiant's disappointing commercial and critical response threw it into Development Hell, eventually leading to it being cancelled.

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    Tropes applying to the books 
  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: Seems to be pretty heavily implied as the norm in Allegiant, 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".
  • After the End: The series is implied to be after a major war. Subverted with Allegiant where its revealed that while there was a war, society is still somewhat intact with the US Government still existing but as a shadow of its former self. Though half the US population is dead, many of the Metro areas are filled with crime and fantastic racism. It's also revealed that Chicago is a closed off experiment, one of a few in the Midwest. It’s also implied that the west coast is either uninhabited or possibly isolated. (It’s not clear as the fringe groups don't go there because the terrain is too rough to traverse).
  • Badass Creed: The Dauntless manifesto from the extra materials.
    We believe that peace is hard-won,
    that sometimes it is necessary to fight for peace.
    But more than that:
    We believe that justice is more important than peace.
    We believe in freedom from fear, in denying fear the power to influence our decisions.
    We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.
    We believe in acknowledging fear and the extent to which it rules us.
    We believe in facing that fear no matter what the cost to our comfort, our happiness, or even our sanity.
    We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.
    We believe, not just in bold words but in bold deeds to match them.
    We believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and inaction because
    We believe in action.
    We do not believe in living comfortable lives.
    We do not believe that silence is useful.
    We do not believe in good manners.
    We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands.
    We do not believe that learning to master violence encourages unnecessary violence.
    We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by.
    We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.
  • Babies Ever After: In We Can Be Mended, Zeke and Shauna are expecting a child. Tobias and Christina fight over who get to name it, but no one end up getting the right.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: A noticeable trend throughout the series, all the good guys are described as pretty or beautiful. Averted with Peter, who is a complete jerk, but is repeatedly described as being good-looking.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In Divergent, 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In Divergent, 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 when being held at gunpoint by Tris in Divergent. He had previously claimed that he was only trying to scare her by throwing her down the chasm and molesting her.
  • Blue Is Calm: The Erudite faction is associated with the colour blue and each member must wear at least one article of blue clothing per day, as it is a "calming color that helps stimulate the brain".
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Divergent, Eric injects a serum containing transmitters into the Dauntless members that allows him and Jeanine to control the Dauntless, intending to use them to wipe out Abnegation.
  • 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 holds the virtue of honesty, as they believe deception is what caused the wars that ruined the world. Candor never hold back their opinion, and most don't bother to sugarcoat their words.
  • Butt-Monkey: Drew is basically a walking punching bag. Peter beats him up during the first stage of initiation, he's put in worse shape by Four when he helps Peter dangle Tris over the Chasm. He fails initiation and becomes factionless and is later beaten up by Edward.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: Of the "no one knows" variety, something has caused Chicago to isolate itself from the rest of the world, turning the society into the five virtue-based factions in the story.
  • City in a Bottle: The people of Chicago, having resided there for eight generations believe that Chicago is the last remaining bastion of humanity, and that what lies beyond the outer gates is desolate wasteland. Averted in Allegiant, when it's revealed that not only is Chicago not the only bastion, the US government still exists, albeit as a Fallen States of America. Half of the US population is dead, but other peoples still exist in other cities, some of which were also formerly used for experiments to produce more GP population. In fact, Tris' mother, Natalie was a refugee from one of those cities: Milwaukee.
  • 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 both Tris and Tobias in Insurgent, in a bid to gather information on the factionless safehouses. Doesn't work until they force Tobias to watch Tris undergo the torture instead via a dose of fear serum.
  • Color-Coded Castes: It's very easy to tell who belongs to what faction based on their attire:
    • Candor typically dresses in black and white, reflecting their mindset.
    • Abnegation dresses in grey, rag-like clothing, reflecting their humility and putting others before themselves.
    • Amity dresses in bright colors, usually yellows and reds, reflecting their laid-back, free-spirited nature.
    • Dauntless members can usually be spotted sporting black combat uniforms.
    • Erudite dresses in blue formal attire befitting their intellectual nature.
    • As expected, the Factionless subvert this trope; they dress in whatever they can get their hands on, and it's exactly this lack of uniformity that makes them so easy to tell apart from those in a Faction.
  • Commonality Connection: In Allegiant, Christina and Uriah become very close because both of them lost someone important to them.
