Divergent Ch28

Last time on Dauntless, she flubs the test run of the fear landscape. Incidentally, I’ve typed Dauntless so many times it doesn’t look like a word.

Now she angsts to herself that hey, she did succeed at making Peter think the kidnapping fucked her up after all!

I just have to make sure that tomorrow, when I go through my own fear landscape, I prove them wrong. Yesterday failure seemed impossible. Today I’m not sure.

I suspect all my reasoning about PTSD and stuff is not really intended and this just happened because the author needed to try to build up suspense again because it was too obvious she was going to breeze through this test, but it’s still obvious she’s going to breeze through the test and the only tension remains if she’ll do too well or make it obvious somehow – divergence was specifically said to be able to hack the program to alter it, and there’s no reason to think merely being lucid for the scenarios give everyone the same ability.

She wonders at the trains: Where do they begin? Where do they end? What is the world like beyond them?

Instead of finding anything about this, she then says she wants to go home. She says she can’t possibly go to Abnegation because that’d obviously mean she’s pining for them, which is totally different than the part where she tattooed their symbol onto her shoulder. She then remembers for the first time that her mom told her she needed to contact her brother about something incredibly important. Well, the part about her mom telling her to see her brother, at least.

So she jumps on a passing train. She points out this is against the rules, but luckily the train car appears empty so it doesn’t matter. So the rest of the city is falling apart, the other factions squabble over food, and Dauntless has empty trains running 24/7.

The train slows as it reaches the heart of the city, and I sit up to watch the smaller buildings grow into larger buildings. The Erudite live in large stone buildings that overlook the marsh.

Dauntless is in a ruined area. Also, this suggests the “heart of the city” is not actually in the center of the factions but nearer to the former shoreline. That would suggest they’ve inhabited the city since before the disaster rather than that the city was completely emptied at some point and repopulation, because the heart of a functioning city probably would be clustered near the water. It’s entirely possible, though, that it’s just that the high density of buildings here means it’s more useful and it would have been a likely pick regardless of if there’s continuity between the pre- and post-disaster culture.

I walk down the middle of the street, heading south, toward the marsh. The empty land stretches as far as I can see, a brown plane colliding with the horizon.

This sounds really, really bad.

Marshes are not empty. Depending on the time of year, the plantlife can turn brown, but Tris never references the weather as cold no matter what she wears, so it really doesn’t seem to be late fall, and never mentions plant life in relation to the marsh at all. Plant life wouldn’t be a plane, anyway.

If this is contaminated, the Erudite are either not so smart or a lot braver than people realize to think it’s the ideal place to live. Maybe they chose buildings overlooking this place because they study it or view it as a cautionary tale.

The Erudite keep records; it’s in their nature. They must keep records of their initiates.

Apparently the other factions don’t. Apparently keeping records of basic stuff is unusual. Apparently you could, in theory, walk into any other faction and as long as you were dressed properly and knew how to act no one would have any idea you didn’t belong.

Additionally, Abnegation, the people who run the government, think keeping records is a weird Erudite thing. Tris, even if Erudites decide it’s time for revolution by nuke, it’s hard to believe you’ll actually be worse off. I can’t believe you haven’t all just starved to death by now.

Erudite faction norms dictate that a faction member must wear at least one blue article of clothing at a time, because blue causes the body to release calming chemicals, and “a calm mind is a clear mind.”

Why don’t the Dauntless wear red, they seem to respect the Erudite viewpoint? Also why don’t the Erudite just manufacture drugs for this?

I expect to weave through the crowd, dodging elbows and muttering “excuse me” the way I always do, but there is no need. Becoming Dauntless has made me noticeable. The crowd parts for me, and their eyes cling to me as I pass.

Whereas if you were a grey clad Abnegation walking into their faction headquarters you’d be so unnoticeable.

I think the problem here is the author wants to show the difference in how people treat the faction in general. Tris said back at the beginning that she was always watching the Dauntless, and while that’s obviously because she is totally Dauntless and they are the faction of her heart, the Dauntless are showboaters and people probably do watch them. Additionally the Dauntless are aggressive and physically trained, so they’re dangerous. It makes sense that crowds would react to them in the opposite way they do Abnegation.

