Insurgent Summary and Analysis of Chapters 21-25


As Tris is getting ready to go eavesdrop on the meeting, Tobias comes in. She did not tell him he was going, but she says that is fair because he did not tell her about his plans to beat up Marcus. He says he did it to prove to the Dauntless that he is not a coward, and Tris realizes that he cares so much about this because he wants to become a Dauntless leader so he is important enough to get the Dauntless to ally with the factionless. Tobias thinks it is reckless for her to go eavesdrop, but he decides to come along. 

They position themselves hidden on a bridge as the meeting between Jack and the traitor Dauntless representative Max begins. Max says that this will not be much of a negotiation, because Candor is an expendable faction. Tris observes that he is speaking very much like Jeanine, and she realizes that she must be speaking through Max by giving him an earpiece. Tris realizes that Jeanine must be nearby, and pinpoints a particular building; however, before she can move towards it, Lynn takes out her gun and shoots Max. 

They begin to run immediately; Tris decides to go after Jeanine rather than run back to safety in Candor headquarters. She and Tobias find Jeanine with three Dauntless bodyguards, and one is Peter. Before they can get to them, though, they hear a scream, and realize that one of their friends is hurt. There is no choice; they turn around and go back for them. Shauna was shot, and Tobias picks her up to carry her back to the Merciless Mart. As they work on helping Shauna, Tobias gives Tris an ultimatum: stop risking her life senselessly, or they are done.

 Tris speaks to Tori, who is healing from her gunshot wound, and asks her to call a Dauntless meeting because she knows Jack Kang will agree to Jeanine's demands and they are no longer safe in Candor. Tori tells her about her time as a spy, and about Jeanine's private laboratory in Erudite headquarters. At the meeting, Tris tells the Dauntless the three terms that Jeanine gave: return Eric to Erudite, report the names of the people who were not shot with needles during the invasion, and deliver the Divergent to Erudite headquarters. 

They decide the best thing to do is take back Dauntless headquarters and return home. They know they need new leaders before they do, and begin to vote; they nominate Tris, Tori, someone named Harrison, and Tobias, but since they only need three leaders, Tris steps down from her nomination. Jack makes an announcement that he has agreed to the terms, and the Dauntless immediately go to Eric to stage his execution. He requests that Tobias be the one to shoot him so he can live with the guilt. Tobias denies having any guilt, and kills him.

Jack is appalled to hear that they killed Eric and are now leaving, but that doesn't stop the Dauntless. Cara is shocked that they are going; Tris tells her to go to Amity because she will be safer there. Back at Dauntless headquarters, they cover the surveillance cameras with paint. Zeke and Shauna show up later than everyone else; Shauna will live, but she might be paralyzed from the waist down. Tris insists to Zeke that she can still be Dauntless, even if she needs a wheelchair. 

They eat dinner together in the Dauntless cafeteria together that night, and it is clear that Uriah and Marlene have become a couple. Tobias comes over to get Tris, and says he has a meeting with the factionless and he wants her there to help him read the situation. Tris notices that Tobias's knuckles are bloody, and realizes he must have gone through his fear landscape today. He says he did, and it changed—but the number of fears are still the same. His father is in it in a different way, and instead of shooting the woman, he now has to watch Tris die. 

They jump on a train and meet Edward and Evelyn. Tobias says he wants an alliance, because he is now a Dauntless leader. Evelyn agrees, under some conditions. They want an equal place in whatever government forms after Erudite is destroyed, and complete control over Erudite data after the attack so that they can destroy it. Tobias agrees. They agree to meet again in a week's time. Tris does not like it; she thinks Evelyn is trying to use him. They fight over it for a while, and do not reconcile. 


In these chapters, readers learn why Tobias has been secretive lately. His goal to become a Dauntless leader so that he can forge an alliance with the factionless is understandable, but why he still did not feel comfortable letting Tris in on his plans is still unclear. His intentions are good—they usually are—but his secrecy has certainly added much to the rift in their relationship. In many ways, Tobias is being hypocritical; he condemns Tris for not trusting him, and yet he is the one keeping the biggest secrets. 

He also repeatedly tells Tris to stop risking her life so recklessly. It is in his nature to protect her—however, it is also in her nature to resist protection. In this way, the characters of Tris and Tobias clash. They are both headstrong and determined to do the right thing, whatever it takes, so it is natural that they clash from time to time. Tris's inexperience and youth definitely show as she continuously throws herself into dangerous situations without thinking much beforehand. Tobias's fear landscape now includes Tris's death, so this scares him. But if he continues to try and control her, he will only push her farther away.

Now that Tris and her friends have spent more time in Candor, the flaws in Candor's philosophy have become apparent. Solely black-and-white thinking can be extremely dangerous during a time with so much at stake. Jack Kang does not see the grey area that comes with giving up all the Divergent to the Erudite; all he sees is that it will help the rest of their faction. While Candor was a good place to regroup, Dauntless were wise to realize that the Candor way of thinking would not help them in this war. They had to leave.

Though Tris has become a leader among her friends, she is reluctant to accept an official title even with the support of the other Dauntless behind her. Being deemed an official leader would put too much responsibility on her shoulders, more than she already has, and Tris is all about feeling free and unburdened. It is likely that part of her chose to refuse this, too, because it would mean she would have to think twice before throwing herself into danger in the name of sacrifice. She cannot be so important to so many people and risk her life in that way. 

The scene in which Eric demands that Tobias be the one to kill him so that he can live with the guilt is chilling, and, just like beating up his father Marcus, it shows that Tobias is determined to prove he is not the coward everyone thinks he is. At this point, it is hard to say whether Tobias agreed to kill Eric for the sake of everyone who was hurt by him or for his own sake, to prove to himself and to everyone now looking to him as a leader that he had the strength and nerve enough to do it. 

However short the meal in the Dauntless cafeteria is, it recalls the way things once were. This event parallels all the meals Tris ate as an initiate, and for a while everyone can pretend that nothing has changed even though their entire society has been turned upside down. But though this is a happy occasion, Tris can feel the difference; she acknowledges that only half of the people who once sat at this table are left, and, in typical Tris fashion, she blames herself for the loss of them.