Training consists of target practice once more - but this time, with knives. Eric is in a terrible mood because of his team's capture the flag loss. After a bit of practice, everyone manages to hit the target at least once except Al. As punishment, Eric insists that he must go get his knife from the target area while the others are still throwing. Al refuses. Eric grows even angrier and tells him to stand in front of the target while Four throws knives at him until he learns not to flinch. Tris talks back to Eric, and then takes Al's place instead.
Four tries to goad her into giving up while he throws the knives, but when she won't, he throws a knife that nicks her ear. Tris is pretty sure Four cut her on purpose, but she didn't flinch. The punishment is over, and Eric is pleased with her. She confronts Four about it afterward, and he admits that he did nick her intentionally. Then he tells Tris that if he wanted to hurt her, he would have already, and disappears, leaving Tris frustrated and alone.
It's the day before Visiting Day, and Tris doesn't know if her parents will be there, or even if she wants them to. While trying to get dressed, she notices that she's beginning to develop muscles she never had before, and her pants no longer fit. She walks back to the dormitory in her towel, but Peter, Molly, and Drew begin taunting her immediately, and Peter pulls the towel off her, leaving her completely naked. She runs away to the bathroom and decides in some way or another, she'll hurt them.
Tris is paired with Molly for her fight that day, and even though she wanted to go up against Peter, she's satisfied. Tris holds her own against her, and the minute Molly's down she begins to beat her repeatedly. When Molly's face is covered with blood, Four tells her Tris to stop, as she's already won. Tris doesn't feel guilty at all.
At last it's Visiting Day. Eric warns them, "faction before blood". He pulls Tris aside and says he may have underestimated her. Most of the families that show up are Dauntless, but a few of the transfers see their families as well. Peter's parents, Will's sister, and Christina's mother and sister are there. Tris scans the crowd and to her surprise, spots her mother, and runs into her arms. Tris asks about her father, and her mother admits that he was selfish and didn't come. She isn't allowed to visit Caleb, because Abnegation are no longer permitted from entering the Erudite compound. The tension between the two factions is sky high.
Tris introduces her mother to Four, all the while harboring a suspicion that Four transferred from some other faction, since his family isn't there and he's very stiff when shaking hands. Four tells Mrs. Prior that Tris is doing well, and she remarks that he looks a little familiar, but she can't put her finger on it.
Tris also introduces her mother to Will and Christina's families, and Will's older sister Cara gives them a glare; as an Erudite, she is not fond of Abnegation. Cara accuses Mrs. Prior and Abnegation of stealing the food they deliver to the factionless for themselves, while Erudite doesn't get any fresh food. Before Tris can punch her out, her mother steers her away down an empty, dark hallway.
She asks Tris questions about her initiation, and Tris wonders how she knows so much about the process. When Tris says she's ranked near the bottom, her mother is relieved, and says that they won't pay attention to those near the bottom. When she asks about her aptitude test results, Tris admits they were inconclusive, which Mrs. Prior says she expected, since many Abnegation children receive that result. She warns Tris, just like Tori did, to never tell anyone else, and then instructs her to go visit Caleb and ask him to research the simulation serum as soon as initiation is over. Tris is completely perplexed. After her mother leaves, Tris puts two and two together and realizes since her mother knows the compound and the initiation process inside and out, she must have once been Dauntless.
In the dormitory, Al reveals that he hid from his parents because he didn't want them to know how badly his initiation was going. Apparently his parents always wanted him to come to Dauntless, and at first he wanted to, too, because he believes that bravery should be standing up for people, not hurting them for no reason. He makes a comment about feeling braver when he's around Tris, and then tries to put his arm around her, and Tris suddenly realizes that Al has had feelings for her all along. But when she shies away, things become awkward, and Al promptly leaves the room.
In the dining hall, there's a lot of speculation about the ranks that will be released later that day. The conversation turns to aptitude tests, and the Candor transfers realize that Tris is hiding something from them; she did not kill the dog during her aptitude test, which everyone had to do to get Dauntless. Tris says quickly that she didn't get Dauntless - she got Abnegation, which is partly true, and accurate according to the result Tori reported.
