Divergent

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Divergence Symbol Analysis

Divergence Symbol Icon

The most conspicuous symbol in Divergent is also one of the most complex. Beatrice Prior is Divergent, meaning that she doesn't have a strong allegiance to any one of the five factions: on the contrary, she has qualities that align her with more than one of the factions. Divergence also suggests a unique kind of mental state that isn’t fully explained in the novel, as Divergents like Tris and Tobias have the ability to resist mind control and hallucinations that affect those more clearly “factioned.” At first, Beatrice believes that she’s alone in being Divergent: she’s the only one in her city who can’t decide what kind of person to be. But as the book moves on, it becomes increasingly clear that Beatrice isn’t unique at all. She’s surrounded by people who have secret identities or hidden loyalties: even her own mother, Natalie Prior, is Divergent. In this sense, Divergence symbolizes human beings’ inability to be grouped into stable categories and fixed identities. Nobody is brave, kind, or honest 100 percent of the time—and the society that tries to pretend otherwise is doomed to break down.

Divergence Quotes in Divergent

The Divergent quotes below all refer to the symbol of Divergence. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Katherine Tegen Books edition of Divergent published in 2011.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“Beatrice,” she says, “under no circumstances should you share that information with anyone. This is very important.”
“We aren’t supposed to share our results.” I nod. “I know that.”
“No.” Tori kneels next to the chair now and places her arms on the armrest. Our faces are inches apart. “This is different. I don’t mean you shouldn’t share them now; I mean you should never share them with anyone, ever, no matter what happens. Divergence is extremely dangerous. You understand?”

Related Characters: Beatrice Prior / Tris (speaker), Tori (speaker)
Related Symbols: Divergence
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:

Tori, an administrator for the character test that all city residents must take, discovers something important about Beatrice. Beatrice has a rare quality called Divergence, which allows her to embody multiple personality types at once. Where most people in the community are brave or humble or intelligent, Beatrice alternates between multiple characteristics, or has aspects of all of them. As Tori explains, the government doesn't like Divergent people.

Tori doesn't explain why, precisely, the government is so averse to Divergence. Even so, we've already noticed that Beatrice's society is based on strict order and control. People's identities are fixed, in such a way that everyone in the city has a natural career path, a natural group of friends, etc. When someone like Beatrice refuses to go along with the city's strict classification rules, she inadvertently challenges the authority of the city leadership.

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Divergence Symbol Timeline in Divergent

The timeline below shows where the symbol Divergence appears in Divergent. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...she’s evenly split between Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. In short, Beatrice embodies a state called “Divergent.” Tori tells Beatrice not to share this information with anyone—ever. She adds that being Divergent... (full context)
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
Beatrice thinks about her Divergence. If she’s assigned to a different Faction, following the results of her test, she’ll be... (full context)
Chapter 10
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...about her decision to leave Abnegation. Tris wishes she could tell her parents about being Divergent, so perhaps they’d understand. Tris makes sure to leave her hospital bed before night falls—she... (full context)
Chapter 15
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...Tris that she’ll love her no matter what. Tris is about to say the word “Divergent” out loud, but Natalie covers her daughter’s mouth first. (full context)
Chapter 20
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Tris awakes from her simulation, with Four standing over her. Four tells her, “You’re Divergent.” Tris tries to lie, but Four isn’t fooled—he warns her that she’ll need to hide... (full context)
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...Tori, who works in the tattoo parlor. She asks Tori for some information about being Divergent. Though she doesn’t say the word, Tori seems to understand what Tris is asking. She... (full context)
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...She guesses that being able to manipulation hallucinations is only one small part of being Divergent; i.e., only one small part of why Divergence is so dangerous. (full context)
Chapter 21
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
...standing beside her—“I know this isn’t real,” she says. Tris wonders if Four is also Divergent. (full context)
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...a woman she doesn’t know. The woman reminds Eric that his priority is rooting out “Divergent rebels.” Eric promises to find the rebels, acknowledging that it was the mysterious woman who... (full context)
Chapter 26
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...chose to leave Abnegation for Dauntless. This surprises Tris—she’d expected him to reveal that he’s Divergent, like her. Tris tells Tobias that she left Abnegation because she wasn’t selfless enough. Tobias... (full context)
Chapter 32
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...Tris is thrilled with this news—she now feels that she belongs in Dauntless, whether she’s Divergent or not. She’s also happy to see that Uriah, Will, and Christina are also in... (full context)
Chapter 33
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...control as well. She senses that, in spite of what he told her, Tobias is Divergent, and thus immune to the serum like herself. (full context)
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
...proving that he’s not a zombie. Tris breathes a sigh of relief: Tobias really is Divergent. (full context)
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
...wounding Tris in the shoulder. Eric, bleeding from his foot, identifies Tris and Tobias as “Divergent rebels.” (full context)
Chapter 34
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...see Jeanine. Jeanine tells them that she’s always suspected that Tris and Tobias could be Divergent. Jeanine suspects that Tobias is more strongly allied with Abnegation, even though he’s chosen Dauntless.... (full context)
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Jeanine tells Tobias that scientists will use his Divergence to develop a new drug that can control the Divergent, of which there are probably... (full context)
Chapter 35
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Strength, Selfishness, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...she could save her daughter. Tris demands to know how Natalie knew that Tris was Divergent. Natalie replies that she is Divergent, too: her own mother was a Dauntless leader, and... (full context)
Chapter 37
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
...notices that one of the soldiers isn’t behaving like a zombie—like her, he must be Divergent. That soldier motions for Tris and her friends to leave, and they run away. (full context)