Divergent (Divergent, #1) Divergent discussion

the third quarter

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Adam Goldste Ok, I just read about another quarter of the book. This is after Four tells Tris that Erudite and Dauntless are preparing to go to war with Abnegation, something the book had been building up to. I don't really understand how this fits the Erudite principles of logic and knowledge, but I guess that is the point of a dystopian novel. The plot point isn't unexpected but somewhat powerful. Although you get a good look at how bad the rifts between clans are getting when Tris goes to Erudite hq, this drives the point home. This is why I like the development of this dystopian society better than I like Panem. You get to see the change from utopia to dystopia, to get an in depth look at the plunge, as opposed to the short explanation of it in the Hunger Games. Getting to see it happening and getting to see how it effects the characters will be more emotionally involving than the book has been up to this point. So basically, the best part of the book seems to lie ahead. Meanwhile, there is plenty of material in the 3rd quarter of this book. Some of it is bad. Most notably of these bad elements: girl falls for bad boy cliche. Ok, I saw it coming, but still. There were a couple more bad plot holes (How could her mother know what the trials were, even if she was Dauntless-born? The Dauntless born initiates didn't know, so how could she have?) and some leaps of logic (why did Al join in on the attack?) but overall, the book improved on itself. As I said before, the overall conflict sounds like it will be interesting, but during the part of the book I read, the interactions between characters escalating was the interesting part. I mentioned Al above. He dies. He commits suicide after joining an attack on Tris. His course of action is bizarre, but before hand the author shows how hard the second round was on him so when he commits suicide, we all feel for him. Tris' other friends don't change as much as Al does, but a relationship forms between Christina and Will, something I wasn't expecting before I read that section. I think the author did a good job with the forming of that relationship, it seemed both more realistic and less cliched than the relationship between Tris and Four. Unfortunately, the antagonists all seem to remain card board cutouts. Oh well, can't have them all. Strangely, the most interesting relationship to me is the relationship between Eric and Four. We know why Eric especially hates Four, but They seem to grow even more hostile towards each other as the book moves on. I really hope the author expands on that more later. The effects of divergence on Tris' hallucinations are interesting, but the significance hasn't been explained yet. That will probably be explained later on in the book. So many things I'm looking forward to. I hope the end is good.

Kristen Well....without giving any spoilers, I will tell you that I also think having Erudite head the whole conflict was a plot hole.
Unfortunately, having finished the series, that's just the tip of the plot hole iceberg.
The next book is just as good as the first, but if you attempt to overthink the third, or make much sense of the basic plot at all, you'll be disappointed.
Still, I think the writing is good and all, but just a heads up for that one.

Actually, the thing about Tris' mom isn't really a plot hole. But that's not revealed till later.

And I also though it was out of character for Al to be in on the attack on Tris. He was so adverse to hurting people, he let them beat the crap out of him in the first round of fights.
But maybe he just reached his breaking point. He realized that his entire life was about to be ruined and that by getting rid of Tris, he might have a shot.
Or maybe he knew either way, he'd still be factionless, but his ego was too bruised.

Whatever the reason, I don't factor suicide out of someone's character who's already shown that kind of cowardice.

And just a warning, don't get too attached to any of the characters...

message 3: by Marci (last edited Nov 27, 2013 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marci It's never that clear why Erudite goes to war, but as I see it, the book is essentially how powerful complexity and simplicity both are. The former is a force for good, and the latter is a force for destruction.

By being so devoted to one principle, the factions are destroying that which they originally held dear. For Erudite, this quest for knowledge is boundless and because a matter of superiority. It becomes a power quest that Abegnation is inhibiting by being the faction in power.

Also, I second the warning.

Kristen I get that the Erudite can easily become arrogant and power hungry - as I think is the case with Jeanine and Eric. But it's out of character for most Erudites to blindly follow the way they did with Jeanine.
From birth, pretty much, they are taught to question absolutely everything. That knowledge is good, and that evil stems from concealing knowledge or remaining ignorant. So when (view spoiler). I can see dauntless being the ones that turn into power hungry dictators. Maybe even Candor. But it doesn't fit with Erudite. Jeanine sure, but not the majority or even very many of them.

Marci In college, I lived with someone who thought that she was the pinnacle of all human knowledge and failure to agree with her merely meant that you were stupid or weren't as well-read as her.

Essentially, intelligence became blindly following whatever she read on tumblr because that was her source and almost her bible. So insert Erudite leadership where tumblr goes and multiply by a vast population and you have Erudite.

Kristen Well, it's arguable whether your roommate was actually intelligent or just thought she was. This world is overflowing with people who assume that they're smarter than they really are.
Accepting everything you read online suggests to me the opposite. Part of intelligence is skepticism - knowing that whatever you hear might not be true and has to be verified. That's the entire basis of science. For something to become "science" it has to be proven.

