Last time, Tobias decides to have Tris come with him. Today, Tris comes with him.
“What happened to protecting her?”
“I changed my mind,” I say.
Tris laughs, harshly. “That’s what you told him, that he would be protecting me? That’s a pretty skillful manipulation.
Love triangles make everyone terrible.
It isn’t even one anyway, because as Tobias thought earlier when telling her, she is really not someone who needs let alone wants protection.
Tobias continues to prove me right and obsess about the truth and is she telling the truth or not truth truth truth.
They go enjoy the horror slideshow.
narrow, pinched children with huge eyes, ditches full of bodies, huge mounds of burning papers.
As you may or may not recall, American history actually has plenty of starving children and genocides in it, but the burning and the “war” connection mean this is WW2, or “That Time We Weren’t To Blame, Whoo!”
“How do you hide a war?” I say.
For fuck’s sake, Tobias, you literally did not know the rest of the world even existed until a couple days ago.
Tris, apparently because she decided to always take the antagonist position regardless of which side she’s on, now argues brilliantly that:
“So they’re lying about your—our history. That doesn’t mean they’re the enemy, it just means they’re a group of grossly misinformed people trying to . . . better the world. In an ill-advised way.”
If they’re lying, then they’re not the misinformed ones. What is it with you and English this book, Tris? And if they’re doing something ill-advisedly, then by the very meaning of that word, they are doing harm and need to be stopped. I don’t know why Nita has to explain this, but she does, and for some reason what she does is say that Jeanine got the simulation from the scientists outside, because obviously why would the smart people be able to accomplish anything themselves. Apparently, Abnegation was supposed to sit on the truth longer, because ??? What exactly did they expect to happen? They don’t tell Abnegation what percentage need to be divergent, and Abnegation can see that the divergent are getting funneled into the most vulnerable population – incidentally, wow, they only started feeding the factionless because tests said they were divergent and not because starving Grandma to death is actually wrong – so of course Abnegation would see it as the test having run its course. If the “divergent” are the most moral and they’re systematically kept out of society, they’ve not doing you any good there.
“That can’t be true,” I say. “Jeanine told me that the highest proportion of Divergent—the genetically pure—in any faction was in Abnegation. You just said the Bureau values the genetically pure enough to send someone in to save them; why would they help Jeanine kill them?”
“Jeanine was wrong,” Tris says distantly. “Evelyn said so. The highest proportion of Divergent was among the factionless, not Abnegation.”
Except Jeanine was going to kill ALL the factionless and leave MOST Abnegation alive, including all their kids, so actually that just makes it make less sense.
But don’t worry, there’s proof! They have orange liquid here, and that’s the same color as the one Tris saw them inject all the Dauntless, and it’s not like it could be any colored liquid or in fact last book a crucial plot point involved the fact the colors are just extra dye for convenience and you can change them any time you want.
Tris tries desperately to cling to sanity, but then they scan it and the computer tells her it’s the attack serum, because you can’t possibly program a computer to say that. Incidentally, Nita says anyone with the password could use the equipment, but the impure don’t get the passwords, which is the only interesting and reasonable way of doing it. Keeping your oppressed uneducated and lacking in ways to fact-check things themselves is indeed a good idea.
“Now why would the Bureau have this unless they had developed it?” Nita says. “They were the ones who put the serums into the experiments, but they usually left the serums alone, let the city residents develop them further. If Jeanine was the one who developed it, they wouldn’t have stolen it from her. If it’s here, it’s because they made it.”
Or because when the city residents make a really good one, they have interest in getting a copy for their files. They would absolutely know how to make it given the cameras everywhere.
you’ve seen what’s happened now that the city knows the truth: Evelyn is effectively a dictator, the factionless are squashing the faction members, and I’m sure the factions will rise up against them sooner or later. Many people will die. Telling the truth risks the safety of the experiment, no question,” Nita says.
What? Yes questions!
1) Evilyn and her evil attempt to make people stop starving the largest group to death for no reason took power before the information was revealed. The information hurts her position rather than helps by validating the faction system as right and necessary. She spent her takeover trying to prevent it from getting out for this exact reason. How does this solve the problem of Evilyn taking over?
