Allegiant Ch7-8

Last time, Evilyn Evilyn Evilyn.

“Sometimes I get where Evelyn’s coming from. So many awful things have happened, sometimes it feels like a good idea to stay here and just . . . try to clean up this mess before we get ourselves involved in another.” She smiles a little. “But of course, I’m not going to do that,” she adds. “I’m not even sure why. Curiosity, I guess.”

And this is what’s worst about the entire Evilyn business.

Here’s what they know:

They were lied to about what their society really is.
With the intent of creating saviours for the people outside.
Who were apparently evil psychos.
Also, their intended-savior society just exploded into an orgy of violence.

There are several utterly reasonable positions to take from this.

First, there’s staying on the basis of fuck those people. You don’t know them, you don’t owe them anything. In this case, you have no opinion on others leaving, except possibly if you need workers and there remains every sign that they have way more warm bodies than they need.

Second, there’s staying on the basis of the outsiders being evil psychos. They either are inherently evil psychos, in which case they’re dangerous, or they were steadily becoming more evil which prompted the desperate attempt to try to fix it by separating a group completely to try again, in which case they’re dangerous and possibly infectious – there was some reason they thought complete mindwipes were necessary for the community to work, after all. You absolutely do not want anyone leaving. At best, it risks reminding the evil psychos you’re here so they can murder you, at worst, it does that and also the contact with evil will push your own people toward the evil downward spiral even if they don’t just wipe you off the map.

Third, there’s staying on the basis the experiment was a failure – they clearly aren’t the moral paragons their founders wanted. Maybe they’re less evil than the outsiders, but even then, they don’t seem good enough to actually warrant evangelizing about anything. And who knows, maybe the outsiders found a way to be moral on their own. You don’t really want anyone leaving – if they try to bring a message of change that isn’t any good, it’s going to compromise any future attempts at doing so later, when you might actually have the solution, or it might end up reintroducing bad things into a society that’s improved. Also, the possibility that you’ll get end up with the worst elements of both fusing together and creating a worse outside culture than before.

Evelyn has a good connection to all three. Her own part in their experiment is marked with different kinds of suffering, and she sure has no reason to think the city’s morals are good enough to export either. And if she’s taking over, she’s going to be particularly concerned about any plans that have a good chance to wipe it out. Two and three easily justify her banning everyone from leaving, and she may be (justifiably) spiteful enough to be pleased things turned out that way on the basis of reason one even though she wouldn’t have done it for that reason alone.

But there’s also reasons to leave, and again, utterly reasonable.

Fourth, there’s leaving on the basis that they’re better and have to teach these people to be better. The idea factions are superior is ingrained into their society, and underlying that may well be the idea they’re just inherently better than anyone else (could even be a leftover, deliberate or not, from the founders meaning for them to be inherently better). Tris claims that prior to this, there was officially no crime, and while evidence strongly supports the idea that there totally was it was just covered up, the average person should be able to look at the reel of horrors and say they’re better than that, even with the recent atrocities. And it doesn’t hurt that technically, the atrocities were done by the “stay” side, meaning it’s easy to no-true-scotsman them away. The number of divergents who masterminded the murder/enslavement of huge chunks of the population remains at zero, and it’s only the divergents the tape was concerned about. Note that this one would likely encourage to demand that a good chunk of the city stay, since they aren’t divergent.

Fifth, there’s leaving on the basis they’re evil psychos and we have to kill them for our own safety. They have the element of surprise for now, but who knows how fast the divergent were predicted to emerge? If they wait, they risk the evil psychos who didn’t join the founding and know about this place popping by to see how it’s doing, and then possibly killing them all if they don’t like the answer or just because they’re evil psychos. Like Two, this one still has leaving be initially banned, just with a quicker transition to venturing out while heavily armed.

Sixth, there’s leaving on the basis maybe they’re actually better. The experiment here may have been a failure with nothing to offer, but maybe in that time the original society fixed itself and can help them improve. I mean, they just killed about half their population fighting over finding out about the fact they were supposed to leave. There’s a very worrying chance they’ll just kill themselves off at this rate, and the fact half the factions couldn’t even figure out a response to the violence isn’t encouraging.

