As Tris heads to the testing room with the other trainees, readers get a glimpse of the initiates’ main role in the Dauntless faction: to be faceless members of large, powerful crowd. As the shortest person in the group, Tris observes that the multitude of bodies makes it difficult to breathe. Her sense of suffocation is the antithesis of the exhilaration she felt while running down the stairs after the Choosing Ceremony. At first, joining Dauntless gave her a rush of freedom, but initiation has shown her the darker, more restrictive elements of Dauntless life. Throughout training, the ethical concerns of individual initiates have been suppressed in the name of faction unity. Peter’s continued success, and the fact that Eric has been made a leader, shows that the easiest way to advance in the faction is through violence. Even the fear simulation scenarios tend to encourage the trainees to attack and kill. Tris shoots swarming birds, Tobias kills a faceless woman, and multiple initiates are ordered to murder their own family members. Though Tris doesn’t know it, these scenarios are preparing the Dauntless to follow orders to kill members of Abnegation.

In Chapter Twenty-Five, Tris worried that Jeanine, the head of Erudite, might be planning a revolution, and the events of this section prove that her concerns were justified. Her conversation with Caleb confirms that something bad is going on in Erudite, though he can’t pinpoint exactly what. Jeanine’s interrogation of Tris directly afterward reveals that the authorities have been keeping a close eye on her, possibly because she poses a threat to their scheme. Finally, Tobias confirms Tris’s sense that a terrible plot is underway when he reveals that the Dauntless computers contain explicit war plans. He hasn’t reported this discovery to Dauntless leaders. It’s clear that no one except the Dauntless and Erudite leaders are meant to know about the coming war, so Tobias and Tris’s knowledge may put them in danger.

Tris has stopped trusting the faction leaders, but she plays dumb with them in order to stay safe. She purposely acts naïve and brash to put Jeanine off her trail, showing she knows how to act like a stereotypical Dauntless when necessary. With Eric, by contrast, she pretends to be a lovelorn teenage girl sulking about a rejected crush so he won’t suspect that she left the faction to pass information on to her brother. In both cases, she protects herself by showcasing selfish aspects of her personality, a skill the Dauntless have taught her. Her final fear simulations are a different story, however. In each scenario during her test, she escapes by using her Divergent thinking – that is, by refusing to accept death or follow orders. She doesn’t allow herself to drown in the glass box, burn at the stake, or murder her family in order to appease Jeanine. Instead, she uses creativity and compassion to manipulate the simulations and eventually escape them.

Though Tris has slowly become comfortable displaying multiple elements of her personality, she’s still unsure about what it means to be Tobias’s girlfriend. Their near-sexual encounter during the simulation surprises her, since it reveals she’s more scared of intimacy than she realized. Until recently, Tris repressed her romantic feelings entirely, and her fear of sex was traumatically exacerbated during Peter and Drew’s attack. In her final simulation, she’s forced to directly confront her anxiety in relation to her new relationship with Tobias. A teenager raised in the sheltered world of Abnegation, Tris isn’t sure how to express her sexual impulses. Moreover, she’s two years younger than Tobias, making her fear he’ll want to have sex before she’s ready. In the simulation, she faces that fear head on, taking control of her mind and body by telling a simulated Tobias she’s not willing to sleep with him.