2) Even assuming that Jeanine’s takeover worked, the factionless would’ve fought back out of self-defense OR mass fled the city. They have to know that if they’re empowering her to prevent Evilyn from taking over. How does this change anything about place devolving into a series of civil wars?
3) Even if somehow they assume Jeanine will neutralize Evilyn with minimal casualties because they couldn’t put together a baking soda volcano experiment without burning both hands off, the faction system that was keeping things running is crippled, and the specific faction that was taking divergents is gone entirely, meaning almost all divergents will end up factionless, and even at the level of denial that refuses to accept that Jeanine is just going to kill everyone that happens to, they’ll be back to starving to death. How does this do anything to preserve the divergent?
Anyway, supposedly the point of all this is that it shows the scientists don’t care about the lives of their experimental fodder. That would’ve been good.
Okay, here’s how it happened.
They didn’t want Abnegation telling the truth, especially because they’d already set up a system for funneling divergent out and from their point of view, the place was more like a divergent farm, they wanted it to keep running as long as possible. Meanwhile, they knew that there was stress between Erudite and Abnegation that could erupt into violence, and also that Erudite was getting aggressive toward the even more precious factionless. So they gave Jeanine the serum under the impression this would be the nonviolent solution – it’d be killing everyone’s minds, but their gametes would be fine. Jeanine then uses it on the Dauntless instead to get the army to massacre half of Abnegation, then plans to completely wipe out the factionless on principle, which they didn’t expect. This also somewhat explains her villain monologue to Tris, it’s really for the benefit of the cameras as a good fuck you to the people who thought they could call the shots. That’s why it has all the signs of something she’s been holding in for a while despite Tris not being her longtime opponent.
“The government has been threatening to shut down the experiments for almost a year now,” Nita says.
Okay, but these have been doing on for at least what was it, seven – nine generations I forget the exact number and who cares, point is, many, many years. We’re looking at two centuries for the Chicago one, and the Chicago one doesn’t seem like it’s the first because they went on to try to put the faction system in the others afterward.
Yet now we’re hearing that for less than a year, the government’s been complaining and this is a big deal?
Anyway, the director handles the experiments inevitably imploding by mass memory wiping people. Come to think of it, maybe this already happened and that’s why actual history there seemed to be only three generations. Nita explains to them that erasing people is immoral and that’s an example of why the pure/impure thing is harming people.
The brilliant plan this time is to destroy the memory serum. Tobias tells us that wow, that sure is a pathetic rebellion, but hopefully Nita’s lying and she plans to mindwipe the scientists. I’m sure it’ll prove she’s really evil or whatever, but it’s the much better plan.
Nita also claims that specifically she means getting rid of all of the stuff, which would actually be a pretty good thing to try but they’d just ship in some crates from another stockpile and start making more. If there was some coordinated effort across these places to destroy it all at once that could work.
Tobias agrees, feeling even a weak blow is better than none.
“I can’t believe you,” she said. “She’s lying. Why can’t you see that?”
“Because it’s not there,” I say. “I can tell when someone’s lying just as well as you can. And in this situation, I think your judgment might be clouded by something else. Something like jealousy.”
Hey, remember last time you said that, and it blew up in your face?
Anyway, Tris insists that the plan is something else, so good for you, Nita, do interesting things.
Tobias rants at her that he brought her to be a judge of character, and Tris is all holy shit you’re bitching at me again about this when you dismissed me last time in the exact same way when I was right, and Tobias being a fucking moron argues that
“Were you right about running into dangerous situations without weapons?
Yes. She was suicidal, so she knew full well what she was getting into, and she actually did do her best to arm herself around the gun phobia she couldn’t control.
Were you right about lying to me
YES! Because you were doing this exact thing to her where you completely ignore what she’s saying and insist all the decisions be yours!
Tris, sadly, is made to agree that all the stuff he throws in her face that is pretty much Tobias’ fault anyway is true, but that it doesn’t change that she’s still right about the snap judgement. Also, that he is doing the exact same thing of glomming onto a new ideology because he’s upset.
“I can’t believe you have so little faith in me that you would tell me not to trust myself.”
