Divergent Summary and Analysis of Chapters 28-32


Chapter 28

Tris decides that it's time to go to visit Caleb. She sneaks out without supervision and heads for Erudite headquarters. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the blue-clad Erudite. The main Erudite building is a library, complete with a huge portrait of Jeanine Matthews. She goes up to a desk and asks to see her brother, but the person in charge insists that he can't give out personal information. Then all the sudden Caleb's behind her, calling her name. He's wearing glasses and a blue t-shirt. He's shocked by the way Beatrice looks and acts and asks her if she made the right choice, but she denies that there was even a right choice to begin with.

Tris asks him if he thinks Jeanine is right, and he says he doesn't know what to believe. He says because they weren't allowed to ask questions in Abnegation, it's impossible for them to know what's true and what isn't. Tris says his faction's corrupt, but they continue to disagree, and Caleb tells her to leave. Before she does, she tells him their mother said to research the simulation serum, and he's jealous that she saw her; he was unaware that the Erudite were barring Abnegation visitors from their compound. Before Tris can leave, she's taken away by two Erudite men.

She's taken to Jeanine Matthews herself, and she recognizes the woman's voice from her aptitude test - and from overheard secret meeting with Eric. Jeanine says that test was her greatest accomplishment as a scientist. She also reveals that Tris and Tobias were the only two Abnegation ever to switch to Dauntless. She presses Tris, asking why another one of her simulation tests didn't show in the records. It's obvious to Tris that she's trying to get some proof of her Divergence. Tris insists that her sensitive stomach means that every simulation makes her sick. She begins to weave another lie, saying that she chose Dauntless because she was bored of being good all the time. She says she doesn't miss her family, and Jeanine asks if that means she agrees with all the reports that have been printed about them. Tris swallows her pride and says yes.

Tris's escorted back to Dauntless, where Eric greets her menacingly. He accuses her of being a traitor, and threatens to change both her rank and the ranks of her friends. Tobias walks in and intervenes, giving Tris a look that clearly says she must feign vulnerability to get out of this. She lies to Eric and says she ran off because she tried to kiss Tobias and he rejected her. He falls for it and lets her go. She's mad at Tobias for everything at first, but he insists that by ignoring her, he was trying to protect her, because Peter would be fuming if he found out they were in a relationship. She forgives him, and they kiss, but then they worry about whether or not her act was satisfactory enough to convince Eric and Jeanine.

Christina reveals something big to Tris: Will kissed her. She admits that they really like each other, but also that she sometimes misses Candor, where there was no manipulation and everyone always knows where they stand. She recognizes that she never would have made it past Candor initiation, though, since initiates go through lie detector tests, all day, every day, and then they are given a truth serum and have to spill all their secrets. She says that she could never be honest enough, and she likes being in control of her own mind.

That night, Tobias pulls Tris into a train car and they kiss for a while; Tobias asks Tris about the line of ravens tattooed on her chest. While riding the train, they look out and see that the lights of the Erudite buildings are on all night, and they wonder what they're doing that requires constant energy. Tobias admits two things to Tris: that he is very suspicious of people, and that he is very good with computers. Before training started, he found a way into Dauntless files and discovered what looked like war plans, sent by Erudite. They're planning a war on Abnegation, and will use the combat-skilled Dauntless as their soldiers.

Chapter 29

Initiation day comes, and the Dauntless compound is in chaos. When she mindlessly picks Abnegation food for lunch, Tris realizes that no matter what she does, she will always be Abnegation, and wonders again if she chose the wrong faction. But she's determined to focus only on what she has to do today, despite her misgivings. In the Pit, they can see the current initiate going through their landscape, though they can't see specifically what fears they face: when Tris gets there, Marlene's test is on view. She then goes to the waiting room, and is told that she will go last, because she's ranked first. After everyone else goes, Eric injects her with the simulation.

Chapter 30

Her first fear is the field of crows again, and she realizes it isn't about the birds at all; it's about control. She knows she needs to feel powerful if she's going to get past this fear, and she feels most powerful with her gun. It appears, and she shoots the birds. Next is the glass tank full of water, and she realizes she must face her fear of weakness and an inability to escape. She convinces herself that she's strong enough to break the glass with her hands, and she does. Then she finds herself in an ocean, waves coming at her from every angle, and she loses control completely. She focuses hard and pulls herself out of the water and onto a nearby rock, and the scene changes again. Her arms and legs are bound by rope as the group of initiates, led by Peter, set a fire beneath her. She's terrified, but she focuses on the clouds above her and eventually it starts to rain.

The scene changes again and she's in her bedroom in Abnegation, with one of her walls covered by mirrors. Outside is the man who appeared in her aptitude test, along with two other men, and they're there to kidnap and kill her. She hears more and more hands pounding at the window. She envisions her gun and then has it, and begins to shoot the men, but runs out of bullets too fast. She tries to calm down as they come at her, and she crawls into the closet and the scene fades. Suddenly Tobias is standing in front of her, and behind them is a four poster bed. He kisses her and begins to tug at her jacket zipper, and Tris realizes she fears intimacy and affection. She realizes the only way to stop this is to tell simulation-Tobias she isn't going to sleep with him, and she does, then kisses him and he disappears. Then she's faced with the simulation in which she must shoot her family - and this time Jeanine is threatening her to do it. Remembering that Tobias said selflessness is similar to bravery, she shoots herself instead.

