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1-Page Summary of Divergent
In a futuristic, dystopian Chicago, society is organized into five factions. Each faction places value solely on one virtue that its members work to cultivate throughout their lives. There are Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peace), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (honesty) and Dauntless (bravery). Children are raised in their parents’ faction until they turn 16 years old, at which point they have the option of choosing to stay with their original faction or join another one for the rest of their lives.
Beatrice Prior is sixteen years old and lives in Abnegation. She takes a test that will tell her which faction she belongs to, but the results are surprising: she’s Divergent. She must keep it secret from everyone because being Divergent is dangerous. Beatrice decides to switch factions and become Dauntless instead of staying where she was born, in Abnegation. Her brother Caleb moves to Erudite after taking the aptitude test as well.
Beatrice changes her name to Tris because she wants to start a new life and become someone else entirely. She makes friends with Christina, Al, and Will, who are also transfers from other factions. Three Candor transfers (Peter, Drew, and Molly) become her enemies. To be initiated into Dauntless, the courageous faction that Tris has chosen for herself over Amity or Erudite (which have their own initiation processes), there is an initiation process consisting of three stages. Only the top ten initiates will make it into Dauntless; the rest will fail out of this faction and become factionless—forced to live on the streets in poverty without any affiliation whatsoever with one of these four factions—unless they choose to join Abnegation again. The first stage involves learning how to fight from Four (the mysterious instructor) as well as Eric (one of the cruel leaders). Because Tris is small compared with many others in this group who are taller than her by a foot or more, she isn’t very good at fighting; however, she does manage to get by just fine during training sessions despite being smaller than most people here.”
Tris becomes respected when she has an idea to climb the Ferris wheel in order to see the location of the other team during capture-the-flag. Four also begins to notice her, and they develop a relationship. She also gains respect from Eric for volunteering to take Al’s punishment by standing in front of a target while Four throws knives around her.
Tris’s mother comes to visit her in faction. She is suspiciously familiar with Tris’s new home, and tells Tris to go see Caleb in Erudite. Later that day, Al admits that he likes Tris as more than a friend, but she cannot return the sentiment. The next morning everyone receives their rankings for stage one of initiation: Tris is ranked sixth and does not get cut; Peter is second place and chooses Edward to be his partner instead of being partnered with those who are better suited for him. That night Peter stabs Edward in the eye because he doesn’t want to share first place or give up his rank as number two.
In the second stage of initiation, Tris is finally becoming a part of Dauntless. She goes zip lining with other initiates and shows her proficiency in fear simulations. Four slowly starts to open up to her more as well. However, tensions are brewing between Erudite and Abnegation; Al (who used to be an Abnegation member) joins forces with Peter and Drew (both from Erudite) to try and kill Tris because they think she’s a threat. However, Four rescues Tris before he can kill her. After this incident, Al commits suicide because he feels guilty about what happened to his former friends at Abnegation.