Everything Is Super Depressing Now: Divergent Chapter 36

Chapter 36

Tris’s mom showed up to save Tris after previously being in a grand total of like seventeen pages of the entire book and was immediately killed off, which would be sort of like if they killed off John C. Reilly’s comic relief minor character in Guardians of the Galaxy and playing it like the big sad moment.

As opposed
As opposed to when it DID kill off the similarly barely-in-the-movie character on the right and DID play it off like a big sad moment. Yeah, I didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy. COME AT ME, INTERNET.

Okay, I fully admit I’m being too critical. It was a sad moment, despite certain narrative shortcomings. So here’s Tris being a legitimate badass motherfucker:

The bullet hits the brick wall to my right, and pieces of brick spray everywhere. I throw myself around the corner and click a bullet into the chamber of my gun.
They killed my mother.

Not even a sarcastic "young adult fiction, motherfucker" from me. This writing merits a full "yippee ki yay, motherfucker"!
Not even a sarcastic “young adult fiction, motherfucker” from me. This writing merits a full “yippee ki yay, motherfucker”!

And that’s it for Tris’s moment of badass revenge, because that’s when things immediately get even more depressing.

The man running toward me is not a man, he is a boy. A shaggy-haired boy with a crease between his eyebrows.
Will. Dull-eyed and mindless, but still Will. He stops running and mirrors me, his feet planted and his gun up.

parks and rec oh fuck

In an instant, I see his finger poised over the trigger and hear the bullet slide into the chamber, and I fire. My eyes squeezed shut. Can’t breathe.
The bullet hit him in the head. I know because that’s where I aimed it. […]
I press my forehead to the wall and scream. After a few seconds I clamp m hand over my mouth to muffle the sound and scream again

Divergent just killed off Tris’s mom and forced Tris to kill a brainwashed Will within four pages. Divergent don’t fuck around. You know, unless there are simulated metaphors to waffle around with. [Ariel says: This makes me so fucking angry. Tris can’t kill Eric who is about to kill Four without a second thought, and he isn’t mind controlled. Yet, Will, her friend, who is not in control of his actions, she kills because she just reacts so quickly to the situation? This is so fucking stupid, I can’t handle it. Not stupid that she reacted in a kill-or-be-killed shitty situation, I just think the Eric situation was also this dire, and I’m still pissed she didn’t kill him. Fuck your storytelling right now, Veronica Roth. Fuck it hard and fuck it fast.]

The book skips ahead to Tris finding the Abnegation hiding place without any trouble, lest it kill off any more characters in the next four pages. There, Tris finds her brother, her father, and Marcus. And some other potential bullet fodder, probably. [Ariel says: It’s a good time to point out they’re all wearing red shirts.] Tris represses her emotions at the sight of Marcus, now knowing the truth about what he did to Four. Caleb gives an arbitrary explanation for why the MacGuffin is the MacGuffin.

“I researched the simulation serum and found out that Jeanine was working to develop long-range transmitters for the serum so its signal could stretch further, which led me to information about Erudite and Dauntless”

"I don't have a good explanation for how I've been studying this stuff for like a month and somehow understood cutting edge mind-control science, though."
“I don’t have a good explanation for how I’ve been studying this stuff for like a month and somehow understood cutting edge mind-control science, though.”

Caleb reveals that once he learned the truth about the dangers of intellectualism the Erudite, he dropped out of their initiation and joined the Glenn Beck camp Abnegation survivors. Somehow. It’s not particularly clear, but there’s an opportunity for character development here, so details like “how is this guy even here right now” aren’t important.

“I’m factionless now.”
“No, you aren’t,” my father says sternly. “You’re with us.”

Suddenly everyone remembers, hey, Tris got shot not that long ago, and her father grabs the first aid kit and removes the bullet. Tris asks how he even knows how to take out a bullet, because not only does Divergent get surprisingly badass during the climax, apparently it’s going to criticize itself for me too. You win this round, book.

