Divergent Summary and Analysis of Chapters 21-24


Chapter 21

In the four days since Tris spoke to Tori, Erudite has released two more articles on Abnegation, one accusing them of withholding luxury items from the other factions and the other advocating for a democratic system of choosing government officials. Tris thinks about her reasons for choosing Dauntless. In her simulations in the past few days, she's faced four different fears: Peter setting her on fire, drowning in an ocean, her family bleeding to death, and being forced to shoot her family. The following day, she faces that final simulation again, and tells Four that since the only time she sees her family is in the simulations, she misses them. She asks if Four misses his family, too, but he doesn't; this makes Tris curious. She wonders again if he is Divergent.

When returning to the dormitory, Tris receives a shock: she is ranked first after stage two. Peter is second, but while his average simulation time is eight minutes, hers is only two minutes and forty-five seconds. Al is ranked dead last. Peter freaks out and insists that Tris is trying to manipulate them in some way. Will defends her, but after Peter leaves Will asks her if he was right. Both Will and Christina storm out of the room as well, and only a hopeless Al is left. Some of the Dauntless-born initiates, Uriah, Marlene, and Lynn, come to congratulate Tris, and Uriah invites her to watch him shoot a muffin off Marlene's head on a bet. Four and a few other Dauntless walk in during this, and Four takes a minute to reassure Tris that she belongs here, and her trials will be over soon.

When getting a drink of water in the middle of the night, Tris overhears a conversation between Eric and someone else about whether or not she is Divergent. Then all the sudden a hand clamps over her mouth and a dark cloth is put over her eyes; Peter and two other people kidnap her. She matches the smell of the hand over her mouth with the smell of Al's bunk, and her heart sinks. She fights as they take her nearer to the Chasm, and then all the sudden someone comes and beats up her captors: Four.

Chapter 22

Tris comes to in a small room, and sees Four washing blood off of his knuckles. Four explains that he dropped Drew off at the infirmary, and Peter and Al ran; Drew insisted, apparently, that they were only trying to scare Tris. Four offers to report this, but Tris refuses; she doesn't want them to think she's scared. She's hurt from Al's betrayal. Four says he hurt her because her strength made him feel weak. He adds that it wouldn't hurt her to pretend to be vulnerable. He tells her that right now, it's more important for her to be safe than to be right, but asks her to ruin them when the time comes. He also tells her not to call him Four, but doesn't offer an alternative - yet.

Chapter 23

Tris sleeps in Four's bed that night, not wanting to sleep in the same room as the people who attacked her. In the dark, while staring at him sleeping, she admits that she likes him. She wakes in pain, but goes to the dining hall anyway in order to mend her friendships. She sits down with Will and Christina, and Uriah joins her; all three stare at her wounds. Tris says the names of her attackers. They're shocked to hear Al included. Eventually Drew comes into the dining hall, even more beat up than Tris is, and Four smiles in satisfaction. Uriah decides that the only thing they can do about this is edge them all out of the rankings.

On the way to training, Christina apologizes to Tris for the way she acted. Tris decides it's better to let her anger go. Four leads them on a climb all the way up through the pit, and announces that today they will face a different kind of simulation: the fear landscape. They have stored data about each initiate's worst fears, and they will have to get through a simulation of all of them. The number of fears they face will correspond to the number of fears they have. The following week, they will go through their fear landscape as fast as possible in front of a panel of Dauntless, which will determine final ranking. Peter claims that this is unfair for people who have more fears than others. Four responds, calling him a miserable coward for the events that unfolded the previous night.

Back in the dorm, Al asks to talk to Tris, trying to apologize. She does not accept; she tells him to stay away from her and never come near her again, or else she'll kill him.

Chapter 24

Christina wakes Tris in the middle of a dream about her mother, and takes her to the edge of the Chasm where workers are hauling something up from its depths. To Tris's shock, it's a body - Al. He pitched himself over the edge, killing himself. Tris almost can't breathe; she leaves Christina on the ground and runs away.