Yes, how dare Tris use the way you’re fucking up in exactly the same way as last time against you.
I’m pretty sure Nita is indeed evil, because she’s part of a revolutionary group, but I’m not sure if it’s going to end with Tris still being somehow wrong because she didn’t think that for the right reasons but because jealousy.
Next chapter we’re back to Tris. Thank god. The book still sucks, but Tris is the marginally better narrator than her knockoff counterpart.
Tris is still trying to process the fact she’s in the organization that got her parents killed and viewed her whole society as disposable.
She meets her brother, who tells her about how their mom said that everyone has some evil inside them, and the first step to loving anyone is to recognize the same evil in ourselves, so we’re able to forgive them.” which is one of the many platitudes that I’m not sure are actually any use. I mean, it can be good to see that in a different circumstance, you might have done the same thing, and use that to moderate judgements, but on the other hand, some actions are worse than others and blanket forgiveness isn’t the solution to everything.
Also for fuck’s sake Caleb you weren’t even sorry about having your sister tortured and then killed.
I think it’s the author having written herself into yet another corner. This book is practically fractal. She wanted the big betrayal scene, so that happened last book, but she wouldn’t kill Caleb because she doesn’t kill anyone important, and she had to drag him along because she will not let characters go, so now she had to deal with the fact she wrote Caleb as pure evil.
She goes with “but Jeanine was super persuasive” to bridge the gap, which really only works for the first betrayal, which if you’re keeping track was all the way back at their parents being murdered, and doesn’t fit with his glee at her suffering anyway.
Maybe it’s all meant to be Caleb just bullshitting her because he’s Erudite and they’re evil. She punches him for this, and that at least I find no fault with. She then goes berserk and begins smashing him into the stature while screaming she’ll kill him.
One of the guards comes toward me, and all she has to do is put her hand on my arm and the spell is broken. I release Caleb’s shirt.
This is interesting! I doesn’t think it was intended to be, BUT.
Again going with the oppression thing, think about different ways police respond to violence. Tris is a divergent (a super divergent, even, so maybe her genes are extra pure!) who’s also everyone’s hero. The guard comes over to try to calm her down, not protect Caleb, and seems to have no personal fear of Tris turning on her. She’s treated gently.
If Caleb had snapped because he’d sacrificed Tris because otherwise Jeanine was going to kill everyone else because she couldn’t be sure the serum would work and assaulted Tris for refusing to listen when he kept explaining or saying he was lying and never cared about anyone, how many guards would be kicking hom to death right now?
Because love triangle, she then goes to hang with Matthew.
we were developing a way to make the memory compound behave as a virus,” he says.
Oh my god we are actually Wither now. There’s even a “vaccination” for the thing that’s supposedly “behaving as” a virus, as in not literally one. Also it replicates and spreads through the air, because virus. Do you know what else can spread through the air? Air. Just gas them and move on with your lives dammit.
We learn that Matthew is Nita’s informant and that the real plan is to steal the death serum which is wrong because defending yourself against people who can kill you with impunity must be done nonviolently
“I was helping Nita until she told me what she and those fringe people wanted to do,”
Give it to the right people and you have an explosion of anarchy and violence, which is exactly what those fringe people want.”
“I was okay when she was doing what I wanted, but when she joined up with a group of fellow oppressed people and started trying to actually solve their own problems, I realized they’re all violent thugs who just want endless war, just like history says!
Incidentally, I should point out this is a he said/she said situation. She has no reason to believe this guy is any more trustworthy.
I don’t know what’s right or wrong. I don’t know anything about this country or the way it works or what it needs to change. But I do know that a bunch of death serum in the hands of Nita and some people from the fringe is no better than a bunch of death serum in the Weapons Lab of the Bureau.
And that’s why rebellions are always wrong. If the people you’re killing start trying to kill you back, they’re the terrible ones!
She heads out and sees Uriah standing somewhere and then there’s an explosion which hits Uriah possibly killing him because only tertiary characters are ever at risk. She and Matthew rush to the weapons lab, where we get the SHOCKING ENDING LINE that Nita is there. Wow. Shocking.