Divergent

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Divergent Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tris decides not to go back to the dorms—that would be suicidal. Instead, she sleeps in Four’s bed while Four sleeps on the floor. She can smell his scent on his pillow, and it smells “distinctly male.” Tris thinks to herself that she likes Four—he’s not kind, but he’s smart and courageous.
Tris becomes increasingly attracted to Four—for his body and his good looks as much as his personality. A young person exploring his or her sexuality is almost always a part of any coming-of-age novel.
Themes
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Tris wakes up and prepares to face her peers. She’s in pain all over: her side aches and her face has a vicious bruise, but she’s full of adrenaline. In the dining hall, Tris chooses to sit next to Will. She notices that Al isn’t in the room. Tris, Will, Christina, and Uriah eat their meal together, and discuss what happened the night before. Tris reveals that Peter, Drew, and Al tried to hurt her. Christina is especially shocked that Al tried to hurt Tris. Tris also notices Drew sitting in the dining hall: he’s covered with bruises, and there’s a massive cut down his eyebrow.
Tris is relieved to find that not all of her friends have turned against her: seemingly just Al. The culture of competition in Dauntless is strong, but not to the point where it’s truly every man for himself—Christina and Will remain loyal to Tris. Drew’s grotesque appearance is an indirect sign of Four’s feelings for Tris: evidently, Four was so furious that Tris was in danger that he took his anger out on Drew.
Themes
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Uriah proposes that Tris and her friends do something to avenge Tris’s attack. Uriah clarifies: he’s not talking about beating up Peter and his gang. Instead, they’ll have to defeat Peter in the most humiliating way: by beating him in the rankings.
The people of Dauntless believe in the law of “an eye for an eye.” Even a “gentle” recruit like Uriah wants to avenge Tris’s pain, even if he’d prefer to get revenge in the rankings, not the chasm.
Themes
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
The recruits proceed with their training. As Christina and Tris walk to their latest assignment, Christina apologizes for claiming the flag during the capture the flag game—she admits that it was selfish.
Christina shows a streak of humility, showing that Tris isn’t the only one who’s having second thoughts about Dauntless culture.
Themes
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
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The recruits arrive in a large, dark room. Four explains that the Dauntless government has been gathering information on the recruits’ greatest fears. Here in the room, recruits will face different manifestations of people’s fears, using the combat training they learned in phase one and the emotional conditioning they picked up in phase two. The recruits will be given one chance to maneuver their ways through a “fear landscape.” Their success with this challenge will determine their rankings for phase three of training. As Four explains, Peter asks if it’s “fair” for some recruits to have more fears than others. Four laughs and says that Peter doesn’t know the meaning of the word “fair”—he’s clearly frightened of a tiny girl from Abnegation. Christina and Will laugh.
The Dauntless government maintains an enormous amount of control over its citizens: it knows what they’re afraid of, and this gives it huge power. Although the government claims that it’s trying to produce the best warriors possible, it’s simultaneously gathering intelligence on its recruits’ weaknesses and insecurities. In short, the government claims that it’s helping its recruits gain power over other factions, but really, the government is trying to gain power over its own people.
Themes
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
Back in the dormitory, Tris finds Al. Al asks if he could talk to Tris alone, and Will angrily says that Al will never get near Tris again. Al nods, tearfully, and tells Tris that he’s sorry for what he tried to do to her. Tris contemplates forgiving Al for what he did. But then she realizes that she’s not a forgiving person: whatever forgiveness she learned from Abnegation, she’s lost forever. With this in mind she tells Al that she’ll kill him if he ever comes near her again.
Tris has her own doubts about Dauntless culture: she knows there’s something barbaric about the way it pits people against one another. And yet Tris doesn’t have a good idea of what to replace Dauntless with. For this reason, she behaves coldly and even cruelly around Al: instead of forgiving him, she threatens him with more pain.
Themes
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon