Divergent

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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Divergent, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

In a way, Divergent is a book about choosing who you are. Because most of the characters in the novel are young adults, they’re trying to find identities for themselves and choose what kind of personality to have, or, in another sense, which “club” to belong to. Roth raises many important questions about identity: How do we choose an identity? What are some of the advantages of choosing the same identity as someone else? What…

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Early in the novel, Tris Prior joins the faction of the Dauntless: a community of strong, war-like people who are taught to worship strength and courage above all else. The Dauntless are constantly being ordered to “prove themselves”—by fighting, jumping onto moving trains, dangling over a chasm, etc. And yet there’s seldom any real discussion of what strength and courage mean: everyone seems to take the words for granted. Especially in the second half of…

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One of the first things we notice about the futuristic society in Divergent is that it’s rigorously classified: almost all people belong to one of five factions, and within each of these factions, members are constantly ranked and assessed for their abilities. One byproduct of all this ranking and classifying is that a spirit of competitiveness hangs over the characters’ lives. Each one of the factions competes with the others for glory and power, and…

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During the time she spends training with the Dauntless, Tris Prior learns how to confront her deepest fears, and indeed, this is one of the most basic lessons she learns from her Dauntless mentors. The entire culture of the Dauntless community is centered on fear, as the Dauntless believe that fear—or rather, cowardice—is the most basic problem with the human race. Thus, the path to success and peace necessarily involves mastering one’s fears and becoming…

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Divergent has been praised by some for its strong female protagonist. Tris Prior is a powerful, even heroic character, and during the course of the novel she protects the weak and saves countless lives. More importantly, Tris’s heroism seems directly tied to the fact that she is a young woman: her gender gives her a powerful tool for fighting evil. It’s worth considering the novel’s take on women a little more closely.

The majority of…

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