But unfortunately, the author hasn’t shown the Dauntless interacting with any other factions, so she has to show it now, when anyone not Erudite showing up would be noticed.

Bookcases line the walls on either side of me, but they seem to be decorative more than anything, because computers occupy the tables in the center of the room, and no one is reading. They stare at screens with tense eyes, focused.

So the Erudite building is a library, but they no longer care about books. You know, as faction warping goes, that’s really not a big deal.

On one wall is a portrait of an attractive woman with watery gray eyes and spectacles—Jeanine. I thought she had sharp eyes. Tris reminds us that she hates her and it’s all Jeanine’s fault Erudite is saying mean things about Abnegation.

Beneath her is a large plaque that reads KNOWLEDGE LEADS TO PROSPERITY.
Prosperity. To me the word has a negative connotation. Abnegation uses it to describe self-indulgence.

Prosperity. You guys are so joyless you don’t even want prosperity.

You know, I thought that it was relatively reasonable to put Abnegation in charge as things went, but no, this is insane, no one would ever think the insane nutjobs who admit they hate prosperity are the ones you want running the government. This is one step short of a suicide cult. They do not have anyone’s best interests in mind.

Instead, Tris goes on about how she can’t believe her brother would join these monsters with their “prosperity” nonsense. She then thinks her brother might think the same of her, except we only heard one negative thing secondhand about the Dauntless while the Erudite/Dauntless feud was bad enough that random Erudite kids would bully you. If Abnegation or Caleb in particular didn’t like Dauntless, it should’ve been mentioned.

There’s a desk, and desks are for question answering. She asks where Caleb is, he says no personal information. She says it’s her brother. Same.

I slam my palm on the desk in front of him, and he jerks out of his daze, staring at me over his spectacles. Heads turn in my direction.
“I said.” My voice is terse. “I am looking for someone. He’s an initiate. Can you at least tell me where I can find them?”

Luckily for the poor guy just trying to follow the rules, her brother appears behind her right then and she doesn’t graduate to assault. She hugs him.

“You have a tattoo,” he says, his voice muffled.
“You have glasses,” I say. I pull back and narrow my eyes. “Your vision is perfect, Caleb, what are you doing?”

I really don’t think the Erudites would encourage fake glasses.

Her brother tells her they should leave.

Across from Erudite headquarters is what used to be a park. Now we just call it “Millenium,” and it is a stretch of bare land and several rusted metal sculptures

So yeah, this area appears to be blighted. And unless it’s a very well designed blight, anything that kills all plant life is probably not going to do nice things to human lungs.

He asks why she’s here.

“I wanted to go home,” I say, “and you were the closest thing I could think of.”

He is not happy. He says he’s glad to see her but she’s breaking the rules and that’s especially bad given her faction.

I know exactly what it means. He sees my faction as the cruelest of the five, and nothing more.

Yeah, if only he could see Eric jerking off on someone’s bloodied corpse he’d realize how wrong he is. You should tell him about that time Eric almost got someone killed, or the other time Eric almost got someone kid, or the time when the second-best transfer stabbed another person’s eye out.

Also, so Dauntless thinks Erudite is great but Erudite does’t think much of them? That suggest a really unbalanced relationship between the two factions.

“I just don’t want you to get hurt. You don’t have to be so angry with me,” he says, tilting his head. “What happened to you in there?”
“Nothing. Nothing happened to me.”

While I appreciate Tris’ refreshing use of violence, I must admit it’s obviously not healthy at this point. She seems to be responding with violence towards anything she’s upset about, and I’m not sure she even particularly means to at this point. She’s always been presented with situations where she wouldn’t feel bad for lashing out – even Tobias can take a punch fine.

Her brother wants to know if she feels she picked right, and she says of course, and you? Then she realizes something seems actually wrong, Caleb appears nervous and it seems like it’s of the other Erudites, so she leads him into one of the sculptures.