With Erudite, it wasn't just people who thought they were real smart. They had routine intelligence tests. They're taught to find the 'why' and question a hypothesis from the time they could talk.

And while all the factions have their flaws, not everyone displays those flaws. Erudite have a tendency to be arrogant. But not all Erudites are arrogant. Dauntless have a tendency to become cruel, but not all the Dauntless are cruel.

So while maybe a few of the Erudites would have genuinely blindly followed, I really doubt it would be more than a handful.

I can buy the majority of Erudites becoming calloused - the idea of conducting experiments regardless of the effect they have on people, but I find it hard to believe that they would have thought killing off a bunch of people was ever the answer. There's no logical reason for it. Especially when people can be useful, whatever that might mean. And especially not when they had access to so many serums altering memory and behavior.

Marci It doesn't necessarily matter if you are intelligent or just think you are. You're still devoted to the trait. You can pusue a sick version of intelligence. And by questioning Abegnation rule, they are questioning why. Why are things the way they are? Why do we need them?

What you are describing is this more moderate view of intelligence and what it means to search for knowledge as well as the disjunction between bravery and cruelty. These are the innate traits of such things. However, over-concentration has destroyed that which it professed to breed.

Tris's parents aren't the first to live in this system. It has gone on for awhile. These virtues are continually extorted. Consequently, it is possible that arrogance and intelligence have blended as have bravery and cruelty, which created an inescapable situation.

As for the killing,it's a final and permanent solution, not an ideal one.

Kristen Marci wrote: "It doesn't necessarily matter if you are intelligent or just think you are."

Yeah, actually, it kind of does. It's the difference between accepting everything you read on Facebook or Wiki or Goodreads and actually knowing facts. People who believe themselves to be smarter than they are can cling to false information because they failed to question its validity. Which is ignorance, not intelligence.

"And by questioning Abegnation rule, they are questioning why. Why are things the way they are? Why do we need them? "

That's the whole problem. They didn't question. They acted without questioning. They believed propaganda and naively followed a murderer.
At most, Erudite behavior would have taken Abnegation out of political power. There's no logical reason to kill them in that scenario.
The only reasons Jeanine wanted them dead was because they knew what was on the video and because of their high divergent population. Which, again, goes against Erudite's instincts by concealing information and getting rid of divergent people to study and learn about.

" it is possible that arrogance and intelligence have blended as have bravery and cruelty, which created an inescapable situation."

Yes, but not everyone displays those characteristics. Cruelty has nothing to do with genes and how many generations of dauntless have been in the family. It has to do with your personality and ability to curb the bad tendencies inside you.

"As for the killing,it's a final and permanent solution, not an ideal one. "

Again I point out, it wasn't a solution for a typical Erudite. Dauntless or Candor maybe.
Erudite would see killing people in that way as illogical since it's a waste of life and/or resources. At the very least, they could have been used for experiments. Particularly on the divergent issue.

Marci Except trying to figure out a way to change the nature of Abnegation would have required a lot of time and resources, which they probably did have at their disposal yes, but it was a lot quickier to make the Dauntless more killer-y than it was to make the Abnegation change.

And if the Erudite didn't have some compulsion to accept propaganda and doctrine, there wouldn't be a faction divided society. That would have ended a long time ago when someone in Erudite started a chain of events that led them to the refusal of such a divided society.

Kristen They could have easily confiscated the memory serum and used it on Abnegation as a whole. Probably could have been accomplished in a few hours with no wasted resources.
And then you'd have a whole bunch of potential people to use in whichever capacity they best fit.

A belief system isn't propaganda. I could easily imagine people boiling all of the world's problems down to a lack of knowledge. And when you're raised to believe that and you also see all the good that comes from obtaining knowledge - like medicine and technology - I doubt there'd be many people who would question the validity of such a system. Even if they choose to leave the faction.

After all, isn't that sort of the way we are in reality? Why is it against the law for kids not to go to school? Because ignorance is the cause of a whole lot of problems. ie: racism.

On the contrary, an erudite should be the least likely to accept propaganda without hard fast proof. Especially when it means something so severe and extreme.
(view spoiler)

Marci Except ignorance doesn't lead to something like racism. Racism is taught, and then it evolves into a lens through which we see the rest of the world.

That might be a better way of explaining this actually. An erudite will be taught to question the world but can never go entirely beyond his or her frame of reference, a human trait. To defy that would be to defy human nature, which no faction can do.

So then the leadership merely creates a frame of reference through which the Abnegation become a common enemy that they must eliminate.

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