I don’t know how I forgot about this, but ages ago I read an excerpt of Divergent except it was told from Four’s point of view. I looked it up tonight, and apparently it’s from a series of short stories called Four: A Divergent Collection. Just to clear things up, though, there are actually five short stories in the collection, one of which is “the knife throwing scene.” I don’t know about you, but there was nothing in that scene that has haunted me, no unanswered questions that I thought could only be teased out if we just got to see through Four’s eyes. [Matthew says: I do! I wonder if he mansplains everything even to himself.]
From what I can tell, none of the short stories centers on the fight Tris and Four had last chapter, thank god. No one needs to read that nonsense twice.
The chapter opens with Tris sitting on a mattress in a hallway, doing nothing in particular, when she’s accosted by someone who claims to have been in the previous book.
“Okay, what the hell are you doing here?” […]
I look up. Lynn—who I first met when she stomped on my toes in a Hancock building elevator—stands over me with raised eyebrows.
Ah, yes, of course! How could I forget such an influential character whose pivotal moment in the series are remembered by all.
Lynn is annoyed that Tris is acting like she doesn’t know her Dauntless brethren by abstaining from hanging out with them. [Matthew says: Or actually doesn’t know them, because who’s Lynn?] I could see how Tris might be a little apprehensive given she’s just confessed to all of her secrets, and she might want a little time to herself.
“I’m just doing Christina a favor.”
“Christina.” Lynn snorts. “She’s a lovesick puppy. People die. That’s what happens in war. She’ll figure it out eventually.”
“Yeah, people die, but it’s not always your good friend who kills them.”
“Whatever.” Lynn sighs impatiently.
They’re completely different series, but I feel like Raegan/America (oh my god, I just noticed that Raegan was an AMERICAN president – it’s a conspiracy!) just got transported into this story. It’s another conspiracy! Jamie McGuire and Veronica Roth are in cahoots.
The Dauntless appear to be sharing one large room with a bunch of bunk beds. Lynn tells her brother he needs to find somewhere else to sleep, so Tris can have his bunk.
“Hec,” she says, “you’re going to have to find another bunk.”
“What? No way,” he says without looking up. “I’m not relocating again just because you want to have late-night pillow chats with one of your stupid friends.”
“She is not my friend,” snaps Lynn. I almost laugh. She’s right—the first thing she did when she met me was stomp on my toes.
I don’t think we should be emphasising that was the first thing she did given that was also the last thing she did until we were reintroduced to her five seconds ago. Maybe, just maybe, it’s more accurate to say they’re not friends because they haven’t interacted beyond this one foot-stomping moment.
We learn in this scene that some members of Dauntless, like Lynn’s brother, are frightened of Divergent because of the stories they’ve heard about them, while other people like Lynn think the stories are bullshit. We also learn that Uriah’s brother Zeke was a traitor and with the evil half of Dauntless. There is only one person I think of when I hear the name Zeke.
Anyway, now we’ve firmly established that the brother, who we don’t know, of a character we don’t really know is evil, and that another brother, who we don’t know, of a character we don’t really know is afraid of Divergent people. This is the kind of non-stop action this book has continued to be full of! [Matthew says: I can’t wait until the obligatory “everybody gets killed off in the last book” YA trilogy requirement when Ariel and I are struggling desperately to contextualize four deaths a chapter.]
Lynn tells Tris that she doesn’t actually believe people can be Divergent, and I actually like her theory:
“So how do you explain me being awake during simulations?” I say. “Or resisting one entirely?”
“I think the leaders choose people at random and change the simulations for them.”
“Why would they do that?”
She waves her hand in my face. “Distraction. You’re so busy worrying about the Divergent—like my mom—that you forget to worry about what the leaders are doing. It’s just a different kind of mind control.”
The only hole in the theory is that most of the time it sounds like nobody knows when someone is Divergent, so who exactly is being served by tricking specific people into thinking they’re Divergent? At that point they could just make people be afraid of the Divergent without ever actually doing much about it except for shadily executing a few people who they selected arbitrarily… [Matthew says: I just think it’s hilarious that we’re still got conspiracy theorists in this post-apocalypse… and that the book’s fake science they don’t believe in really doesn’t make any sense…]
After this, Lynn, Tris, Uriah, and Marlene decide they’re going to go out that night and do some surveillance.
“We’ve heard the Erudite keep their lights on all night, which will make it easier to look through their windows. See what they’re doing.”
I’m sorry, do the Erudite live in the apartment complex across the street? Where the fuck are these compounds in relation to one another that it would be so easy to just pop out at night and spy on them? Any what exactly would they even be able to glean without being able to hear anything? Are the Erudite just going to be standing around making really obvious moves like dramatically studying serums and injecting them into people in front of an open window? I think not.
[Matthew says: Maybe it would go something like this:]
Lynn and Tris bond a bit more, watch Uriah and Marlene flirt (and let me tell you, it doesn’t get more compelling than hearing about two characters you know nothing about are flirting. It’s why I love those Disaster books so much, after all), and talk about why Lynn shaved her head.
Lynn wanted people to take her seriously during initiation, but Tris also thinks it’s because she didn’t want to look so damn pretty. Deep!
Tris and Lynn argue a bit over whether or not Dauntless should be more cunning sometimes and use it to their advantage when someone underestimates them. It’s almost as though some people from Dauntless could be cunning…while others weren’t cunning…But, no, then they’d have to be Divergent! Anyway, apparently Tris doesn’t want to say anything she’ll regret during this conversation because,
Lynn is quick to forgive, but quick to ignite, like most Dauntless. Like me, except for the “quick to forgive” part.
It really feels like Roth has just watched a movie or read a book where there was this character that she really liked. And this character is really easy for her to describe, and she feels like she knows her because she just watched this awesome movie. Except we didn’t see this fucking movie, so we don’t know this character at all because they’ve just suddenly shown up in THIS book as though we’re supposed to know her, supposed to know she’s “quick to forgive, but quick to ignite” because Roth knows this character super well, so we should just trust that she’s totally like that!
Just one question. How in the fucking hell would Tris know this about Lynn? That must have been one hell of a foot stomp she gave Tris.
Also, I forgot to mention, Four quickly stopped by during that bonding sesh.
“I’ll see you later,” he mutters. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Thanks for that vote of confidence,” I say, frowning.”
“I didn’t mean that,” he says. “I meant don’t let anyone else do anything stupid. They’ll listen to you.”
Okay, Four, that is obviously not what you fucking meant.
He leans toward me like he’s going to kiss me, then seems to think better of it and leans back, biting his lip. It’s a small act, but it still feels like rejection. I avoid his eyes and run after Lynn.
I bet if Veronica Roth wrote about this scene from Four’s point of view it would reveal that Four thought Tris was the one pulling away or that something in her eyes made him stop. But he’s just been such an unrelenting ass these past couple chapters. Just when I thought he was proving to be a more decent love interest than others we’ve had the displeasure of reading about here.
Before Tris and the others can leave, they’re attacking by bad!Dauntless. GASP OH NO.
My question of the week to my American pals is, are you celebrating Thanksgiving next week? To everyone else, what holiday are you most looking forward to? It can be any holiday coming up in the future. [Matthew says: Literal interpretations of “the future” are accepted. Please make up a holiday that does not exist yet if you are so inclined.]