Four and Six are compatible here – people could easily get along because they’ll find out which it is once they get out there. Afterward, I can easily see the group splitting down the middle as some people see the outsiders as in need of enlightenment while others think the outsiders are superior and their beliefs should be brought back to replace the current system, but for getting out the gates in the first place, no issue. Five, like Two, though, would have extremely strong opposition to anyone getting out originally.

There’s also a seventh option – just wanting to see what’s out there, like Christina says.

This argument taking place in the book would be great. Five and Two are incredibly dangerous because they believe letting anyone out to alert the outsiders could mean the destruction of everyone else, which is a pretty good justification for just shooting anyone who so much as thinks about it. If that’s too high stakes, they could be scaled back playing on how naive the people here likely are about how outsiders might function and assume that it’s probably suicide to head out unarmed, but plenty of them are willing to let idiots try it if they want provided they swear not to lead any outsiders back. Meanwhile you’ll have friction between the people who think they should go educate the outsiders vs people who think their society is a disaster that no one should emulate and they should learn from the outsiders, and debates about if the faction system even matters now or if it was a construct to generate divergent (the fact the divergent are most clustered in the factionless sure seems like the factions are meant to be a transitional stage) while others argue the faction system created the divergent and gave them their generations of complete peace and happiness and has to continue.

“Have you talked to your parents about it?”
Sometimes I forget that Christina isn’t like me, with no family loyalty to tie her to one place anymore. She has a mother and a little sister, both former Candor.

Terrible writing. She’s asking a question based on the fact Christina has a family, therefore she says she forgets about it?

But anyway Christina’s family sure isn’t tying her to a place because they’re totally fine with this to allow the plot to proceed smoothly.

Anyway, the gang is there to stare at the horizon and wonder what’s there.

Zeke just shrugs, but Christina ventures a guess. “What if it’s just more of the same? Just . . . more crumbling city, more factions, more of everything?”
“Can’t be,” Uriah says, shaking his head. “There has to be something else.”
“Or there’s nothing,” Zeke suggests. “Those people who put us all in here, they could just be dead. Everything could be empty.”

Finally, people are actually discussing this.

Factions is a pretty terrible guess when their own history makes it clear it was a social experiement, but also totally reasonable for someone who’s never known anything else.

I shiver. I had never thought of that before, but he’s right—we don’t know what’s happened out there since they put us in here, or how many generations have lived and died since they did. We could be the last people left.

This may show that my bit about how they apparently have no recordkeeping could be deliberate – by not recording people, there’s no records to mine for this information. In fact, it’s entirely possible they’ve been saying “decades ago, the founders created the faction system…” for hundreds of years. (Okay, the state of Chicago means it can’t have been that long, but they don’t know any better.)

Tris doesn’t care that much about ‘might be’ anyway, since they’re totally going and they’ll find out what actually is. Yay, protagonists doing stuff!

Afterward, Evilyn says they’re going to make everything more structured due to the riot, and therefore there’s a nine to eight curfew now.

“It’s also time to prepare for our new, factionless way of life. Starting today, everyone will begin to learn the jobs the factionless have done for as long as we can remember. We will then all do those jobs on a rotation schedule, in addition to the other duties that have traditionally been performed by the factions.” Evelyn smiles without really smiling. I don’t know how she does it. “We will all contribute equally to our new city, as it should be. The factions have divided us, but now we will be united. Now, and forever.”
All around me the factionless cheer. I just feel uneasy. I don’t disagree with her, exactly, but the same faction members who rose up against Edward yesterday won’t remain quiet after this, either.

Soooo…you agree with what she’s doing, but some people will oppose it because they’re selfish fuckers who want to be back on top, therefore Evilyn is the real problem.

At least Tris is admitting this is reasonable instead of screaming about communism, so, better than it could be!

Afterward, Tris stumbles upon a bunch of factionless kicking some guy for wearing faction colors rather than a mix.