  • Crapsack World: A war caused by a disastrous attempt to correct human genes that went wrong claimed half of the US population and turned most of the environment into rough, uninhabitable wasteland. The entire human race is now sorted according to whether they are genetically pure or damaged, and being sorted into the latter is...not nice. This predictably resulted in violence that erupted in the metropolitan areas, which are practically the only places where people live. The United States is now a shadow of itself, agreeing to a plan by a certain Bureau which necessitated entire cities to be transformed into giant experimental bottles with the intention to produce more pure people. That goal is not noble by itself, but then the Bureau isolated them for eight generations and counting, which resulted in the people inside forgetingt why they live there and actually flipped the racism upside down, so that now the genetically pure (or as they call, Divergents) are persecuted, ensuring that the experiment will go on for a while.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The faction system is hyped up as the reason that the Chicago society can prosper in a world where everywhere else is practically uninhabitable wasteland and everyone considers it as the right thing to uphold. The first thing signifying that there is a major problem is the existence of the factionless, people who are not accepted in any faction and thus have to live as subhumans, yet everyone accepts it as natural, even the protagonist Tris. Then Tris receives the results of her Aptitude Test which shows that she does not fit in any faction because she is a Divergent, a status which will earn her certain death should the superiors find out about it. This "prosperous" world slowly goes downhill from that point, eventually ending up straight into the Crapsack World territory by the events of Allegiant.
  • Creepy Crows: As Tris goes into a simulation designed to emulate her fears she is attacked by a large number of crows. These turn out to be representative of something else as Four points out that she isn't really afraid of crows.
  • 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.
  • Dystopia: The city of Chicago has split into five factions based on the virtue they believe needs to held up to stop society falling into ruin again. Everyone who turns sixteen must take a test to see which faction they best fit into, and those who fail the initiation or refuse to join become homeless. Anyone who is considered Divergent is hunted down for threatening the system.
  • Easily Forgiven: Tris's parents forgive her for going into the Dauntless regime, especially when her father has to go into hiding with the Abnegation.
  • The Evils of Free Will:
    • In this dystopia, teens are forced to take an aptitude test that matches them with a "faction": Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, or Erudite. The faction they choose, however, is where they end up for the rest of their lives. If they choose no faction, then they become factionless and are forced to be homeless. Also, if their test results do not match with any particular faction, then they are seen as Divergent, meaning they don’t necessarily conform to the thought patterns of their respective factions and therefore can't be trusted.
    • There are shades of this in Abnegation. Basically, any part of free will that serves the self is prohibited.
    • This is also in Amity, due to "happiness serum" being put in bread and given to everyone without them noticing. Anyone who acts negatively will be taken to a room and given some directly.
  • 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.
  • False Utopia: Meta-Example, Veronica Roth has stated that she only realized after she had started writing that Divergent was her own personal utopia, and then later realized that her "utopia" was a horrible place to live.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Invoked and lampshaded. When war breaks out, the Amity sector is not given real guns, but stun guns that can just take people down.
  • 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.
  • Foil:
    • Eric and Four. The former preaches all-out combat with no mercy rules, while the latter preaches fair fights with protective rules.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Tris in Divergent takes a while to forgive Christina and Will for not protecting her when Peter, Drew and Al kidnapped her, molested her, and tried to throw her down a chasm. By the time she does, she realizes that she can't trust anyone in the Divergent army except for Four.
  • Friendship-Straining Competition: Despite Tris making friends with Al during training in Divergent, her skill in training made her a threat, and he was at the bottom of the list. The need to rise in the ranks led him to join Peter in attempting to murder her, along with kidnapping and molesting her. When he tried to apologize, she furiously refused to accept it. His guilt for hurting her over the competition led him to commit suicide, and led her to question if her refusal to forgive him was right.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: In Insurgent, we learn that one of the reasons members of the Amity faction stay so calm and happy is regular doses of a calming drug. After getting into a fight with Peter in Amity, Tris is given the drug, but 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.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • It's revealed that Jeanine Matthews, the Big Bad of the first two books, obtained the serums used for execution and mind controlling Dauntless members from the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, the mastermind behind the experiment in Chicago and several other metropolitan cities for more than eight generations.
    • It's also revealed that the experiment was done to produce genetically pure children from the genetically damaged, who were the subjects of an earlier experiment to "correct" human genes of their "imperfections". So, ultimately, whoever had the insane idea to do the "correction" in the first place is this.
