Rather badly beaten up from her failure in her first fight that puts her out at the bottom so she must valiantly work hard to make her way to the top (a trope I actually rather appreciate after reading two books of Zoey never failing at anything ever in House of Night) [Ariel says: I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed this. I love a good underdog story!], Tris takes comfort in the kindness of her friends.
Christina just passes me a muffin and crouches in front of me to tie my shoes. […] Maybe there is some Abnegation in everyone, even if they don’t know it.
So then everyone would be Diverg- oh my god I’m already sick of pointing this out. It’s like Divergent can’t decide if the point is that being Divergent is normal and human or if being Divergent means you’re different (or special) but that’s okay (or special), and then it can’t resist constantly drawing attention to that. [Ariel says: I couldn’t agree more. My note for this scene was simply, “EVERYONE IS DIVERGENT AS FUCK, OKAY?”] Let’s read about this muffin instead. I bet that won’t tie into an obligatory deeper analysis of the increasingly stupid Faction system.
The muffin is banana-flavored, with walnuts. My mother baked bread like this once to give it to the factionless, but I never got to try it. I was too old for coddling at that point.
Nope. Everything offers a valuable insight into the underlying mechanisms of the Faction system. Also, dang, even being factionless is starting to sound way better than being Abnegation. Less heavy-handed selflessness, free muffins! [Ariel says: Yeah, everyone keeps acting like being factionless is the worst, but muffins, man!! Banana-flavoured, with walnuts nonetheless. And if you don’t want walnuts in yours then you’re divergent.]
Tris gets on the train with some difficulty, because of her injuries, and resident douchebag Peter jokes that she must be “a little… Stiff”. [Ariel says: Immediately following this scene, Peter was offered a full time writing position at Bad Books, Good Times.] Tris has bigger problems:
Every few seconds, though, my eyes shift back to Four. I don’t know what I expect to see, or what I want to see, if anything. But I do it without thinking.
This reminds me of other things you can do without thinking, like knowing that Tris and Four are totally gonna get together by the end of this book. [Ariel says: Damn, Matt and I highlighted the same exact stuff this chapter. My note here was, “She wants to see his penis,” but that was before I remembered this wasn’t erotica.] [Matthew adds: Rather unusual for us.]
Four takes the Dauntless initiates to the fence around the city, which we learn the Dauntless only started protecting five years ago. Before that they patrolled the factionless sector. This nice, subtle suggestion that there’s something more ominous might going on we don’t know about yet (cool!) is interrupted by Tris explaining everything to us again.
The lock [to the gate] is on the outside. I bite my lip. Why would they lock the gate from the outside and not the inside? It almost seems like they don’t want to keep something out; they want to keep us in.
I push the thought out of my head. That makes no sense.
Haha, that would just be silly! HA HA.
We learn that almost all of Dauntless ends up with jobs guarding the fence, and sometimes patrols past the fence (ominous!). Even though Four ranked first in his class, he didn’t want a government job (mysterious!). Suddenly, Amity farmers show up on a truck playing banjos (…folksy?).
Tris reunites with Robert, who she didn’t even notice until now also transferred from Abnegation. [Ariel says: He transferred to Amity, though, so she was probably too overwhelmed to keep track of everyone during the ceremony?] [Matthew adds: Oh, yeah, that’s totally fair. That’s not what I was making fun of. You’ll see in a minute.] She wonders if anyone chose the Abnegation this year. Probably everyone who hates muffins. [Matthew says: It was that. I’m really hung up on this muffin thing.]
Robert gives me a sad look. “[Dauntless] don’t seem like nice people.”
“Some of them aren’t.”
“You could go home, you know. I’m sure Abnegation would make an exception for you.”
“What makes you think I want to go home?” […]
“You should be happy.”
At Abnegation? Robert, these are the “we’re too pious to eat muffins” people.
After Robert leaves on the banjo-playin’ Amity truck (really), Four gives Tris some helpful fighting advice.