“Something big is happening, Beatrice. Something is wrong.” His eyes are wide and glassy. “I don’t know what it is, but people keep rushing around, talking quietly, and Jeanine gives speeches about how corrupt Abnegation is all the time, almost every day.”

Because Erudite is evil, even though Abnegation is looking worse and worse. When Tris asks if he believes Jeanine, he says “No. Maybe. I don’t…” He shakes his head. “I don’t know what to believe.” which I find hard to buy – he must have already suspected things if he was willing to jump ship to Erudite at all.

“You know who our parents are. You know who our friends are. Susan’s dad, you think he’s corrupt?”

Marcus is. You just found this out. Why is it not a factor in this at all?

“How much do I know? How much did they allow me to know? We weren’t allowed to ask questions, Beatrice; we weren’t allowed to know things!

But finally, someone is pointing out that Erudite’s claims are actually completely plausible and Abnegation seems tailor made to hide corruption.

He says that Erudites believe information should be free. She says they lie and manipulate.

“Don’t you think I would know if I was being manipulated?”
“If they’re as smart as you think, then no. I don’t think you would know.”

Neither one seems to consider that any faction can manipulate. She goes on to say that she’s totally the authority on how his faction is fucked up because she picked a fucked up faction.

“At least I know what I’m a part of, Caleb. You are choosing to ignore what we’ve known all our lives—these people are arrogant and greedy and they will lead you nowhere.”

Better the suicidal murdering sadists you know than the people who might well have good point but who knows for sure, huh?

Her brother doesn’t appreciate her insisting his faction is fucked up on the basis of because she says so, and before Tris stalks off in a huff she thinks up the perfect parting quip:

“Oh, and not that it will matter to you, but Mom told me to tell you to research the simulation serum.”
“You saw her?” He looks hurt. “Why didn’t she—”
“Because,” I say. “The Erudite don’t let the Abnegation into their compound anymore. Wasn’t that information available to you?”

So the important thing her mom mentioned isn’t important except for when she can use it to score points. But it’s okay, she totally is right about Erudites even without any evidence or reason because look, they kept information here a secret.

She decides to leave thinking that Dauntless is her actual home after all, because again she likes the devil she knows better, so naturally that’s when some Erudite guys pop up to tell her she can’t leave just yet. She goes with them, thinking about how she’ll fight them off if she needs to.

I follow the man down an empty, glowing corridor and into an office.
The walls are made of glass—I guess I know which faction designed my school.

Because before this, it could’ve been any of them that were involved with a school.

It’s time to meet Jeanine in the flesh.

I have definitely heard her voice before. I heard it in the hallway, talking to Eric, before I got attacked. I heard her mention Divergents. And once before—I heard it…
“It was your voice in the simulation,” I say.

So she’s evil. And Erudite is evil and the fact everything suggests they have perfectly good points doesn’t matter, Tris doesn’t like what they say so it’s all made up and evil too.

The aptitude test is by far my greatest achievement as a scientist,” she replies.

So….did they not have one before? Was there some other system in place? How long has the simulation been around? Also, Jeanine, that is really not something to brag about.

Jeanine says she’s checked Tris’ results and found out there’s some irregularities, like not getting recorded.

“Did you know that you’re one of two people ever to get an Abnegation result and switch to Dauntless?”
“No,” I say, biting back my shock. Tobias and I are the only ones? But his result was genuine and mine was a lie. So it is really just him.

I wonder if this is really just an artifact of the fact the Abnegation kids don’t normally switch regardless. I bet the number of kids who score Abnegation when they’re not Abnegation-born and pick something else is likely high, and if you looked at the numbers who went with Amity instead it’d be very different.

“What made you choose Dauntless?” she asks.
“What does this have to do with anything?” I try to soften my voice, but it doesn’t work. “Aren’t you going to reprimand me for abandoning my faction and seeking out my brother? ‘Faction before blood,’ right?” I pause. “Come to think of it, why am I in your office in the first place? Aren’t you supposed to be important or something?”

So that actually worked pretty good as a reply.

Jeanine refuses to be thrown and says she found that Tris the Abnegation turned Dauntless with the missing data also had another missing recording.