  • Grouped for Your Convenience: Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue. When the factions were formed, however, each gained a negative and a positive trait. The factions are: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity, and Candor. On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives after taking an aptitude test.
  • Heroic BSoD: In Allegiant, after Tobias finds out that Tris is dead, all he can do is stand still and say nothing.
  • 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.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: We Can Be Mended details how Tobias and Christina move on from their sorrows of losing Tris and Will, respectively, and end up becoming a couple. It's also mentioned that Cara and Matthew hooked up and are planning to marry.
  • 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.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The names of the first two books end in 'gent'. Subverted by the last book which ends in 'giant', but is pronounced the same way.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Said word-for-word in Divergent when Tris confronts Tobias while he's under the effects of a mind-controlling serum.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die:
    • After Tris shoots a brainwashed Will to defend herself in Divergent, she angsts about his death for the rest of the series after it happens, and never fully forgives herself.
    • Uriah slips into a coma, brain damaged beyond hope after being caught in the rebellion attack in Allegiant. Four blames himself, since he participated in the attack, and like Tris with Will he never really lets go of his guilt.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Subverted in Divergent, Tris's fellow initiates pass around a silver flask with something strong right before Al's funeral. She refuses to partake in it.
  • I Owe You My Life: Why Peter saves Tris' life in Insurgent. 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.
  • Irony: Jeanine is convinced that Divergents threaten society. As it turns out, Divergents were the point of this particular society's creation in the first place.
  • Jerkass:
    • 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. To get back at Tris for wounding her pride, she feeds lies to the Erudite about Tris's father and Abnegation.
    • Drew is constantly backing up Peter and even helps in his plan to throw Tris into The Chasm
  • Kangaroo Court: In the film version of Allegiant, the defendants' guilt isn't the issue (the truth serum reveals that) but the judges are blatantly biased against them and show no mercy. All of them are shot immediately. This is why Tris decides to break Caleb out and flee the city.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The serum associated with the Abnegation can erase memories.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Peter in Divergent receives a whopping heapful of it. After spending most of the book bullying others, sabotaging or attempting to murder anyone who does better than him in the trials, he ends up injured courtesy of Tris, begging for his life and forced to assist in undoing the brainwashing simulation knowing that everyone can see him for what he really is.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Dauntless army in Divergent when Tobias breaks the brainwashing on them, stopping them in the middle of an Abnegation massacre. To say that are angry, horrified, and traumatized is an understatement, and they quickly turn on each other.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    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.
  • Meaningful Rename: This is significant as characters changed their names to abandon their old faction identity:
    • The main character Beatrice becomes known as Tris instead of Beatrice. While this is a nickname, it's meaningful because it is significant in the character adopting a Dauntless rather than Abnegation identity.
    • Four decided to call himself Four because he only has four fears in the fear landscape. His original name was Tobias, but as he was abused by his father that's also one reason he wanted to abandon that identity. The prequel novella shows that the nickname was given to him by his Dauntless mentor - and that his using it is a mark of accepting kindness from someone else.
  • Military Coup: In Insurgent, Evelyn ensures that the Factionless are armed and leads an insurrection, becoming the de facto new leader of the Chicago walled community.
  • 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.
  • Motive Decay: Discussed. The Factions were founded with good intentions, to uphold just virtues and lead society to a better place than what had lead everyone to war. But over time, the Factions began to corrupt what they originally stood for.
    • Four discusses how the Dauntless used to value teamwork and brotherhood as parts of bravery. In recent times, it is competition and ferocity that most of the Dauntless leadership respect and teach their initiates.
    • Will, who was born Erudite but transferred to Dauntless, tells Tris how the Erudite used to seek knowledge for the sake of bettering humanity. Now they seek knowledge for personal ambition and power.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Tris reacts this way in Divergent after Al commits suicide as a result of her refusing to forgive him, though she eventually learns to live with the fact that she's not a forgiving person, and no one blames her given Al assisted in an attempt on her life and molestation.
    • The Dauntless army as a whole reacts this way along with Mass "Oh, Crap!" when Tobias ends the simulation brainwashing them as a mindless army, forcing them to remember the senseless murder they've just committed.
  • Neck Lift: When Four interrupts Peter, Drew, and Al's attack on Tris Peter lifts Tris over The Chasm like this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Tris and Four - Beatrice and Tobias are their real names, respectively.