“Hey!” I yell again, and this time the girl turns. She’s much taller than I am—a good six inches, in fact—but I’m only angry, not afraid.
“Back up,” I say. “Back away from him.”
“He’s in violation of the dress code. I’m well within my rights, and I don’t take orders from faction lovers,” she says, her eyes on the ink creeping over my collarbone.
“Becks,” the factionless boy beside her says. “That’s the Prior video girl.”
The others look impressed, but the girl just sneers. “So?”

I really appreciate, especially after last book’s LITTLE GIRL LITTLE GIRL LITTLE GIRL that the conflict is Tris against a larger belligerent girl. The girl backs down grudgingly as her friends remind her this is that Dauntless terror who got the video.

Tris leaves but thinks she hears footsteps, but there’s no one there. But then someone actually grabs her and shoves a bag over her head. This doesn’t go over well, but they explain they just want to talk without her knowing who she is.

“We are the Allegiant,” the voice replies. “And we are many, yet we are no one. . . .”
I can’t help it: I laugh. Maybe it’s the shock—or the fear, my pounding heart slowing by the second, my hands shaking with relief.

Maybe it’s the part where it’s stupidly melodramatic.

Anyway, voice explains that they heard she’s not too into Evilyn.

“Why does that matter?”
“Because it means you want to leave,” the voice says.

See how disappointing this is? There are so many different positions they could take, but no, it’s pro-factions+Evilyn+leaving vs anti-factions+yayEvelyn+staying. There should be plenty of pro-faction people who want to stay, since as far as they know this is the only place run on faction rules, plus the people happy in factions seem to largely be the non-divergent who aren’t part of the leaving request. Meanwhile, outside is presumably running on factionless rules, plus the factionless have most of the divergent.

Anyway, they tell her to meet tomorrow AT MIDNIGHT FOR MAX DRAMA.

“Okay,” I say. “Let me ask you this: If I’m going to see who you are tomorrow, why is it so important to keep this thing over my head today?”
This seems to temporarily stump whoever I’m talking to.

It’s nice for the insanity to be actually intended. Of course they’re shit at intrigue, they’ve never intrigued before.

Then she gets a note from Tobias saying that her brother’s trial will be secret even from him.

but I’ll get you the verdict as soon as possible. Then we can make some kind of plan.

He’s going to be sentenced to death and he deserves to be sentenced to death. End this plot.

We end the chapter but keep Tris narrating.

The factionless only make trials private when they feel the verdict is obvious

Well, that sure is the opposite of how anyone sane would do it.

Tris has told her friends to skip breakfast, which apparently has a very strict time now, in order to meet about the other meeting.

“How do we know they’re not Evelyn’s people, trying to trick us into betraying her?”
“I don’t know that, either,” I say. “But it’s going to be impossible to get out of the city without someone’s help

You guys got in and out several times already. Once using the fact Tobias knows all the codes, once just handwaving that the fence isn’t a real barrier.

After breakfast, people have to go to class to learn how to do factionless jobs, oh no. So I guess whoever said they were the working class, I guess you’re right, they were the ignored homeless in the last two books but now they’re the oppressed workers.

A circle of lit candles is arranged on the floor over one of the Candor scales set into the tile. There is a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces in the room: Susan and Robert stand together, talking; Peter is alone on the side of the room, his arms crossed; Uriah and Zeke are with Tori and a few other Dauntless; Christina is with her mother and sister; and in a corner are two nervous-looking Erudite. New outfits can’t erase the divisions between us; they are ingrained.
Christina beckons to me. “This is my mom, Stephanie,” she says, indicating a woman with gray streaks in her dark curly hair. “And my sister, Rose. Mom, Rose, this is my friend Tris, and my initiation instructor, Four.”
“Obviously,” Stephanie says. “We saw their interrogations several weeks ago, Christina.”
“I know that, I was just being polite—”
“Politeness is deception in—”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Christina rolls her eyes.

