Veronica Roth

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Divergent Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Veronica Roth's Divergent. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth grew up in Barrington, Illinois, as the youngest of three children. Beginning in high school, she studied the Bible closely, and has considered herself a Christian ever since. Roth studied creative writing at Northwestern University. During her time as an undergraduate, she begin working on the novel that would become Divergent. When she published the book in 2011, it was a surprise success, selling many hundreds of thousands of copies. Roth has written two sequels to Divergent: Insurgent and Allegiant. She’s been married to her husband, Nelson Fitch, since 2011.
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Historical Context of Divergent

It’s hard to find many historical allusions in Divergent, since it’s a non-speculative science fiction novel. Roth does, however, mention many of Chicago’s most famous buildings, such as the John Hancock Building and the Sears Tower. These Chicago landmarks were built around the same time (1969 and 1973, respectively), and reflected Chicago’s resurging economic prestige, following a long period of uncertain economic growth in the 40s and 50s.

Other Books Related to Divergent

Divergent is often compared to other works of young adult science fiction from the last ten years, including The Hunger Games and Maze Runner. These works share a few common qualities: their protagonists are young adults (not children or tweens), trying to navigate their way through a futuristic adult world to which they don’t quite belong. More importantly, the heroes and heroines of these novels are truly young adults: while they have a childish curiosity and innocence, they also have some qualities more commonly associated with adults, such as aggression, jealousy, and sexual desire. The “young adult boom” of the 2000s was heralded as a sea change in cultural sensibilities, and a mark of the new cultural and economic influence of 13- through 18-year-old readers.
Key Facts about Divergent
  • Full Title: Divergent
  • Where Written: Chicago, Illinois
  • When Published: April 25, 2011
  • Literary Period: The young adult “boom” of the 2000s
  • Genre: Young adult fiction, science fiction
  • Setting: Futuristic Chicago / “the city”
  • Climax: Beatrice convinces Tobias not to shoot her
  • Point of View: First person (Beatrice Prior), present-tense

Extra Credit for Divergent

Best break ever: Veronica Roth wrote the first draft of Divergent in less than a month. This would be impressive in any case, but it’s especially so considering that the month in question was Veronica’s winter break during her senior year of college. That’s right—at the same time that her classmates were binge-watching Netflix, Roth was writing the book that would make her a millionaire.

Choices, choices: Veronica Roth has an unusual family background. Her grandparents were raised Jewish, but her parents rejected all religious labels, and didn’t raise their children to follow any organized religion. When Roth was in high school, she made a major change in her life by deciding to become a Christian. It’s possible to interpret Beatrice Prior’s decision to leave her parents’ community and join Dauntless as a science-fiction version of Roth’s decision to join the Christian church.