    • Nita from Allegiant. Her full name is Juanita.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: In Divergent it is implied that the Abnegation faction (a faction of society that lives much like the Amish) is the only section of society that still believes in God. However, Insurgent shows that the Amity Faction practices some sort of naturalistic religion.
  • The Outside World: Three times throughout the series, from the perspective of Tris:
    • In Divergent, she learns that the world does not function in the same selfless and slow way like that of her Abnegation home when she decides on Choosing Day to transfer to Dauntless, which is anything but slow.
    • In Insurgent, she learns about how the other factions other than Abnegation and Dauntless function when she is forced to go on the run and has to take refuge in Amity and Candor, and then finally takes a step in the insurgency against Erudite.
    • Finally, in Allegiant, she learns that Chicago is not the entire world; there's much, much more beyond that. She also learns why the mindset of the Chicago population is engineered to think that they are isolated from the outside world: they're being used in an experimental project sanctioned by the US government.
  • Parting Words Regret: The last thing that Tris says to Al is that if he comes near her again, she'll kill him. He commits suicide the evening after, and Tris wonders if she was too hard on him.
  • The Power of Love: In Divergent, 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.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: Comes up in Divergent, where the Dauntless faction is mind-controlled into attacking Abnegation. The Divergent are resistant to this; Tris and Four blend in while another Divergent, not knowing what is going on, is shot dead.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Four gives a brutal but effective one to Peter when the latter complains about the unfairness of the fear trials, saying that of course it's unfair given Peter tried to murder Tris the night before and everyone knows that Peter is a coward.
  • Rejected Apology: Al is bawling when he attempts to apologize to Tris for assisting in an attempt on her life, after she ranked first. She says that if he ever comes near her again, she'll kill him.
  • Second Love: We Can Be Mended reveals that Tobias and Christina eventually become this to each other, following the deaths of Tris and Will.
  • Science Is Bad: In the first two books of the series, most of the bad guys come from the Erudite faction, the faction for scientists and knowledge-seekers. Many of the Erudite characters that we see are villainous even Caleb turns out to be a traitor. Most of the bad things that happen in Divergent and Insurgent (e.g. the Abnegation Genocide) are a result of the devious scheming of the Erudite leadership, and it's implied they have a hand in corrupting members from other factions to their cause. Even the author admits her book's anti-intellectual slant, though she has rightly pointed out that her portrayal of the Erudite became more nuanced, and even positive as the series went on.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Present within the factions:
    • Erudite represent Greed in their search for knowledge and their eventual seizing of power.
    • Dauntless represent Lust in the form of adrenaline. They're reckless and will do anything for a high.
    • Candor represent Wrath in the form of Brutal Honesty - telling the truth without regard for anyone's feelings.
    • Amity represent Sloth as they try to stay neutral during the conflict, despite innocent people dying all around them.
    • Abnegation represent Pride as they try to live without sin, which is itself a form of pride. Marcus Eaton in particular is very concerned with his public image.
    • Factionless represent Envy as they resent being forced to live on the streets.
    • The Bureau represent Gluttony as the Faction system causes a huge waste of human life in their experiment to find 'Pure' beings.
  • Shameful Strip: In Divergent, after showering, Tris is trying to get dressed, but notices that she's beginning to develop muscles she never had before, and her clothes no longer fit. So she walks back to the dormitory from the showers wearing a Modesty Towel but crosses path with her bullies along the way, Peter, Molly, and Drew, who immediately begin taunting her. Peter manages to snag away her towel, leaving her naked and humiliated and she's forced to go streaking the rest of the way while they laugh at her.
  • Shoot the Dog: In Divergent, 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."
  • Tears of Remorse: In Divergent, after Al almost kills Tris, she next sees him bawling his eyes out with regret.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Will, Christina and Tris treat Al this way after he assists Peter and Drew in attempting to kill Tris. They become more ambivalent after Al kills himself but never speak of it again.
  • Truth Serums: The serum associated with the Candor faction is, of course, truth serum, used for trials, interrogations, and Candor initiation.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: A lot of readers feel the trilogy is one of these; the difference being that it's the third book, Allegiant, that seems to feel out of sync with the other two, to its discredit — alternating between two narrators where the first two books were told entirely in Tris's voice, (Tobias actually concludes the narrative after Tris' death) sacrificing the narrative energy of the first two books for a lot of exposition which shouldn't really be necessary at that point.