Eventually someone asks why Tris’s mom isn’t there, because for some reason this wasn’t everyone’s first question.

I don’t want to deliver this news. I don’t want to have this news to begin with.
“She’s gone,” I say. “She saved me.”
Caleb closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.
My father looks momentarily stricken and then recovers himself, averting his glistening eyes and nodding.
“That is good,” he says, sounding strained. “A good death.” […] [Ariel says: We were there, it really wasn’t.]
Eric called Al’s suicide brave, and he was wrong. My mother’s death was brave.

Having mourned Tris’s mom like she lived, with as small a word count as possible, they’re now free to move on to the problem of how everyone is currently being murdered. Tris explains about the mind control drugs, and that it just happens to not work on her.

Smooth.
Smooth.

“Mind control? So they don’t know that they’re killing everyone right now?” my father asks me, his eyes wide.

Fleshing out characters stops in three… two…

“That’s… awful.” Marcus shakes his head. His sympathetic tone sounds manufactured to me. “Waking up and realizing what you’ve done…”

Why is everybody in this book either a beautiful ray of sunshine or a terrible monster? I would still believe that Marcus isn’t a great person if he were allowed to be genuinely horrified at this genuinely horrifying thing. [Ariel says: It seems like he’s about to follow this up with, “Waking up and realizing what you’ve done…I on the other hand am completely in control of my evil actions, so I wouldn’t know anything about that.”]

Tris suddenly figures out that the whole thing is being orchestrated from Dauntless headquarters by piecing together hints from things Janine said, rather than from, I don’t know, how that’s kind of where the entire plan has been carried out so far. Tris comes up with a plan to stop the attack while others plan to go ahead to Amity. [Ariel says: I can’t imagine there’s any sort of pain that some Amity banjo-styling couldn’t cure. I bet Tris’ dad gets there, and he starts asking if anyone wants to jam. Such a dad move.]

I guess I am what I’ve always been. Not Dauntless, not Abnegation, not factionless. Divergent.

REALLY? I HAD NO IDEA UNTIL NOW, 85% OF THE WAY INTO A BOOK WHERE YOU HAVE AND RESOLVE AN IDENTITY CRISIS AS A WAY TO TRANSITION BETWEEN SCENES. [Ariel says: She just had this same revelation last chapter! We fucking get it!!]

This week’s very Divergent-themed question: What’s your favorite kind of cake?

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  1. Hanna Reply

    Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte. I learned to make it in Germany. European cakes make American cakes seem like sugary trays of packing peanuts.

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  2. Beatriz Reply

    I like white cake with chocolate frosting, so I must be divergent as fuck.

    But there’s something I’ve wanted to say sine the mind controlling drug showed up. I hope I make sense:

    I would have no problems if the Divergent thing was about resistance to mind drugs. Let’s say Divergent people are just people with different brain chemistry, and it had nothing to do with choice. That could scare the government, because at some point they might want to control the population trough drugs and those people would get in the way. So Jasmine is just so crazy villain who wants to exterminate a whole faction, so she’d actually also be a government enemy. And as a side story, you could just show how the faction system would colapse in itself because no one can be fit in a single characteristc and the Divergents wouldn’t be the cause of that, but everyone. Because everyone is more than just one thing.So when the drugs showed up, I thought that was going to be what the book was about, and I thought “this is a good idea”. Like, if it was explained that the first simulation had nothing to do with your choice, but with your brain chemistry. So Tris test would’ve been messed up because her brain didn’t accept the drug

    The way as it is, as you pointed out, makes the simple act of changing from your birth faction, a Divergent act. And the first simulation giving one thing, and you chosing other. Everthing is Divergent, if being divergent is about choice. I think this book could’ve been good if it make very explicit that Divergent was an actual, physical ability, that has nothing to do with choices.

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  3. Pingback: Return to Dauntless Headquarters: Divergent Chapter 37 | Bad Books, Good Times

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