“How did you access my records? Only the Dauntless have access to those.”

How would you even know who has access to what? If it’s generally understood that factions are separate kingdoms and don’t interact beyond the bare minimum, I’d have expected you to reference that before now.

“Because Erudite developed the simulations, we have an…understanding with the Dauntless, Beatrice.”

It’s like she’s trying to sound as evil as possible. Tris reiterates not knowing why anyone cares about divergence but how they do. She makes up a lie about how the serum made her nauseous and that probably distracted the person doing the test, then when asked how she succeeds at the tests, decides to be super Dauntless and brag about how great she is.

“You want to know why I chose Dauntless?” I ask. “It’s because I was bored.” Further, further. Lies require commitment. “I was tired of being a wussy little do-gooder and I wanted out.”

Terrible lie. If that’s what you felt, how the hell would you have gotten an Abnegation score? She goes on to say she doesn’t miss her family and all their stupid rules.

“Can I take that to mean…” Jeanine purses her lips and pauses for a few seconds before finishing. “…that you agree with the reports that have been released about the political leaders of this city?”
The reports that label my family as corrupt, power-hungry, moralizing dictators? The reports that carry subtle threats and hint at revolution? They make me sick to my stomach. Knowing that she is the one who released them makes me want to strangle her.
I smile.
“Wholeheartedly,” I say.

You completely fucked that up, Tris. Not only is saying exactly what they obviously want from you suspicious all by itself, if they’re printing lies, then the thing they printed about you is known to be a lie, so when you agree with that, they know you’re just trying to sound like you agree with them.

If you were Amity or Abnegation, saying stuff that seemed tailored to making them like you might be just barely believable, but you’re Dauntless and you were trying to throw her off by acting Dauntless. Now you’re suspiciously acting afraid, as if you know she’s a danger to you.

What you should’ve said was that you’re sick of the lies saying your dad abused you, you had to break another girl’s nose over it just yesterday because how dare someone think your dad could push you around like that, and you otherwise don’t care about whatever stupid fight Abnegation and Erudite are having. You were sick enough of hearing about it over dinner, thanks, didn’t you just say you left, you thought Erudite were supposed to be smart! Make it about you. Act as if you have no idea she’s a threat, because she’s just some cowardly Erudite and you’re a member of the best faction. The best one!!!!!!!!

This is especially true when you’re dealing with the clever faction, with a women who already said she had noticed incongruities.

One of Jeanine’s lackeys, a man in a blue collared shirt and sunglasses, drives me back to the Dauntless compound in a sleek silver car, the likes of which I have never seen before. The engine is almost silent. When I ask the man about it, he tells me it’s solarpowered and launches into a lengthy explanation of how the panels on the roof convert sunlight into energy. I stop listening after sixty seconds and stare out the window.


So most cars run on something else, presumably alcohol or plant oils. At absolute best, and this really is a stretch, they’re getting it from plants grown in marginal areas that can’t support food crops but can support something else they’re able to use for fuel, so it’s not directly competing with food but just requires extra cultivation. I’m not sure that’s even possible given they’re also raising animals and there aren’t many places that can’t grow human food or grazing material. There’s also the fact they can’t afford to properly cloth the factionless either, and cloth is also something you grow.

Now, is fuel the limiting factor on cars, or is this not a concern to Abnegation? Certainly cloth isn’t a concern given its cheapness in Dauntless. We know there’s some reason they’re limiting cars. Perhaps it’s been explained as fuel considerations, but now Abnegation is also making excuses about why they don’t want to produce the new solar car. That would be another reason for Erudite to guess Abnegation wasn’t being honest.

Antag-Eric is there for her and for once isn’t slavering in delight about hurting someone, which is even creepier.

“Have you never heard the phrase ‘faction before blood’?”
I have seen Eric do terrible things. I have heard him say terrible things. But I have never seen him like this. He is not a maniac anymore; he is perfectly controlled, perfectly poised. Careful and quiet.
For the first time, I recognize Eric for what he is: an Erudite disguised as a Dauntless, a genius as well as a sadist, a hunter of the Divergent.

So you get he’s a sadist!