  • Urban Segregation: Chicago is split up in five factions and five corresponding living areas - with the slums left for the Factionless.
  • Vigilante Execution: In Insurgent, the Candor Court decided to spare Eric’s life, but Dauntless decides, on its own, to kill him for his crimes, and the execution is performed by them. So technically, may count as a subversion, since Eric was a Dauntless.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Divergent:
      • Subverted when Al commits suicide following Tris's Rejected Apology. Four doesn't call Tris out for that, since her anger is reasonable given the circumstances, though he does ask if her anger at Al is useful after his death but for sticking out like a sore thumb and risking trouble.
      • 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.
  • 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.

    Tropes applying to the films
"The factions system is a living being composed of cells; all of you. And the only way it can survive and thrive is for each of you to claim your rightful place. The future belongs to those who know where they belong."
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: In Insurgent, Evelyn doesn't look remotely old enough to be Four's mother. Naomi Watts is sixteen years older than Theo James, so their parental relationship in the movie is biologically possible, but the makeup and lighting departments did a damn good job at making her look as old as him, tops. Evelyn does at least say she was "very young" when she ran away.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The films actually cut out a chunk of information from the novels to focus more on others.
    • Tris' friendship with other Dauntless members not named Christina, Will, and Al are sacrificed so the films could focus more on her budding romance with Four. It is also why when Uriah meets Tris in the Candor headquarters in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, he has to introduce himself first (in the novels he is one of her best friends since the first book).
    • The insurgency against Erudite at the end of Insurgent had the entire Dauntless faction (plus a few from other factions) actually collaborate in the plot, whilst in The Divergent Series: Insurgent this is simplified so that only Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter, and Jeanine figure much.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Thanks to the plans to split Allegiant into two films, its first part, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, allows for many chances at this.
    • An additional subplot concerns the "rescue" (actually more like putting more people into the Bureau) of a village's worth of people. It serves as the first indication to Four that David is not what he seems.
    • A meeting with the council members at the city of Providence finally causes Tris to discover David's true intentions. She does not learn about his alignment until very far into the novel.
    • The whole plot about the memory serum is moved to much earlier in the timeline. Because Nita's rebellion is adapted out, Four immediately goes to Chicago following the aforementioned village's rescue, and Tris gets to visit Chicago again (in the novel, she spends her entire time in the Bureau). The battle between the Allegiant and the factionless is thus expanded, not to mention furthering Evelyn's role (she's essentially relegated to the background until Four's visit in the novel, which happens much, much later). David also has a very direct role in the battle. Due to the second part of the film adaptation, The Divergent Series: Ascendant, ultimately getting cancelled, how it was going to fill the rest of the book's events remains unclear, seeing that the only major event from the novel left uncovered was Tris' death.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • In the novel, Tris is described as average looking, with a long nose. In the film, she is played by the gorgeous Shailene Woodley.
    • In the novel, 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.
    • A more general example is Chicago itself. In the book, it is far bleaker and grimmer. The filmmakers claimed they wanted to play up the Crapsaccharine World trope - initially showing Chicago as a "communal utopia" before slowly revealing all the corruption underneath.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Jeanine appears more often in the film version of Divergent than the book, where she is only mentioned most of the time.
    • David being revealed as the true Big Bad is a major shocking reveal in Allegiant and is kept secret until near the end; with most of the first part of the book focusing on Nita's rebellion. However halfway through The Divergent Series: Allegiant, David's true persona is already unmasked and he spends the rest of the film as the main villain.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Molly is much less antagonistic in the film than she is in the novel. She's still portrayed as a tough fighter, but otherwise lacks the openly sadistic and cruel streak of her book counterpart, and even compliments Tris for standing up to Eric during the knife-throwing.
    • Nita in The Divergent Series: Allegiant does not try to rebel against the Bureau for mistreating the genetically-damaged like she does in Allegiant. While she does assist Tris and co. against the Bureau's orders, it's because she (and everybody else in the Bureau) knows that David is up to no good, not because of a personal vendetta that Tris is sympathetic with.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Many of Tris' friends and fellow initiates from the books do not make it in to the films so that more focus could be put on her romance with Four. This includes Uriah, Lynn, Marlene, Lynn's sister Shauna, Uriah's brother Zeke, and Will's sister Cara. The Divergent Series: Insurgent features them in a much more reduced role, with Lynn only coming up just once to remind the others that the recently deceased Marlene did have a name.

