The Not at All Ominous Bureau of Genetic Welfare: Allegiant Chapters 13 & 14

Allegiant Chapter 13: Tris

The world outside the fence is…pretty anticlimactic. [Matthew says: Clarification: The world outside the big circle of signs with Xs on them.]

There is no life in it, as far as I can see; no movement, no sound but the wind and my own footsteps.

It’s like the landscape is an interrupted sentence, one side dangling in the air, unfinished, and the other, a completely different subject.

What in fuck’s name does that metaphor even mean? Is the interrupter’s sentence the completely different subject or the other half of the unfinished sentence? Tris may as well have said, “It’s like the landscape was a cake, only if the cake was decorated one way on one side and another way on the other side.”

You’d think that Roth would have quickly realized that this is just not working and moved on, but no:

On our side of that sentence is empty land, grass and stretches of road. On the other side are two concrete walls with half a dozen sets of train tracks between them. Up ahead, there is a concrete bridge built across the walls, and framing the tracks are buildings, wood and brick and glass, their windows dark, trees growing around them, so wild their branches have grown together.”

Really what the fuck kind of sentence is she referring to?

They decide to follow the aforementioned train tracks because they have nothing better to do at this point except maybe go back to that first half of the sentence. [Matthew says: If the first half of the sentence was the setting of the first two Divergent books, then ]

Johanna and Robert (who?) say their goodbyes and head back to the city. Tris is like, “Oh, I guess they have rebels to organize. Bai!” Instead, she’s more interesting in the god damn train tracks:

The tracks are not like the ones in the city. They are polished and sleek, and instead of boards running perpendicular to their path, there are sheets of textured metal. Up ahead I see one of the trains that runs along them, abandoned near the wall. It is metal-plated on the top and front, like a mirror, with tinted windows all along the side. When we draw closer, I see rows of benches inside it with maroon cushions on them. People must not jump on and off these trains.

This would be like if you regularly pooped on the roof of your car, and then later on you saw a convertible with its top down and you were like, “Wow! People must not shit on top of these cars.”

Tris and her pals take in the wonders around them like billboards. To drive this point home, Tris tells us, “I don’t understand, “vodka” and “Coca-Cola” and “energy drink.” The colors and shapes and words and pictures are so garish, so abundant, that they are mesmerizing.”

I can completely understand why she’d be confused by Coca-Cola and even vodka, but energy drink is pretty self-explanatory and there are pictures accompanying the words. So she could probably deduce that Coca-Cola and vodka are beverages. Presumably if there was a billboard for Oreos, she’d see the fucking oreos and be like, “Oh they’re cookies.” This is not mystifying stuff, people. [Matthew says: Maybe except for the vodka one. Vodka ads are fucking weird.]

Matthew says: And from that day forth, Tris wondered if she would ever find a pair of thigh-high vodkas.
Matthew says: And from that day forth, Tris wondered if she would ever find a pair of thigh-high vodkas.

People abruptly show up, and things get weird:

“Hello,” she says, and smiles nervously. “My name is Zoe. This is Amar.”

She jerks her head to the side to indicate the driver, who has gotten out of the truck too.

“Amar is dead,” Tobias says.

“No, I’m not. Come on, Four,” Amar says.

Tobias’s face is tight with fear. I don’t blame him. It’s not every day you see someone you care about come back from the dead.

For like five minutes I just sat here trying to remember who Amar was, until I remembered Four only recently told us he’d been his Dauntless instructor who was killed for being divergent as fuck. Forgive me if I’m not floored a character who was only just briefly introduced from someone’s memory (with no interesting details included at all) is not actually dead.

parks and rec craig who even are you

[Matthew says: As bored as Ariel and I are by this book, can we consider how even the character coming back from the dead right now is bored as tits? “No, I’m not. Come on, Four.” Get this man some coffee. He’s got a long day of pretending to give a shit about his own existence ahead of him.]

After being addressed by Zoe, Tris wonders how Zoe knows her Dauntless nickname. Then Zoe shows her a picture that has Tris’ mother in it, and everyone is like OMG except for me.

Allegiant Chapter 14: Fourbias

Fourbias eloquently tells us about his feelings:

I want this new reality to be a simulation that I could manipulate if I could only make sense of it. But it’s not, and I can’t make sense of it.

I really want this book to become more interesting so I could enjoy it. But it’s not, and I’m not enjoying it.