Anyway, what makes her so sure? People being able to disguise themselves as one faction calls into question the whole business of faction personalities, and he’s displayed plenty of aggression and no real bookish traits. If he’s actually got both traits it would seem more likely he’s divergent, since that’s the special term for could go anywhere. That doesn’t have to conflict with him hunting divergents, because having one on your side is a common trope. Failing that, I’d assume he’s just actually Dauntless, but one who stayed loyal to his original faction. It isn’t even a big stretch given Dauntless loves Erudite.

Then again, this is first person, and Tris hates the Erudite while believing original flavor Dauntless was good, so it makes sense that confronted with a bad part of Dauntless, she’d say he was really Erudite.

He goes on about how visiting another faction betrays their faction.

“If you cannot explain,” he says softly, “I may be forced to reconsider your rank. Or, because you seem to be so attached to your previous faction…perhaps I will be forced to reconsider your friends’ ranks. Perhaps the little Abnegation girl inside of you would take that more seriously.”

Except she didn’t go to Abnegation. And I don’t quite buy this – the ranks seem pretty public and while it’s not clear if the fights were ranked objectively, we know the second stage is.

She just panics and panics, having not thought to use the car ride to think up excuses. Luckily, her boyfriend shows up.

“Leave the room,” Eric says, his voice louder and not as monotone. He sounds more like the Eric I am familiar with. His expression, too, changes, becomes more mobile and animated. I stare, amazed that he can turn it on and off so easily, and wonder what the strategy behind it is.

Since supposedly he’s fake-Dauntless Erudite, I guess monotone and stillness is an Erudite thing?

Tobias pinches the bridge of his nose and looks at me through the spaces between his fingers. He is trying to tell me something. I think quickly. What advice has Four given me recently?
The only thing I can think of is: pretend some vulnerability.
It’s worked for me before.
“I…I was just embarrassed and didn’t know what to do.”

While this is a repeat of the questionable direction, it’s interesting how this means it doesn’t play out the way the scene usually does. Tobias suggests she initiate the ploy, then follows, rather than starting the story of how she kissed him and he was all lolno and she ran away in shame by himself. Tris pinches herself enough to give Eric some tears with her story and Eric is happy to let her go so he can have some private time with the image.

Tris expects Tobias to scold her but instead he’s concerned so she yells at him again for being so confusing and he explains that obviously running over and hugging her in the morning would’ve ruined her life. Also!

He shakes his head and looks at the dilapidated building to his right, which is made of brick and barely resembles the sleek glass spire behind me. It must be ancient. No one builds with brick anymore.

Because they can’t or they don’t want to? It’s presumably the latter, because they could try to recycle the bricks otherwise – with most of the buildings uninhabited, there’d be no shortage of material.

Why do they build at all? They have no shortage of buildings!

Tobias apologizes for the fact he upset her. “Sometimes I forget that I can hurt you. That you are capable of being hurt.” Which actually seems valid after what’s just happened – she’s afraid of different things than he is, and her ability to face heights in particular seems to make him see her as inhumanly brave. Tris is incredibly flattered. They then confirm they’re a couple.

Tris says that while she’s pretty sure Eric fell for the act, she doesn’t know if the Erudites believe it. If the book has them actually notice her response was obviously a pack of lies and moreover that she was acting oddly scared of them, I’ll be impressed.

Also, he has something mysterious to tell her so meet him around midnight. Then she heads back to her friend, who says that she and Will are now together.

“How long have you known you liked him?”
“I don’t know. I guess I didn’t. But then little things…how he put his arm around me at the funeral, how he opens doors for me like I’m a girl instead of someone who could beat the crap out of him.”

I guess it was too much to hope for getting out of the story without at least one relationship based around how it’s so great because the boy acts like she needs help and this affirms her girlness.

I laugh. Suddenly I want to tell her about Tobias and everything that has happened between us. But the same reasons Tobias gave for pretending we aren’t together hold me back. I don’t want her to think that my rank has anything to do with my relationship with him.