      The exclusion of Cara is particularly significant, since in Allegiant, she is one of the leaders of the titular Allegiant, participates together with Tris' group to get to the fringes of Chicago, and also gets the task of informing Four at the end about Tris' death.
    • Tori's brother, George, and Four's mentor, Amar, do not appear in The Divergent Series: Allegiant. However, since they figure little if at all in the book (other than serving some tear-jerking moments as Tori was killed just moments before, rendering her entire goal to take revenge a "Shaggy Dog" Story), it does not greatly impact the plot.
  • Age-Gap Romance: The films technically have this trope between Four and Tris. In the first book, Tris has recently turned 16 and Four is 18, averting this trope. However, in the movie Four looks much older than Tris. The characters' ages aren't specified in the movie though according to Tris' actor Shailene Woodley, Tris is still supposed to be around 16 while Four was aged up to 24 or 25 to accommodate Theo James' casting, as he was 28 during filming and looked it; Woodley was 22 but could pass for a teenager. Going by Woodley's statement, Four is around eight to nine years older than Tris. The age gap isn't commented upon, although their romance develops whilst the more experienced Four mentors Tris as a Dauntless initiate. It's worth noting that in the setting, people come of age and are allowed to choose the Faction they want want to join permanently at 16, so in-universe they're likely viewed as two adults in a relationship despite them being nearly a decade apart.
  • And Starring:
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Four guesses that Tris is a Divergent.
    Tris: Neither am I [going to pass the final test].
    Four: Why do you say that?
    Tris: You know why. And as soon as the others find out, they're gonna kill me.
    Four: I am not going to let that happen.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In Insurgent, Tori, one of Tris' friends, kills Jeanine near the end of the novel to avenge her brother. In its film adaptation, it's instead Evelyn who does the job, likely to foreshadow the fact that she is much crueller than she appears to be.
  • Big "NO!": Jeanine is a master of this. She says big nos when Tris stops the simulation on Dauntless in Divergent and when Tris apparently dies during the attempt to open the simulation box in The Divergent Series: Insurgent.
    • David utters a big one when Tris manages to prevent the memory serum from being completely released in Chicago in The Divergent Series: Allegiant.
  • Blue and Orange Contrast:
    • In Divergent the orange is dominant during the fear simulations, with blue in the background. This is reversed at the test, where blue is dominant and orange is in the background.
    • In The Divergent Series: Insurgent Jeanine's control room is made up of various shades of blue. The controls on the screen are orange.
    • The Divergent Series: Allegiant does a similar thing where the screens of many of the machines are blue, and the text appears in orange.
  • Bookends: Insurgent begins with Jeanine taking power over and addressing the city with her will and it ends with her watching the loss of her power while imprisoned and then goes straight to the credits the instant she's executed by Evelyn.
  • Canon Foreigner: A new character, Edgar, replaces the role that Edward (the Dauntless guy who is forced to go factionless in Divergent) would take in The Divergent Series: Insurgent and beyond. Unlike Edward, though, Edgar survives all the way to the end of The Divergent Series: Allegiant (he's actually the one who kills Tori), while Edward dies just a few pages into Allegiant.
  • Divided for Adaptation: The novel Allegiant was split into two films, Allegiant and Ascendant.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • Tris's hair is used as a clock to symbolise her character development. In Divergent, when she is part of Abnegation, it's tied up in a modest bun. When she joins Dauntless, it's kept in a ponytail. It only comes down whenever she's at her most vulnerable (usually when she's alone with Four). In The Divergent Series: Insurgent she cuts it drastically short, showing how she's haunted by what's happened to her. She forgives herself for everything at the end of the film, so it has grown longer by The Divergent Series: Allegiant to reflect this.
    • Jeanine wears her hair down in Divergent when she's merely a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. When she takes control in The Divergent Series: Insurgent she now wears her hair up.
    • Natalie's hair was in a bun like Tris's at the start of Divergent. When she pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment in the climax to rescue Tris her hair is now down.
  • Foreshadowing: In the early scenes of The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Tris is told that to be a member of Amity means forgiving others and yourself. At the end of the film, she passes the Amity simulation by declaring that even if no one else forgives her for what she's done, she can still forgive herself.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In Divergent, when Tris shoots Peter to get information, Marcus asks "did you have to shoot him?" - which is very hypocritical coming from the abusive father.
