Divergent Metaphors and Similes

Divergence (Metaphor)

In the Faction society, to be Divergent is to display an aptitude for multiple factions, whereas most people only have an aptitude for one. Individuals that are divergent are treated as enemies of the state because their minds are wired differently from the rest of society. Their existence is kept a secret and they are murdered. In this way, Divergence is a metaphor for rebelling and deviating from the status quo.

“I feel like there is a bubble in my chest that expands more by the second, threatening to break me apart from the inside” (Roth 27) (Simile)

Beatrice uses the simile of an expanding bubble to describe her nervousness and anxiety in the moments leading up to her aptitude test. The bubble, normally believed to a be fragile thing because of its thin, delicate membrane, “threatens to break [her] apart from the inside.” If the bubble expands to the point where it pops, it will take with it Beatrice’s hopes and expectations for her future.

“The silence of this part of the city is eerie; it feels like a nightmare” (Roth 234) (Simile)

During the capture the flag competition, Tris, Four, Eric, and the other Dauntless initiates walk in the decrepit, decaying part of Chicago. Tris describes this part of the city as silent and eerie as a nightmare. This simile suggests that, like a nightmare, there are secrets and horrors lurking in the shadowy parts of Chicago.

Four’s Name (Metaphor)

Prior to joining Dauntless, Four’s name was "Tobias." His new name refers to the fact that he only has 4 fears to face in his fear landscape, and in this way makes his identity metaphorical for virtual fearlessness: such a low number of fears is unprecedented and gives Four a place of notoriety in the Dauntless faction.

Tris Teasing Uriah (Simile)

When Tris joins the already-initiated Dauntless members for a zip-line ride through the city, she ribs Uriah for the petrified scream he gives during his ride. She says, “He sounds like a strangled cat” (Roth 367). Immediately after uttering the phrase, Tris feels guilty for teasing Uriah when he isn’t around to defend himself; but she reasons that she would have made the same joke if he were present. This simile and Tris’s feelings about it are significant and important to note because it demonstrates that Tris isn’t always loyal to her friends. Her joke about Uriah made her more likable to the other Dauntless members—she put her desire to be “cool” above her loyalty to her friend.