Also the part where if it gets back to Eric he’ll know you lied you fucking idiot. It’s like you have no concept of how to keep a secret! First the tattoo and now you only keep quiet because you care about what she’d think, not the fact that telling her risks other people finding out.

Tris says soon they’ll move into apartments.

I won’t have to worry about Peter attacking me in my sleep.

You have never worried about this, and it annoys me. You guys initially are all traumatized then go back to sleeping in the same room as the sociopath without another complaint.

I get that the author probably didn’t want to spend the time on the kids trying to find some way of making sure Peter wouldn’t harm them in their sleep when she wasn’t planning to repeat the exact situation, but in that case the Dauntless should’ve done something to change the situation, like installing a camera or something. It’s enough of a deterrent that you’re probably safe while still allowing for the possibility Peter will decide that fuck it, he wants to successfully kill someone.

Christina says she does miss home a little, the way everyone in Candor is straightforward and you know exactly what people think of you.

“I don’t think I could have made it through Candor initiation, though.” She shakes her head. “There, instead of simulations, you get lie detector tests. All day, every day. And the final test…” She wrinkles her nose. “They give you this stuff they call truth serum and sit you in front of everyone and ask you a load of really personal questions. The theory is that if you spill all your secrets, you’ll have no desire to lie about anything, ever again. Like the worst about you is already in the open, so why not just be honest?”

Why not just use the serum all the time? Also, why doesn’t anyone else take advantage of this, why is lying to the Erudite even an option when they could’ve offered her a nice drugged glass of water? Why hasn’t anyone realized they can use this on their government and not need to worry about which faction someone’s from because they can just ask if the person’s working for the public good or their own personal gain?

Why isn’t Candor a player in the faction war when they of all the factions have found a way to actually eradicate their hated trait?

Sure, maybe the truth serum is too hard to manufacture to drug people 24/7. But that doesn’t mean a few people can’t dump all of the current batch into a shipment of food, sure that if only the rest could see how much better things are without lying they’d realize you were right. If it can’t be ingested, there’s still the option of tainting stuff at the hospital with it – get it in the saline IV, say. That runs the risk of accidentally contaminating important stuff and killing people, but the factions are supposedly based around the idea all problems come because of a given flaw, and what’s a few contaminated eggs when the important thing is the eventual omelet? Every other faction has to talk to people to get them to follow their beliefs, but Candor can make you.

Candor initiation would reach things that even the simulations can’t touch; it would wreck me.

She does not consider that this too has to do with bravery. Christina says that knowing about the initiation, she knew growing up she wouldn’t stay in her birth faction. I wish we actually saw what this looks like! Back when we were seeing multiple factions, Tris said all of the kids were always lockstep with the faction stereotype. Why would you bother when you knew you wouldn’t be one of them?

Anyway, then it’s time for the mysterious late night not suspicious at all meeting. I assume it’s a matter of him not wanting to be overheard, but if they are under surveillance, this will just ensure they’re noticed. Tris and Tobias hanging out together isn’t inherently noteworthy, but a secret midnight meeting? That’s something to overhear.

(Come to think of it, it doesn’t much matter – they made it clear earlier that they were lying to Eric to protect her, so it’s not like there’s been any effort to keep things hidden in public.)

They go on the train a while. Even though Eric promises terrible things if she left ever again, and would love to have reason to punish her. Tobias continues to have an almost Trislike grasp of subterfuge. They then make out on the train.

It’s past midnight, so all the street lights are dark, and the buildings look like mammoths as they rise from the darkness and then sink into it again. Tobias lifts a hand and points at a cluster of buildings, so far away they are the size of a fingernail. They are the only bright spot in the dark sea around us. Erudite headquarters again.
“Apparently the city ordinances don’t mean anything to them,” he says, “because their lights will be on all night.”
“No one else has noticed?” I say, frowning.
“I’m sure they have, but they haven’t done anything to stop it. It may be because they don’t want to cause a problem over something so small.” Tobias shrugs, but the tension in his features worries me. “But it made me wonder what the Erudite are doing that requires night light.”


I was thinking the lights were off because they weren’t needed, but that’s not something you have city ordinances about.

