Back to the Backstory: Allegiant Chapter 22

Chapter 22: Tris

Tris finishes reading the entries in her mom’s file, which as we discovered yesterday, is actually fairly interesting so far. Quite possibly because it doesn’t have any of the series’ melodrama or-

Dear David,
I thought you were more my friend than my supervisor, but I guess I was wrong.
What did you think would happen when I came in here, that I would live single and alone forever? […] It sounds like you’re actually just jealous.

…well at least it still doesn’t have Tris and Four in it. That goes a seriously long way.

Tris’s mom writes on about how she hasn’t lost sight of her mission just because she’s trying to actually live her life while she’s undercover in the experiment, which would certainly prompt an especially interesting Results section of the scientific journal article this ends up in.

Tris finally catches on that maybe David had a thing for her mom.

I can only see their relationship from her eyes, and I’m not sure she’s the most accurate source of information about it.

Which would be a good point until you remember that the other person whose word Tris is considering about the matter is David “definitely not a bad guy” lastname.

The personal entries of the journals end abruptly as Tris’s mom mentions getting David’s letter and understanding “why you can’t be on the receiving end of these updates anymore”. The narrative then meanders aimlessly to reminding us that Evelyn is sort of still in this novel too sort of.

“This is the Evelyn cam. We track her 24/7.” […]
“What is that she’s touching?”
“Some kind of sculpture, I don’t know.” The woman shrugs. “She stares at it a lot, though.”

The sculpture is one that Evelyn gave Four when he was a child. You interested in hearing about a couple pages of a symbol  and its significance being explained to us even though it has only shown up in a grand total of two scenes across the roughly 1200 pages of books? Not at all? Whaaaaat?

Somehow I never realized that when Tobias charged out of the city with me, he wasn’t just a rebel defying his leader— he was a son abandoning his mother. And she is grieving over it. Is he?

This might seem like a weird thing to just sort of forget, but keep in mind the book itself has basically completely forgotten about the civil war that was the entire first two books.

Tris asks Zoe for more backstory, because we’re completely out of ways for this plot to move forward.

“Your father, though a very smart man, never quite got the knack of psychology, and the teacher— an Erudite, unsurprisingly— was very hard on him for it. So your mother offered to help him after school”

spongebob eyebrows

“The Choosing Ceremony was approaching, and your father was eager to leave Erudite because he saw something terrible—”
“What? What did he see?”
“Well, your father was a good friend of Jeanine Matthews,” says Zoe. “He saw her performing an experiment on a factionless man […] she was testing the fear-inducing serum”

Because if there’s one thing that remains to be established right now, it’s that the primary antagonist who was killed off in the last book is a total jerk.

Tris has another completely empty conversation with someone about this whole genes/divergence/whatever thing:

“It seems there’s no escaping the reach of genetic damage. Even the Abnegation leadership was poisoned by it.” [Zoe said]
I frown. “Are you talking about Marcus? Because he’s Divergent. Genetic damage had nothing to do with it.”
“A man surrounded by genetic damage cannot help but mimic it with his own behavior,”

Amazingly, this time it was supposed to not make sense. Amazingly.

Marcus was Divergent— genetically pure, just like me. But I don’t accept that he was a bad person because he was surrounded by genetically damaged people. So was I. So was Uriah. So was my mother. But none of us lashed out at our loved ones.
“Her argument has a few holes in it, doesn’t it,” says Matthew.

Do explain to me how this is significantly different from all the other discussions about genes/factions/divergence that had a few holes in them, uh, Matthew. Ok, can we talk about how the character calling the most bullshit on the premise of this book has the same name as me? This is super weird.

IS THIS CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK BASED ON ME? WE CAN'T PROVE HE ISN'T.
IS THIS CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK BASED ON ME? WE CAN’T PROVE HE ISN’T.

Matthew continues to explain – I shit you not – that some of the people at the Bureau want to blame genetic damage for everything, but that “they can’t know everything about people and why they act the way they do”. And then explains that Erudite was his favorite faction because “if everyone would just keep learning about the world around them, they would have far fewer problems”. He then gives Tris a biology textbook. GUYS, SERIOUSLY, WHAT AM I DOING IN THIS BOOK?

The scene ends (thankfully, before Matthew starts playing the ukulele and talking about Fifty Shades or the Mountain Goats or something – guys I’m a little freaked out over here) and Tris goes to Caleb, having decided that she can’t keep their mother’s journal from him anymore. Caleb reveals that he also has just found out some secret information that he wants to share with Tris, because nothing happens in this book that isn’t people finding out secret information and sharing it with people.

He takes Tris to the record room and shows Tris the original contract that Edith Prior signed when joining the Chicago experiment. Most of it is information that we already know, but as far as contracts go, it’s interesting how weird it is:

I agree to reproduce at least twice to give my corrected genes the best possible chance of survival. […] I also give my consent for my children and my children’s children, etc., to continue in this experiment.

Caleb is mostly interested in the legal precedent for giving consent on behalf of one’s descendants. Whereas Tris is mostly interested in – you guessed it! – divergence.

the world outside the city is badly broken, and the Divergent need to come out here and heal it. It’s not quite a lie […] But they didn’t need the Divergent to march out of our city like an army to fight injustice and save everyone

Eventually she also remembers she’s mad at Caleb for having helped try to have her killed a few weeks ago, which is also mostly about genetics and factions, because of course it is.

“So I suppose you’ve used this as an excuse in your twisted mind for what you did,” I say steadily. “For joining Erudite, for being loyal to them. I mean, if you were supposed to be one of them all along, then ‘faction before blood’ is an acceptable thing to believe, right?”

Tris angrily leaves Caleb and goes to make out with Fourbias.

Yes, I’m paraphrasing a little bit, but this is the clearest I can make any of this, because we’re 43% of the way through the book and I still have no idea what the narrative is actually supposed to be.

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  1. Dana Reply

    I was so confused by that “Matthew says” line that at first I believed it to be a formatting error. Then I convinced myself you somehow became an actual character in the book just to make snarky comments in the background.

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