"Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again. Dead. My doing."
Tris's guilt over killing Will torments her throughout the novel, and continues on even after Christina has forgiven her for it. As someone who values loyalty to her friends above many other things, Tris cannot handle the thought that she betrayed Will by killing him, by not trying to determine an alternative option, even though he was under the simulation. Tris must learn either how to forgive herself, or how to function without this guilt impeding her. By the end of the novel it does not seem that she has been able to do either.
"I didn't realize until that moment that Dauntless initiation had taught me an important lesson: how to keep going."
In just a couple of weeks, Tris has faced more adversity than most people face in a lifetime. She has watched her parents die, she has watched the life she knew crumble, and she even killed her own friend. In many ways, it would be easier for her to refuse to keep moving on. But Dauntless is about bravery, and bravery is more than just running into dangerous situations and fighting. Bravery is keeping your head up and pushing forward, even when the going is tough. In Insurgent, that is exactly what Tris does—proving that she is a true Dauntless after all.
"My mouth goes dry. No factions? A world in which no one knows who they are or where they fit? I can't even fathom it. I imagine only chaos and isolation."
The faction system is all Tris and her friends have ever known. The idea of living in a world without it would be, for them, like losing the core part of their identities. On choosing day, 16-year-olds choose who they are, and their identities are defined for them by the values of their faction. The factionless, who have been living without these boundaries and understand what it means to develop your own identity, can understand why life without these groups would be desirable. Tris, however, cannot even imagine it.
"I was born for Abnegation. I was planning on leaving Dauntless, and becoming factionless. But then I met her, and… I felt like maybe I could make something more of my decision."
Tobias has never been one to wear his heart on his sleeve, so it is very rare that readers get a glimpse into his true feelings for Tris. Here, though, under the influence of truth serum, he is more honest and straightforward than he would ever be otherwise. Being with Tris has made him brave in a way that his native Abnegation self never was. After this, it becomes a question of whether or not he can be this raw and honest to Tris's face without truth serum—for most of Insurgent, the answer seems to be "no."
"Deep inside me I know the answer: I am being reckless. I will probably gain nothing. I will probably die. And more disturbing still: I don't really care."
Tris spends a good chunk of this novel thinking about death. She throws herself into dangerous situations without much thought, creating a rift between her and Tobias, who just wants her to be safe. This would make it seem like Tris is okay with the prospect of dying, but in reality, she is still naive about it. She does not understand what it truly means to die, even when she is begging for death to be put out of her misery in Erudite headquarters. It is only as she is about to die, strapped onto the execution table, that she realizes what death really means, and in that moment she knows she is not ready. Tris has grown up in many ways during this novel, and her perspective on death has evolved along with her.
"Fear is more powerful than pain."
Jeanine has been successful in her conniving endeavors primarily because of her unsettling ability to use fear as a manipulation tactic. She works through fear and threat; very rarely does she actually physically torture those who stand in her way. This is the idea behind the simulations she uses. Dauntless, however, are brought up to fight their fears, so Tris and many of the other Dauntless are able to resist Jeanine's influence in the way that other factions—Jack Kang and Candor, for interest—cannot.
"I'll be your family now."
These words are especially important to Tris, who has lost every trace of family she ever had. Her parents are both dead, and Caleb has revealed himself to be a traitor. Though the mantra is "faction before blood," Tris has never been able to shake off her sense of loyalty and love for her family. This has made their absence even harder. She needs Tobias now more than ever, and with these words, he binds himself to her with a declaration that means more to her than anything else.
"[The factionless] are not characterized by a particular virtue. They claim all colors, all activities, all virtues, and all flaws as their own."
It is difficult for Tris to reconcile her previously held misconceptions about the factionless with how they truly live. They may not have much, but the way they are able to embrace all virtues and live happily, freely, and enjoyably in harmony with each other is what really makes them lucky. Feeding lies to the faction citizens about the factionless is one of the ways the system has controlled them for so long: if the faction citizens knew how happy the factionless actually were, then they might start to question the point of having factions in the first place.
"We risked our lives by defecting from our faction. And we will risk them again to save our faction from itself."
Cara's words here bring new meaning to the oath of loyalty that all initiates swear to their factions. At first look, it appears that Erudite defectors are breaking this oath by leaving the faction. What Cara is about to do, though, actually shows that she is loyal to Erudite. She wants to save Erudite, to make them remember who they truly are and stop them from straying down this path of violence and oppression. Cara and the other Erudite defectors who help Tris are loyal to their faction—that is why they will attempt to save it from itself at all costs.
"My name will be Edith Prior. And there is much I am happy to forget."
This quote is obviously shocking because it reveals that this woman from outside the fence is a likely ancestor of Tris's. But it also reveals some important things about the world that existed before the factions, and the world that might still exist beyond the city limits. Edith Prior says there is much she wants to forget. She would be willing to give up her entire life, her memories, everything she has ever known to start over like this. This must mean that the destruction and chaos in the word was truly tremendous at this time, because this is a huge sacrifice to make.
Insurgent Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Insurgent is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.