What comes to mind is bombing. You cover every window and turn out every light so that the planes don’t know you’re there. They aren’t trying to save electricity, they think something’s out there. Maybe they don’t even know who or even what, they just remember something might find them in the darkness. That’d explain why the rule seems to be broken without much issue, as with the Ferris wheel, but doing it for days on end becomes concerning.

Also, Erudites, you’re stupid, you should just cover up your windows if this is a big thing.

Tobias explains that he’s suspicious and a good hacker, and he got into the secret Dauntless plans.

what looked like war plans. Thinly veiled commands, supply lists, maps. Things like that. And those files were sent by Erudite.”


You know, so what? Abnegation is running this place into the ground and may be outright malicious. Erudites have tried to call for transparency and they’ve been ignored. They’ve tried to call for accountability in their leaders and been ignored. They’ve tried to call for peaceful change and they’ve been ignored.

“War?” I brush my hair away from my face. Listening to my father insult Erudite all my life has made me wary of them

The Erudite/Abnegation feud appears to be a recent thing. But your father, one of the rulers of the city, has always thought they were scumbags? This is why the system needs to be changed!

and my experiences in the Dauntless compound make me wary of authority and human beings in general, so I’m not shocked to hear that a faction could be planning a war.

Tris, every single time you see a newspaper you start ranting about how the Erudites want to overthrow the government. Of course you’re not shocked, this is exactly what your conspiracy theory always was.

“All those reports are supposed to stir up dissension against Abnegation,” he says, his eyes focused on the city beyond the train car. “Evidently the Erudite now want to speed up the process.

So never mind that what the reports say has never been addressed, they were apparently all lies. It’s a good thing because Tris was just assuming that with no evidence. Proving her rejection of the evil smart faction, she struggles to work out why “why would Erudite team up with Dauntless?” and realizes that oh right Dauntless is a heavily armed paramilitary. Also they can’t team up with Candor and Amity’s nonviolence and therefore useless here.

“They’re going to use us,” I say.
“I wonder,” he says, “how they plan to get us to fight.”

Ask? Dauntless respects Erudite.

Tris thinks about how the Erudites would obviously coerce/manipulate her glorious faction and trick them into attacking Abnegation, but she isn’t sure how they could successfully get the whole of the faction moving. I don’t see why this is even an issue, Erudite already has an agent who’s the leader, Eric can just say to go overthrow the government and there’s a decent chance it’ll happen.


  1. $95701724 says:
    “You want to know why I chose Dauntless?” I ask. “It’s because I was bored.” Further, further. Lies require commitment. “I was tired of being a wussy little do-gooder and I wanted out.”
    “Can I take that to mean…” Jeanine purses her lips and pauses for a few seconds before finishing. “…that you agree with the reports that have been released about the political leaders of this city?”
    The reports that label my family as corrupt, power-hungry, moralizing dictators? The reports that carry subtle threats and hint at revolution? They make me sick to my stomach. Knowing that she is the one who released them makes me want to strangle her.
    I smile.
    “Wholeheartedly,” I say.

    But her being bored in Abnegation and Abnegation being corrupt have nothing to do with each others!!