Later, Four explains how the ranks work. The second stage of initiation will be weighted more than the ranks they receive for the first stage, which they just completed. He reminds them that in stage two, they will be judged equally with the Dauntless-born initiates.
The rankings for stage one are:
Molly fumes; losing to Tris caused her to plummet in the ranks. Tris assumes that Peter probably isn't satisfied with second place, either. That night in bed, Tris's mind travels to her mother; she wonders why she chose Abnegation, if she had originally been Dauntless. She also wonders about the simulation serum she's supposed to tell Caleb to research, but her thoughts are interrupted with a scuffling sound in the dark dormitory, and a bloodcurdling wail. They turn on the lights to reveal a blade sticking out of Edward's eye. Drew and Peter are nowhere to be found.
Even though Tris and her friends know Peter and Drew are responsible, they can't tell anyone - and the Dauntless wouldn't do anything about it, anyway. They think about how far Dauntless has distanced itself from the honorable ideals it was founded upon. Later that day, they notice that both Edward and Myra's bunks are stripped clean, and their drawers empty; the two have quit initiation. Because of their withdrawals, only two Dauntless-born initiates will be cut. There are only seven transfer initiates left.
In this section, Tris is beginning to grow more and more comfortable in her new Dauntless skin, and we see it in the way she agrees to take Al's place during target practice; this was an act of courage that lives up to the values of the old Dauntless. She's growing more confident in training, and more capable of fighting her own battles. Not only is she mentally changing, but she's even physically changing as well; the muscles she noticed becoming prominent in her legs symbolize how much her new identity has developed since she arrived in Dauntless. She is no longer the same scrawny, scared girl she was when she came in.
The scene in which Peter pulls down Tris's towel serves as a representation of Tris's lingering fears of vulnerability; though she is becoming more and more Dauntless as every day passes, she still hasn't shaken off all of her insecurities about her choice and about her skill as an initiate. When Peter pulls down her towel, she was completely vulnerable, at the mercy of remarks from people who have hated her from the start. Her response to such a situation says a lot about her; rather than succumb to the embarrassment, it made her even more determined to show everyone up in initiation. Her discomfort with nudity also mirrors her agitation over her feelings about Four. Tris is still on the cusp of womanhood.
The events that take place on Visiting Day illustrate both the theme of family and the theme of secrets and lies. For the initiates, this day is a struggle to separate faction loyalty from familial love; they have such ties to the people visiting them, and yet they've become so different in their time in Dauntless that they could never truly be who they once were with their parents and siblings. This is especially true for Tris; in the span of a week or two, the family she once knew has completely fallen apart. Caleb is in Erudite and neither of their parents are allowed to visit, and Tris is stuck in the middle of a grueling Dauntless initiation. Mr. Prior feels too betrayed to even look at his children, and Mrs. Prior is trying to bridge the gap somehow. In the process of developing their identities, the Prior children have unintentionally torn apart their family.
But Natalie's visit reveals that not only is Tris wrapped up in a web of secrets about her aptitude test results, but her mother has told her fair share of lies as well. Would it really be that dangerous for her to have told Tris that she was originally from Dauntless? Is there a reason she keeps this hidden? This will certainly have some significance later on in the story, but for now, we are constrained by Tris's point of view; we know only as much about her mother as she does - and, clearly, that is not much.
If the Dauntless initiation competition was fierce before, the release of the stage one rankings increases the intensity tenfold. With four initiates gone, those remaining can't ignore the fact that they must beat their friends in order to survive. To lose would mean, in Tris's eyes, a fate worse than death. An interesting character to analyze is Peter; before he was merely an obnoxious bully, but stabbing Edward in the eye has elevated him to a whole new level of antagonism. What could possibly drive a person to be that cold, cruel, and ambitious? Is there something hidden deep within his past that could shed light on his evil demeanor? Whatever the case, there is certainly more than Peter than meets the eye, and he's become an even bigger threat than ever before. Edward's stabbing and the lack of punishment illustrates how far Dauntless has strayed from its original ethos. Ruthlessness and brutality are now tolerated if not tacitly endorsed.