"It is a huge slab of dark stone, square and rough, like the rocks at the bottom of the chasm. A large crack runs through the middle of it, and there are streaks of lighter rock near the edges. Suspended above the slab is a glass tank of the same dimensions, full of water. A light placed above the center of the tank shines through the water, refracting as it ripples. I hear a faint noise, a drop of water hitting the stone. It comes from a small tube running through the center of the tank. At first I think the tank is just leaking, but another drop falls, then a third, and a fourth, at the same interval. A few drops collect, and then disappear down a narrow channel in the stone. They must be intentional" (145)
Tris wakes up early one morning, before any of her friends are up, and she goes to look at the huge sculpture that signifies the Bureau's patient approach to healing genetic damage. She notes every quality of the sculpture, and so the reader can easily picture what the sculpture looks like.
"There are buildings here, but they are not nearly as prominent as the makeshift homes, made of scrap metal and plastic tarps, piled up right next to one another like they are holding one another upright. In the narrow aisles between them are people, mostly children, selling things from trays, or carrying buckets of water, or cooking over open fires. [...] I start walking down one of the aisles, as most people take off or shut themselves inside their lean-tos with cardboard or more tarp. I see them through the cracks between the walls, their houses not much more than a pile of food and supplies on one side and sleeping mats on the other. I wonder what they do in the winter. Or what they do for a toilet" (347)
This description of the fringe and its inhabitants occurs during Tris's venture into the fringe with Amar and George. She is amazed and saddened by the conditions she sees the fringe-dwellers live in. She notes how their houses are merely shanties that are placed far too close together. She sees that the homes have nothing more than sleeping mats and a small pile of food. These images and descriptions are meant to draw sympathy from the reader.
"I wait for a long time without anything changing... I look down to check my watch to discover that it's on the wrong hand -- I usually wear mine on the left, not my right, and my watchband isn't gray, it's black. Then I notice bristly hairs on my fingers that weren't there before. The calluses on my knuckles are gone. I look down, and I am wearing gray slacks and a gray shirt; I am thicker around the middle and thinner through the shoulders. I lift my eyes to a mirror that now stands in front of me. The face staring back at mine is Marcus's" (72)
Tobias's experience as he becomes his father, Marcus, during his fear landscape is particularly vivid. The author notes every little change that Tobias notices as he realizes that he is morphing into Marcus; therefore, the reader can easily imagine Tobias's emotions as his entire body changes into that of the man who abused him throughout his childhood.
"The tracks are not like the ones in the city. They are polished and sleek, and instead of boards running perpendicular to their path, there are sheets of textured metal. Up ahead I see one of the trains that runs along them, abandoned near the wall. It is metal-plated on the top and front, like a mirror, with tinted windows all along the side. When we draw closer, I see rows of benches inside it with maroon cushions on them. People must not jump on and off these trains" (102)
The distinction between the outside world and the world inside the city walls is made clear by Tris's examination of the train she sees on their first venture beyond the city limits. Everything about the train she sees is different from what she's used to -- the tracks, the furnishing, and so on. This is the first of many new things that Tris and her friends will find on their journey to the Bureau.
Allegiant Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Allegiant is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.