At the end of the last chapter, the gang decided that they need to eavesdrop when the head of Candor (Jack) has his meeting with Jeanine. I’m sure they’ll definitely choose an open location that is optimised for eavesdroppers. Out of courtesy for said eavesdroppers of course.
Tris and co hang out in the dining hall while waiting for their chance to listen in on this big conversation between Jack and Jeanine – which sounds like the title of a terrible sitcom. Instead of discussing how exactly they’re going to go about accomplishing this, they talk about whether or not things will go back to normal after this is all over. [Matthew says: You know, the normal where they arbitrarily divided society into semi-permeable categories based on their genetics they chose except they’re their genetics.] But this only goes on for a couple lines before some morons walk by and tell Fourbias he’s a coward again.
Luckily Lauren (another Dauntless pal who trained the Dauntless-born initiates), has some wise words:
“What idiots,” says Lauren. “And the Candor, for making you spill your life story for everyone to see … they’re idiots too.”
I like you enough to now remember who you are, Lauren. Well done!
Tobias, he ain’t gonna take it. NO. He ain’t gonna take it anymore.
“This needs to stop,” he says distantly, and starts toward whatever it is he’s looking at before I figure out what it is. This can’t be good.
He slips between the tables and the people like he’s more liquid than solid, and I stumble after him, muttering apologies as I push people aside.
And then I see exactly who Tobias is headed toward.
The assholes who were making fun of him for virtually no reason, right?
Marcus. He is sitting with a few of the older Candor.
Tobias reaches him and grabs him by the back of the neck, wrestling him from his seat. Marcus opens his mouth to say something, and that is a mistake, because Tobias punches him hard in the teeth.
Okay, I mean, I can see where this is coming from emotionally. But I don’t see how this is going to put a stop to the bullying. [Matthew says: Or why they’re bullying him for being physically abused in the first place?]
Someone shouts, but no one rushes to Marcus’s aid. We are in a room full of Dauntless, after all.
Just in case you had forgotten we weren’t in Amity anymore, Toto. Actually, if you had forgotten we’d blown that popsicle stand, I wouldn’t have blamed you because it’s pretty indistinguishable. They’re all Hufflepuff to us. [Matthew says: Or in case you’d forgotten that Dauntless is the “douchebags you went to high school with” faction.]
Tobias gets Marcus on the ground and starts beating him with his belt. He even says the old, “This is for your own good” line, which Tris recognizes from Foubias’ fear landscape.
Then the belt flies through the air and hits Marcus in the arm. Marcus’s face is bright red, and he covers his head as the next blow falls, this one hitting his back. All around me is laughter, coming from the Dauntless tables, but I am not laughing, I cannot possibly laugh at this.
I get that Dauntless are supposed to behave a certain way, because that’s what makes them Dauntless and fit into this faction, but this doesn’t seem like the reaction I’d expect them to have. Being brave, courageous, daring and even emotionally detached–which I haven’t seen any real evidence that Dauntless actually are emotionally detached or tougher than any other faction. Occasionally there’s some bravado about it, but they all seem to behave like regular emotion-having folk–doesn’t translate into laughing at a scene like this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they watched in stony silence, but but this scene just makes them seem like fucking idiots.
As Tris is trying to get Four to stop, she has one of her dramatic realisations, which we know is dramatic because each sentence has it’s very own, unnecessary line. She realises that this wasn’t something that happened in the heat of the moment, it was planned!
It’s time for Four to mic drop anyway.
He drops the belt and reaches into his pocket. From it he takes a silver chain with a ring dangling from it. Marcus is on his side, gasping. Tobias drops the ring onto the ground next to his father’s face. It is made of tarnished, dull metal, an Abnegation wedding band.
“My mother,” says Tobias, “says hello.”
FOURBIAS OUT, YO!
Tris chases him out of the room, and Veronica Roth seizes this moment to ensure that she isn’t the only writer in the world not to take advantage of the majestic and timeless elevator.
“What was that?” I demand.
Tobias presses the DOWN button for the elevator and doesn’t look at me.
Fourbias accuses Tris of feeling sorry for Marcus.
“No,” I say quietly. “No, I don’t feel sorry for him, not at all.”
“Then what, Tris?” His voice is rough; it could be the thing that breaks me. “You haven’t cared about what I do or say for the past week; what’s so different about this?”
What are Tris and Four even fighting about at this point? Who cares, let’s continue to use elevators to indicate the state of their relationship.
The elevator beeps as it arrives. He gets on, and presses the CLOSE button so the doors shut between us. I stare at the brushed metal and try to think through the last ten minutes.
Tris, like me, is unsure what exactly Four’s motivation was for attacking Marcus. [Matthew says: And why he suddenly decided to do in reaction to people whose motivation I’m also unsure of.]
This needs to stop,” he said. “This” was the ridicule, which was a result of the interrogation, where he admitted that he joined Dauntless to escape his father. And then he beat up Marcus—publicly, where all the Dauntless could see it.
Why? To salvage his pride? It can’t be. It was far too intentional for that.
I know she keeps telling us how super intentional and planned it was, and I know we’re meant to just take Tris’ word on this one, [Matthew says: As we are all male characters. Carry on.] but I still feel like she should still be unsure about this right now. Because there’s a difference between Four wanting to attack Marcus that way, and think about it so much that his actions seemed deliberate, but the way he reacted right after the Dauntless made fun of him did make it seem like a moment acted out in unplanned anger.
Afterwards, Tris goes to find Marcus and tell him he needs her help to get information from Jeanine. I’m really not sure at this point what sets Tris apart from every other Divergent person (including Marcus). Why exactly does he need her help?
“I don’t know where you get this delusion that I’m useless, but that’s what it is,” I snap. “And I’m not interested in hearing about it. All I want to say is that when you stop being delusional and start feeling desperate because you’re too inept to figure this out on your own, you know who to come to.”
Well that didn’t clear up anything at all! There are plenty of other people in this book who have shown bravery and courage and divergence. Why is Tris the one Marcus can’t live without?