Lauren and Four lead Tris and her fellow recruits down through the Dauntless headquarters. Lauren tells the recruits that the Dauntless-born initiates won’t be given a tour of headquarters, since they already know what it looks like. Four nods, and explains that he’ll be the recruits’ new instructor. Christina laughs at Four’s name, and Four snaps, “The first lesson you will learn from me is to keep your mouth shut!”
The instructors at Dauntless make it clear that they’re not going to go easy on their new recruits. Overall, there is nothing at all comforting or welcoming about Tris’s first introduction to her new “family.”
Four takes the new recruits down in the headquarters. Tris sees children running around—the opposite of the docile children she’s familiar with in Abnegation. Four takes Tris and the others to an enormous Pit, at the bottom of which there’s fast-moving water. Four warns the recruits that a daredevil jump into the water would be deadly.
Four wants his students to be brave and daring, but not to the point where they hurt themselves. Surprisingly, he’s a voice of reason and balance within the Dauntless community: in a place where self-endangerment is celebrated, Four provides some welcome moderation.
The recruits go to the dining hall, where they’re served hamburgers. Tris has never had this food before: she was always taught to eat plain, simple food. Christina asks Four to identify a young man who’s walking between the tables. Four explains that he’s Eric, a young Dauntless leader. Eric approaches Tris and notices her gray Abnegation clothing. He smirks and says, “We’ll see how long you last.” Four turns to Eric and asks him about his position as a trainer. Four tells him “I’m satisfied with the position I currently hold,” and Eric smirks. Tris wonders if Eric and Four are friends or rivals. She asks Four this question, point-blank. Four refuses to answer, and mutters, “Careful, Tris.” Christina finds this amusing.
Right away, there seems to be a special dynamic between Four and Tris: although Four treats most of the recruits as pupils to be coached into success, he behaves a little differently toward Tris. Tris also gets some insight into Four’s place in the Dauntless community (we get the sense that Four could have had Eric’s job, but didn’t accept it because he preferred teaching). That Tris can comment on Four’s position without getting yelled at (like Christina) suggests that Four is more vulnerable than he wants to appear—and also it’s possible that he’s already attracted to Tris.
After dinner, Eric leads the Dauntless transfer recruits to their sleeping quarters. He explains that they’ll be training every day for 9 hours. The transfer recruits will be ranked constantly—and later on, transfers will be ranked against with native-born Dauntless initiates. Eric smiles wickedly and tells his recruits that they’ll need to be successful in their training, or they won’t be given jobs afterwards. He also mentions that the majority of recruits will be cut during training, and forced to live factionless.
Eric is the opposite of Four: he’s sadistic, and seems to take great pleasure in the idea of sending the majority of the recruits away from Dauntless, to live a life of poverty and misery. The “stakes” of failure in the Dauntless community inspire Tris and her peers to work much harder—if they fall behind, they could wind up as social outcasts.
Tris sleeps in her quarters. She’s never slept in the same room as a boy, and feels guilty about abandoning her parents. Although she’ll be able to see her family on Visiting Day, she knows that things will never be the same between her and her parents: they’ll always view her with suspicion now. As Tris thinks about all this, she hears a new recruit, Al, weeping in the bed next to hers. This surprises her: she didn’t expect such a big, tough-looking boy to be so weak. At first, Tris wants to comfort the boy. But then she decides not to: she must be tougher.
Tris is frightened and uncertain about her future among the Dauntless, yet she gets a reminder that she’s not alone: she’s far from the only recruit to be terrified of the future. In a way, fear and sadness are the only things that unite Tris with her peers, but Tris tries to show strength by keeping her emotions to herself. She’s already mimicking the other Dauntless, and refusing help to her peers—suppressing the “Abnegation” side of herself.