Divergent

Divergent Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tris is about to begin her second hallucination simulation, accompanied by Four once again. She sees herself in a shadowy room: it’s the Pit floor, next to the chasm over the water. Tris sees her peers, and notices a mirror in the distance. Suddenly, Four appears, smiling. Tris feels her legs locking into the ground, and the room slowly fills with water. Tris is about to drown, and her friends laugh and point at her. As water floods into Tris’s lungs, she tells herself that she’s only imagining herself drowning.
At this point, the presence of a mirror should tell us right away that Tris is going through an important stage of self-examination. Sure enough, Tris is about to undergo psychological testing designed to probe her for fear and anxiety of any kind. Notably, Tris is frightened of group exclusion: she’s so desperate to be accepted as Dauntless that she can’t bear the thought of being turned away.
Themes
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Fear, Bravery, and Maturity Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality 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 her Divergent characteristics in future simulations, or else risk being killed.
There’s no explanation for how Four knows that Tris is Divergent (frankly, there hasn’t yet been an explanation of what Divergence is, beyond an inability to pass a test). Nevertheless, it’s once again affirmed that Divergence is dangerous to the government, which encourages the city to divide into discrete (i.e., non-Divergent) groups.
Themes
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
After her simulation, Tris goes to visit 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 explains that Tris has a very special condition, and she’s capable of recognizing that some of her experiences aren’t real. Tori adds that Tris is capable of manipulating her simulations, or ignoring them entirely. Finally, Tori tells Tris that Divergents who are also Dauntless tend to die. The Dauntless government kills Divergents, but Tori has deleted all records of Tris’s Divergence from Dauntless records: the only people who know about Tris’s condition are Tori, Natalie, Four, and Tris herself. Tori mentions that her own brother was Divergent. He was found dead in the Chasm, supposedly an accident.
Tori gives us a little more information about Divergence here. The government considers Divergents are dangerous because they’re immune to mind control or mental manipulation. In other words, Divergence doesn’t just mean “well-roundedness”; it’s also a mental state with its own unique abilities. Essentially, “Divergents” are like the protagonists of coming-of-age novels (or any young person trying to grow into their own unique identity): brave, self-motivated, capable of thinking for themselves, and uncertain about both authority and their own identities.
Themes
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Tris doesn’t really understand her own situation. She asks Tori why the Dauntless government cares about people manipulating their own hallucinations. Tori admits that she doesn’t know. 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.
This is Roth’s way of acknowledging that we still don’t know exactly what Divergence is: all we really know is that it’s dangerous to a government that insists upon classifying people. It’s strangely appropriate that Divergence—the state of being indefinable, at least by government standards—is itself undefined in this book!
Themes
Identity, Choice, and Divergence Theme Icon
Competition, Groups, and Rivalries Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
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