She goes to the tattoo parlor, where Tori gives her peppermint tea to drink as the funeral begins. She asks Tori how long it took her to be okay again after her brother died, and Tori responds that sometimes she still doesn't feel okay. They head to the funeral; in Dauntless, a funeral is a raucous, drunken occasion in which the life is celebrated rather than mourned. Eric plasters on a false smile and makes a speech about the bravery it takes to venture into the unknown of death. Tris, however, disagrees; she thinks it would've been braver to just admit weakness and leave Dauntless. Al was motivated by pride.

She leaves the funeral early and runs into Four. She laments that this would never have happened in Abnegation, and Dauntless ruined Al. During her fit of rage, Four grabs her and warns her that the Dauntless leaders are watching her closely; she asks if they're watching him too, but he doesn't respond. He says he keeps trying to help her, but she refuses to be helped. He also warns her that her selfless instinct is dangerous, and Tris accuses him of always trying to protect her. He denies it, and says his first instinct is to push her until she breaks, because he's fascinated by the way fear wakes her up rather than shuts her down.

For the first time, they truly embrace, and Tris wonders aloud whether if she'd forgiven him, Al would still be alive. Four says she has to use the guilt to remind her to do better next time, a mantra drilled into the heads of Abnegation children, which makes Tris ask what faction he actually came from. He refuses to say, and insists that what matters more is that this is where he is right now.


Tris's success in stage two of initiation shows that what she may lack in Dauntless fighting capabilities and strength, she makes up for in her mental response to fear. Whether this is innate or merely a product of her Divergence is uncertain, but either way, her first place ranking makes her a threat. That Tris's success and strength make her friends feel weak is, of course, not a good sign, but this undoubtedly stems from the demanding and intense competition facing the young initiates. They all came here with the intention of making it through initiation, so when someone threatens that, even if it's a friend, fear and anger are logical responses. But while Will and Christina simply take some time to cool down, Al takes his anger to a whole new level, going so far as to possibly kill one of his best friends in the faction.

Al's choice to betray Tris and join up with Peter and Drew, initiates far stronger than him, shows his mental and emotional inability to handle the pressure that Dauntless throws at him. Did he truly think he had something to gain from this, or that teaming up with Peter and Drew wouldn't turn out to be a huge mistake? They were using him, no doubt, and it's interesting to try and delve into Al's mind and determine what prompted this decision. It may have been a fit of insanity or a cold, calculated choice, but either way, it's pretty clear that at no point did he foresee the terrible consequences of his actions.

The same applies to his suicide; what prompted him to take this route as an escape? The topic of suicide in a society obsessed with the concept of courage is touchy; even in our own society, there has been much debate over whether or not the act of killing oneself is considered brave or cowardly. The current Dauntless administration seems to have decided on the former, but the circumstances suggest that Tris is right to disagree; in the last days of his life, Al was anything but brave. Maybe misguided, maybe foolish, and maybe overwhelmed, but each one of his last actions belied his weakness. Despite his faults, though, it is easy to pity him, since he certainly wasn't evil from the start.

Moving onto stage three of initiation will at last give us a chance to witness Tris's personal fears, and how they may have developed during her time in Dauntless. Will she be able to fight through her fear landscape as easily as she did the stage two simulations? And if she does, will her success bring the Dauntless leaders' wrath upon her at last? The conversation Tris overhears between Eric and the other person suggests that they're zeroing in on her, and that it won't be long before a confrontation occurs. Four is right when he says that Tris needs to watch herself.

Speaking of Four, if Tris has been slowly breaking down the wall he's built up around him over the course of her initiation, than this section is the first time in which it finally starts tumbling down. His utter rage and defensiveness in response to her kidnapping clearly shows that he's feeling something more than an instructor should feel for his initiate, and that he takes her under his wing and watches out for her the night after shows the same. He seems to finally have given in to his instincts and opened up to her, but there are still many more secrets for both to reveal.

For the first time, we have confirmation that he has come from a different faction, and, though he won't say for certain, Tris is starting to believe he was Abnegation. This would explain her mother's recognition of him, plus his avoidance of Abnegation. His name will certainly be a key to uncovering who he was before Dauntless - just like Tris's old name was a connection to her past. Identity is Tris's world is much more grey than the factions would have her believe.