Insurgent Literary Elements


Young Adult, Dystopian

Setting and Context

Dystopian Chicago, many years into the future, during a war between the factions.

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is narrated in first-person present tense, from the point of view of Tris Prior, a sixteen-year-old girl and member of the Dauntless faction.

Tone and Mood

The best word to describe this novel's tone and mood is 'urgent'. Since Tris and the factions are in the midst of a war, everything moves extremely fast and all decisions could mean life or death. A sense of urgency permeates this entire text, with the mood occasionally growing more solemn when Tris loses a friend or thinks about those she has already lost.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Tris Prior of Dauntless is the protagonist, and Jeanine Matthews, the vicious leader of Erudite, is the main antagonist.

Major Conflict

The conflict in this novel is between the Erudite faction and everyone else; Erudite, led by the ruthless Jeanine, has stolen vital information from Abnegation to prevent it from being revealed to everyone. They have nearly destroyed Abnegation itself, and are on a hunt to exterminate all the Divergent. Tris must determine whether to help Tobias, Dauntless, and the factionless destroy Erudite completely, or help Marcus steal back the information that was taken from Abnegation.


The climax of this novel occurs at the big invasion of Erudite headquarters. The factionless and the Dauntless invade in order to destroy all Erudite's information and disable them forever, but at the same time, Tris, Christina, Marcus, and Cara storm in to try and steal back Abnegation's secret information. The climax ends when Tori shoots Jeanine and Jeanine dies, and everything that occurs after this is part of the falling action.


Marcus's reveal in the beginning that Erudite stole secret information from Abnegation foreshadows the course of the rest of the novel. Tris will have to determine whether or not to help Marcus, a particularly tough decision since it involves lying to Tobias. Much later, Peter's betraying of Erudite in order to keep Tris alive is foreshadowed when he gives Tris the time, something she had continuously asked for but he had previously refused to give. This tiny act of betrayal foreshadows the larger one to come.


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Allusions in this novel are few and far between, primarily because Insurgent takes place many, many years into the future in a society that knows nothing about the world that exists around them or what the world looked like in the past. The only small allusions are to places in present-day Chicago that now serve a different purpose in faction society, like the Merchandise Mart and the Hancock Building.


Imagery is discussed more in-depth in the "Imagery" section of this study guide, but most of this novel's richest imagery is in Tris's descriptions of people, particularly Tobias.


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Metonymy and Synecdoche

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There are small instances of personification throughout this novel, as Tris describes her surroundings. The following lines are examples:

"The wind picks up as we stand at the edge of the car opening, like a hand pushing me back toward safety." (pg. 2)
"The wind whistles through the car." (pg. 89)

These small lines of personification aid in bringing Tris's environment to life, and creating a more detailed visual for readers.