    1. Person says:
      Seriously. “You were bored…so you must think the dullards are corrupt!” Frankly, I am not surprised that a book that’s so into hating the eeeevil smart people has some seriously dumbass versions of smart people. What is logic? Jeanine doesn’t know. And I’m not in the mood to give that a pass because factions perverting core values and look Caleb has useless glasses none of the smarties know what smart is. This is the author’s lack of effort showing through.
      1. Farla says:
        Well, we can always assume Jeanine realizes this is a ridiculous pack of lies but knows Tris isn’t smart enough to know she knows, so she lets Tris go to see who else might be involved. Tris promptly starts making out with Four, so now Jeanine knows he’s involved too…
    2. Farla says:
      If anything, they contradict. Erudite’s claiming Abnegation is a paradise of corruption broken up only by their constant child abuse. How was she bored when her dad was beating her bloody every day? How was she a wussy do-gooder when Abnegation is secretly taking all the food and cars for themselves?
  2. actonthat says:
    Because “smart people are eeeevil liars and you should hate them!” is really a message we need more of.
    1. sliz225 says:
      Yeah, fuck those smart people! Always using LOGIC and REASON instead of EMOTION and INSTINCT.
  3. Ember says:
    Hm. If the serum is Jeanine’s pet project, that could go someway to explaining why the test sucks so much. Erudite values knowledge for its own sake. The actually reasonable perverted form that could take is preferring to do science that’s REALLY COOL over science that actually has a practical application. A serum that reliably induces very specific, video game-like dreams is honestly pretty fucking impressive technology, and if that’s all she cares about then Jeanine is right to be proud of it. Maybe she had to submit a grant request to Abnegation or something, and just completely bullshitted the “possible applications” section. The project goes through and THE SERUM WORKS YAY SCIENCE IS THE COOLEST only it’s slightly more limited than they’d hoped and they can’t reliably create dreams complex enough to be useful for the stated purpose, so they just bullshit some more to convince Abnegation it was worth it because they don’t actually care. This would also explain why the kids can choose for themselves after hearing their results — someone involved in setting this whole thing up knows the test is seriously flawed and shouldn’t be the final word on where people end up.

    On a completely different note, it probably doesn’t say anything flattering about me that we’re well into “no seriously, all of the factions are fucked up” territory and every time Candor gets talked about I still start daydreaming about how well I would get along there. I guess it’s probably where most of the high-functioning autistic kids end up transferring, though Erudite may be attractive too.

    1. Farla says:
      The actually reasonable perverted form that could take is preferring to do science that’s REALLY COOL over science that actually has a practical application.

      This would be so fun! It’d fit with their enthusiastic but improperly sourced articles. No one likes sourcing their articles and keeping track of all their data. The only reason modern science emphasizes clear methods and repeatability is because no one actually wants to bother when they could be using that time to make glow in the dark rabbits. Small community of scientists whose whole purpose is sciencing? That time you spend on peer review could be used on making a robot arm!

      Also, they may have learned everything goes smoother when they just lie their asses off. I still remember fondly someone on NPR or something addressing concerns about the LHC. The reporter asked them to explain that it’s not going to do horrible stuff like spontaneously create mini black holes or something. “Oh no, that’s really likely!” the scientist said blithely, thinking everyone understands mini black holes fall apart instantly rather than unstoppably devouring the planet. Three generations of this, and you’d be sick of talking to the other four willfully ignorant groups too. Telling people just makes them ask more stupid questions! Much better to give them set answers and go back to doing what you’ve decided is more important.

      Candor is shaping up to be the easy mode faction. You can go about the rest of your life normally rather than being freakishly devoted to one personality trait and forbidden from showing any other. (Also, the only faction we know of that actually keeps pets and does anything else normal.) It sucks being totally honest mostly because you’re putting yourself on the line and no one else is, but you can be assured here that everyone else is going to have to confess to things that are just as embarrassing. And Candor’s the only faction we’ve seen so far that doesn’t flip out over admiring the virtues of another faction, while it seems like the rest are pretty prickly about you displaying standard human traits. They don’t even seem like a place you can fail to get into. You get truth serum, you blab everything, you’re in.

      So far the only other decent one seems like Amity, but never be aggressive is a hell of a lot stricter a commitment than never lie (and possibly dangerous when you’re so outnumbered) and there’s always the possibility that Amity’s full of corruption and evil like the other factions we’ve seen, while you can be pretty sure you know what you’re dealing with in Candor. I bet everyone even knows about their initiation.

  4. Glorkvorn says:
    “So she jumps on a passing train. She points out this is against the rules, but luckily the train car appears empty so it doesn’t matter. So the rest of the city is falling apart, the other factions squabble over food, and Dauntless has empty trains running 24/7.”

    Their city must be run by a bunch of transit nerds. With empty trains running 24/7 and never stopping, not even to pick up passengers, their efficiency ratings must be incredible.

    1. Farla says:
      And so we see where the Erudite/Dauntless friendship came from! The Erudite wanted the trains on time, the Dauntless didn’t care if the trains never stopped for them.

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