“You know, if you could just learn to attack first, you might do better.”
Oh, gee, thanks for the advice, Four.
The Dauntless initiates are suddenly woken up late at night. Tris and everyone initially panic, but then discover they’re just playing capture the flag with paintball guns in the post-apocalyptic ruins of Chicago. Not gonna lie, this sounds awesome.
“What do we get if we win?” someone shouts.
“Sounds like the kind of question someone not from Dauntless would ask,” says Four, raising an eyebrow. “You get to win, of course.”
So is that guy Divergent or- fuck it. Clearly the idea of people not fitting exactly into one personality type isn’t going to be important while the novel is focusing on the idea of people not fitting exactly into one personality type. But, uh… in a different way.
Four and Eric are captains, and Four surprises everyone by picking Tris first. Tris is immediately pissed off because she knows Four just picked her because she’s the weakest. But then Four picks Christina, Will, and Drew. So obviously he’s-
If Four isn’t trying to prove something by choosing the weak, what is he doing? […] What do we have in common?
…yeah. Anyway, as I was about to say-
We all share the same body type: narrow shoulders, small frames. All the people on Eric’s team are broad and strong. […] We will all be faster than Eric’s team.
DAMMIT, TRIS. STOP EXPLAINING EVERYTHING.
Al sadly goes to join the team of proto-Eric douchebags, and the teams split up. Four’s team goes to Navy Pier (the part of Chicago with that ferris wheel, for those of you who could use context) and start arguing about strategy, while Tris does whatever this is supposed to be:
There’s nothing especially brave about wandering dark streets with no flashlight, but we are not supposed to need help, even from light. We are supposed to be capable of anything. I like that. Because there might come a day when there is no flashlight
Following this logic, you could justify drinking a jar of urine every day because someday you could hypothetically have to drink a jar of urine. [Ariel says:Yeah! Like why don’t the Dauntless all stop showering too because someday they might not have access to hot water? That actually seems probable in this society. Actually, I’m shocked Abnegation showers as it’s probably selfish to use water other people could be using.] LIVE LIKE EVERYTHING SUDDENLY GOT REALLY SHITTY FOR SOME REASON.
Eventually Tris starts doing things that make sense again and realizes she can climb to the top of the ferris wheel to try to look for where the other team is hiding their flag. Four notices what she’s doing and joins her, which means it’s time to meet this chapter’s quota of Four getting Tris all hot and bothered.
Something about him makes me feel like I am about to fall. [Ariel adds: IN LOVE.]
Tris tries not to be distracted by Four’s sexiness and fall to her death, while Four tries to tutor her, asking her what she thinks the point of the exercise is and why the other kids are fucking it up, which is kind of hilarious. At the top of the ferris wheel, they spot the other team’s flag, but Tris gets stuck climbing back down and Four is forced to give away their position by turning the ferris wheel on to bring her back down to safety, which is full of riveting suspense you’re not even remotely getting from this summary.
Tris suddenly becomes a master field tactician and leads them to victory. Also paintballs get shot and stuff. Look, what am I supposed to write about a pure action scene? Nothing weirdly catty and out-of-character has happened for a while.
As I run, I realize that only one of us will get to touch the flag, and it won’t matter that it was my plan and my information that got us to it […]
“Come on, Tris,” [Christina] says. “You’re already the hero of the day. And you know you can’t reach it anyway.”
She gives me a patronizing look […] I try to forget
Oh, there we go. Thanks for the smooth transition into some Mean Girls shit! [Ariel says: Okay but at least Christina isn’t the equivalent of one of Zoey’s groupies – I mean, friends.]
Four and some of the other fully-fledged Dauntless congratulate Tris on her success and her strategic smarts. Peter, Other Douchebag, and Other Other Douchebag sit quietly in the corner of the train, humiliated by their defeat from Four’s team of underdogs despite being on Eric’s team of physical strength.