    • In The Divergent Series: Insurgent, this is highlighted with Evelyn too. She claims that she fled Marcus because he was cruel and abusive, getting a very cold look from Tris because she still abandoned her son.
  • In Name Only: The third film adaptation, The Divergent Series: Allegiant uses some elements and characters from the book it's based on, Allegiant, as groundwork, but it otherwise has very different direction to the story it takes. Namely, it skips a whole arc from the novel (Nita's rebellion), reveals David as the villain much earlier, modifies some backgrounds (Natalie didn't just come from the fringes; she's from another city entirely, an experimental one like Chicago to boot), and even makes up some elements that just weren't there in the novel (the City of Providence). It also has Evelyn and Johanna reconcile, Marcus having his memories erased, and the whole city knowing about the outside world before Tris is able to perform her Heroic Sacrifice like she does in the novel. Essentially, it's a loose adaptation of Allegiant with a decidedly happy ending.
  • Ironic Echo: The film has Jeanine explain to Tris why Divergents must be eliminated. During this explanation, she says "I must admit, there is a certain beauty to your resistance." After using Jeanine's own brainwashing drug to force Jeanine to shut down her scheme, Tris returns the line to her.
  • Kangaroo Court: In Allegiant, the defendants' guilt isn't the issue (the truth serum reveals that) but the judges are blatantly biased against them and show no mercy. All of them are shot immediately. This is why Tris decides to break Caleb out and flee the city.
  • Meaningful Echo: In The Divergent Series: Allegiant, "it's/that's what you do for your family". Tris initially says this as her reason for rescuing Caleb from the prison, though she says it so coldly, you might think she wants to punch him if she doesn't restrain herself. Later in the film, after Caleb helps point Tris to cancel the memory serum, he returns this response to her as his reason for helping her, in a warmer tone and without any hatred.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: Insurgent uses a moodier cover of Louis Armstrong's happy "What a Wonderful World" ironically, as much destruction goes on in the trailer as it plays.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • Peter gets shot in the leg by Tris to shut him down and force him to help her stop the simulation serum. He doesn't bleed and turns up perfectly fine by the end of the rebellion with no indication of a limp at all.
    • Similarly, in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Evelyn gets shot by Peter, again in the leg, so she can't intervene in the release of the memory serum. Barring some limp, she can function normally afterward, and by the ending, can walk unattended.
  • Pet the Dog: Molly gets a moment like this in the first film, congratulating Tris on standing up to Eric.
  • Please Wake Up: Tris in Divergent to her mother mere moments after she dies. It's just one piece of her heart-breaking reaction. She briefly tries this with Tori in The Divergent Series: Allegiant but she has to flee soon afterwards.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: The Amity simulation in The Divergent Series: Insurgent is Tris fighting a double of herself.
  • Remember the New Guy?: A few characters who were in the first book but got left out of the film - such as Uriah and Marlene, appear in The Divergent Series: Insurgent along with the rest of the Dauntless. As the first film mainly focused on Tris and her three friends, we can assume they were there but we just didn't see them. Uriah's name does appear on the scoreboard in the first film.
  • Running Gag: In the first movie we have this gem:
    Person: You're not gonna shoot me.
    Tris shoots him
    • The last time it happens she even adds an exasperated "Why do people keep saying that?".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Said word to word, sentence to sentence by one of Evelyn's Mooks, when he realizes that it's futile to go against Tris and Christina's drones in The Divergent Series: Allegiant. He gets gunned down by Christina for his trouble.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Tris starts wearing white in The Divergent Series: Allegiant when she works closely with David. After discovering that he's the villain, she switches back to her old gear.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the first book, many Dauntless initiates miss the jump from the train and fall presumably to their deaths (or at least are left factionless). In the film, everyone makes the jump.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Marcus Eaton in The Divergent Series: Allegiant is shown in prison with his head now shaved, implying Evelyn had that done to him as soon as she took control.
  • Vague Age: The book states that the initiates take their test when they're sixteen, and Four and Eric's generation are eighteen. They are played by late twenties actors, so their ages are left deliberately vague as a result.
  • Villainous Valor: Said by Jeanine to Tris.
    "I admire that you're willing to die for what you believe. So am I."

Alternative Title(s): Allegiant, Insurgent, The Divergent Series Ascendant