Fourbias, still reeling over the revelation that a character we gave no shits about isn’t actually dead, thinks back to when Amar was training him to be Dauntless by repeatedly shouting, “Adapt!!!!” at him. Which sounds about as effective as a math teacher standing at the front of the room just screaming, “MULTIPLY!!!!!”

They drive by some big trees and a couple black birds, and Fourbias actually thinks, “This is a wild world.” And I laugh for like 20 minutes because they fucking must have had black birds in the city because Tris has a tattoo of one. But then a lion launches itself at the car and rips everyone to shreds, and I have to agree that it’s a wild world and a satisfying conclusion to the series.

Just checking to see if you were awake. Anyway, they wind up being taken to a place ominously called “The Bureau of Genetic Welfare” which is not tricking anybody by using the word “Welfare” in its name.

“Welcome to the compound,” says Zoe. “This building used to be O’Hare Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country. Now it’s the headquarters of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare—or just the Bureau, as we call it around here. It’s an agency of the United States government.”

I feel my face going slack. I know all the words she’s saying—except I’m not sure what an “airport” or “united states” is—but they don’t make sense to me all together. I’m not the only one who looks confused—Peter raises both eyebrows as if asking a question.

Tris an co soon learn about air travel, and I’m sure their first thoughts are about whether or not they can jump on and off planes like trains.

Zoe implores everyone to just take note of anything they don’t understand and ask her later, which I’m grateful for because it means we don’t have to sit through multiple chapters where Fourbias and Tris are like, “What’s a taco?”

They go through a security checkpoint, and then it’s time for another misused metaphor:

We walk for a long time, deeper into the compound, and then Zoe stops, facing us.

Behind her is a large circle of blank screens, like moths circling a flame.

Behind her is a large circle of blank screens, like white on rice. Because that makes just as much sense. [Matthew says: So I guess we can assume that post-apocalypse Chicago still has the same colloquialisms? And moths?]

They meet David, leader of the Bureau, and he’s like, “THIS IS THE MOMENT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.”

Can you think of more stupid metaphors that don’t fit these situations at all? Please share.

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0 comments

  1. amoamy Reply

    This is hilarious. I love your commentary. Yeah, whenever I begin reading a metaphor or even a lengthy description, my eyes usually glaze over and skip to the next bit of dialogue (because of this, I don’t remember much of the text you’ve quoted here). Although, can I point out that the moths circling a flame metaphor does sort of make sense. Moths are attracted to light, which means that, if in a dark room there was one source of light and that would be this hypothetical flame, the moths would indeed circle around it much like these screens that apparently surround Zoe.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m really glad you’re enjoying 🙂

      I definitely see your point about if the room was dark…but I don’t think that they say anything about the room they’re in being dark or that the computer screens look like they’re attracted to Zoe (which, weird). Usually my eyes glaze over the metaphors in this series, but I was being extra vigilant when I wrote this for once 😉

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      • bookbaron Reply

        That metaphor would make more sense if they, the watchers, were encircled around one bright computer monitor- like moths to a flame. It would also imply that whatever they were about to see is dangerous and create an onimous cliff hanger. I suck at metaphors but even I thought up a better one than computers loving Zoe (which makes no sense).

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  2. Bellomy Reply

    Fourbias, still reeling over the revelation that a character we gave no shits about isn’t actually dead, thinks back to when Amar was training him to be Dauntless by repeatedly shouting, “Adapt!!!!” at him.

    CONSTANT VIGILANCE

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      Hahaha exactly!

      Finalllly started watching more Justified again last night, thought you’d be pleased 😉

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      • Bellomy Reply

        You were correct. Season 3 is most notable for two episodes, “Thick As Mud” and the finale, “Slaughterhouse”. The whole season is strong but those two episodes are standout. Incidentally, I very highly recommend the AV Club’s reviews, they’re great.

        Something happened during the last episode of “Justified” so incredibly shocking that I think my head is still spinning, and nobody I know cares and it’s killing me.

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        • 22aer22 Reply

          I love the AV Club!!! I’ll definitely have to start reading their Justified reviews as we go along, I read them for all my other shows 😀

          That’s the worst! When you just want someone to freak out with but none of your friends watch the show you love 🙁 I’m sorry I’ll want to freak out about it when you’re already over the shock in the future haha

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  3. DJ Reply

    So they break free from Dystopian Chicago and end up in … O’Hare. Thats not even that far away from the city. You can even see it from the tall buildings in Chicago. And if air travel still exists and O’Hare actively has planes taking off from it surely people living in the city at least saw one.

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