I like this little glimpse into Candor. I wish we got more about all this. People who are actually bothered by politeness because they view it as lying would have good reason to be just as annoyed at everyone else as those people are with them. And you can see how they’d get along better with Dauntless and Erudite than Amity and Abnegation.

Christina’s sister then observes that hey, you’re the boyfriend murderer.

“I just thought we would air everything out,” Rose says. “It wastes less time.”
“And you wonder why I left our faction,” Christina says. “Being honest doesn’t mean you say whatever you want, whenever you want. It means that what you choose to say is true.”
“A lie of omission is still a lie.”
“You want the truth? I’m uncomfortable and don’t want to be here right now. I’ll see you guys later.”

Given how things are set up, this seems like it’s a parallel to how Dauntless became thrill-seeking psychos, but this seems like a completely reasonable belief. If you know that by remaining silent, someone will come to the wrong conclusions, you’re still deceiving them. Also completely reasonable, though, is to think that honesty isn’t a matter of bringing up subjects, especially painful ones, to be sure anyone is completely aware of how you feel about it should they happen to be thinking of it by chance.

Cara and Johanna are the leaders of the Allegiant?

Assuming they’re not going to turn out evil now, hey, we’re about to actually get a reasonable spread of women in power rather than just evil women in power!

“In accordance with the intentions of our city’s founders, we have two goals: to overthrow Evelyn and the factionless so that we can reestablish the factions, and to send some of our number outside the city to see what’s out there.

Arg these things don’t have to be connected.

But whatever. If it made more sense that Evelyn’s side was in close agreement, you could see people who disagreed with her forming a group that was basically the opposite of each goal.

The thing is, there’s no reason to do both simultaneously. If there’s no one left alive out there to help, then that raises some big questions about if the faction system should continue. If the faction system is just a divergent savior generator, and there’s no more need for divergent saviors, why have it? On the other hand, if main society blew up and theirs didn’t, maybe they should keep up the faction system because it seems to work better. Also, are the factionless part of the original plan or not? Maybe the jobs the Evilyn wants them to share were indeed originally shared between the factions.

Also, just putting this out here: we know that it’s inherent in human nature to be dicks to outsiders as soon as you establish groups. Frankly, it’s a miracle the faction system held together this long, and it’s possibly just because the best way to keep such groups from fighting with each other is to create another, even more hated group to unite them, ie, factionless. This means there is no non-evil form of factions. It requires a hated and oppressed outgroup.

Johanna will be in charge of the factionless overthrow, because the Amity sure has a good track record of accomplishing anything.

“Christina, Tris, Tobias, Tori, Zeke, and Peter are my selections,” Cara says. “You have all proven your skills to me in one way or another, and it’s for that reason that I’d like to ask you to come with me outside the city. You are under no obligation to agree, of course.”
“Peter?” I demand, without thinking. I can’t imagine what Peter could have done to “prove his skills” to Cara.

Apparently Cara is behind Peter successfully faking Tris’ dead. This is all missing the bigger point, which is that Peter is a member of the fucking die already trinity. Edward is finally gone, I think Marcus died last book but I forget because the ending is basically a haze at this point, why can’t Peter be dead yet?

“Cara, you’ll need to get out of the city fast,” the Dauntless-turned-Erudite girl says. “Which means you should get someone to operate the trains.”

So either Dauntless or Erudite run the trains.

Anyway, it looks like we’ll actually be leaving soon enough to have time to spend on the outside, rather than last book holding out on the secret until the very end of the last chapter. Of course, Tris could still get kidnapped and spend all her time in a cell until the very end, like last time.


  1. Siobhan says:
    I am amazed at how you’ve tackled this book. I’m about halfway through at the moment, and it’s so ‘blahblahblah’ that I’m barely paying attention, let alone analysing it for the atrocity that it is. Great job so far!
    1. Farla says:
      The thing is, I really love worldbuilding. Okay, there’s no actual world being built here, but it’s interesting to see what you can make out of the random chunks.

      That’s why I hated Insurgent so much, I couldn’t even do that because each sentence contradicted the previous one.

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