Chapter 31

Tris is back in the simulation room, and Eric congratulates her on completing her final assessment. He says he also must inject her with a tracking device, courtesy of Erudite. She's suspicious, but she knows she can't refuse. He tells her her ranking will be announced at the welcoming banquet with the other initiates.

Tobias comes up to Tris and says he wasn't allowed to watch the simulation, but he heard a rumor that she only had seven fears to face, and that the Dauntless leaders who watched were impressed. Then he invites her to come stay with him until the banquet, and she accepts. But when she goes back to his room with him, she's clearly unsettled; finally she asks him why he wants to be with her. She asks if he's only looking for sex, but he says if her were, she wouldn't be the first one he goes to, because she isn't like that. She admits that he was an obstacle in her fear landscape, because she's afraid of being with him. Tobias insists that this is all new to him, too. They kiss, and he spots her new tattoo covered up. When Tris tells him it's the Abnegation seal, he says he has the same one on his back and shows her. His back is covered with tattoos, including the symbols of each faction. He tells her that he thinks they've all made a mistake in putting down the virtues of the other factions, because it's important to honor them all.

Chapter 32

They head to the dining hall and meet Christina, and they discuss the jobs they'd like to have after initiation. Christina says she wants to train initiates, and Tris says she'd like to be an ambassador to the other factions. Peter and Will both want to be Dauntless leaders. Christina asks Tris why the Dauntless leaders were laughing during her fear landscape, and after Christina notices she's lying, she admits she's afraid of intimacy.

Eric makes a speech, announcing that tomorrow their ten newest members will choose their professions. Then he reveals the rankings - Tris is first, followed by Uriah, Lynn, Marlene, Peter, Will, Christina, and three other Dauntless-borns. Both Molly and Drew are cut. Tris and Tobias kiss, which makes Will and Christina stare. When Tobias touches the injection site on Tris's neck she realizes that the shot wasn't a tracking device at all. The serum they injected is how the Erudite plans to control the Dauntless and get them to fight.


A lot happens in this section, starting with Tris's visit to Caleb. Tris believes Caleb has changed a lot, with his new glasses and his newfound appreciation for all the information available to him in Erudite. But in reality, she's changed even more, with her different appearance and her hardened countenance. Tris jumps down his throat for defending his faction and questioning hers. This one scene illustrates how far they've drifted apart, and what distance and different lifestyles can do to even the strongest of familial relationships. They no longer understand each other the way they used to. Tris wants so badly for Caleb to be her brother again, but nothing will ever be the same. This raises questions about the toll the faction system takes on families.

At the end of Chapter 28, Tobias reveals what the schism between Abnegation and Erudite is leading to: Erudite is planning a war on Abnegation. Even worse, they're going to recruit Dauntless to fight for their cause. The divisions have become so insurmountable that wars will be waged over disagreements - which is ironic, as the factions arose out of a desire to maintain peace. This exposes the flaw in the system, which Tobias articulates when showing Tris his tattoos. If value was placed on each and every one of the faction virtues and citizens were trained to cultivate them all, rather than just one, conflict could be avoided.

Jeanine Matthews has become a much more prominent antagonist over the course of the last few chapters. Before, Tris's focus was concentrated on initiation, where Peter and his lackeys presented her most direct threat. Now all the sudden the scope of her worries has become so much larger; not only is she in danger for being Divergent, her entire home faction is in danger because of this woman and the reach of her influence. Jeanine Matthews symbolizes the persuasive, charismatic, intelligent leaders in history who have managed to sway an entire group of people with propaganda and lies to begin something catastrophic. And those she can't persuade, she'll enslave, the way she's going to force Dauntless to fight her battles using an advanced simulation serum.

Tris's fears in her fear landscape say a lot about her, and in most of Chapter 30, she acknowledges this herself. The crows and the ocean waves represent her need for constant control, as we've seen over and over in her friendships, relationship with Tobias, and initiate training. She fears confinement, as displayed by the glass room full of water, and indeed she left Abnegation because she felt confined and constrained by the lifestyle she'd be committing herself to. She fears intimacy, because it could involve losing the control she craves. Tris fears causing her family pain, because despite everything that's happened, she still loves them and values them. One of her biggest concerns when leaving Abnegation was upsetting them, and when she was frustrated, upset, and confused, she ran straight to Erudite to see Caleb because she thought it would give her some form of familial comfort. Family is a major theme in this novel, as is fear, so it makes sense that her final initiation test would combine the two.

As discussed in the previous section, Tris has been feeling inferior in her newfound relationship with Tobias; she even goes so far as to ask him what he's getting out of the relationship, what she has to offer him, making sure it's not just physical. But she seems to accept his reassurances, and over the course of her final days as an initiate his presence has been a comfort to her. When he decides to kiss her in public without fear of the reactions of others, he shows that he's ready to commit himself the way she already has herself - by doing this, they're both stepping out of their comfort zones and into murky waters, but at the time, it seems worth it. Their connection will prove deeper than they even imagined.