Summary: Chapter 31

The simulation ends, and Eric congratulates Tris on completing her evaluation. He informs her that he’s injecting all the Dauntless with a tracking device, further raising her suspicions about his involvement with Jeanine. Still, she complies, and he tells her the final rankings will be announced at a banquet later that afternoon. Tris then leaves with Tobias, who tells her that since she only had to face seven fears, she’ll probably be ranked first. They go back to the dorm, and as Tobias kisses her, she tells him she’s afraid he’s only pursuing her for sex. He assures her that’s not the case and reveals he’s a virgin, like her. Tris shows him her Abnegation tattoo, and he reveals he has all the faction symbols tattooed on his torso, reminding him to pursue multiple virtues rather than limiting himself to one. They agree that they need to find a way to warn Abnegation about Erudite’s plans.

Summary: Chapter 32

After spending the afternoon talking and kissing, Tris and Tobias walk to the dining hall together but separate at the entrance. Christina asks where she was, and Tris lies about her whereabouts. Tris, Christina, and Will discuss potential jobs and their fear landscapes. When Christina asks why the panel was laughing at one of Tris’ fears, she tells them she was afraid of intimacy but doesn’t mention Tobias. Next, Eric gives a speech congratulating the initiates. Amidst cheers, he reveals the final rankings on a screen. Tris has placed first, and Peter, Will, and Christina are in the top ten. Molly and Drew, who have placed eleventh and twelfth, will be cut. Will and Christina kiss, and Tobias and Tris follow suit, surprising her friends. As Tobias touches the injection site on Tris’s neck, she suddenly realizes the Erudite must be planning to use the serum to control the Dauntless. She decides to tell Tobias in private.

Summary: Chapter 33

After failing to get Tobias alone at the banquet, Tris decides to find him later that night, but she falls asleep instead. She awakens suddenly to find Christina and the other initiates leaving the dorm in a serum-induced trance. Though Tris is awake, she joins the crowd and tries to blend in as they march toward the Pit. There, they pick up guns and holsters from giant piles. Tris decides she would rather die than fight against her home faction and resolves to save her family. She follows the sleepwalking Dauntless onto a train. Tobias helps her aboard, and she fears he has succumbed to the serum, but he squeezes her hand, revealing he’s also Divergent.

When they arrive at the Abnegation compound, Tobias tells Tris to run. Instead, she stays in the crowd and marches through the streets looking for her family. She watches in horror as the Dauntless begin shooting every Abnegation member in sight. Eric appears, and as he prods Tris’s face with his gun, he crows that he is a better leader than Tobias has ever been. He prepares to shoot Tobias, but Tris breaks cover and shoots Eric in the foot. Tris and Tobias try to run, but a gunshot hits Tris in the shoulder, and Eric orders them to surrender.

Analysis: Chapters 31–33

Over the course of initiation, the level of violence and terror Dauntless is willing to inflict on its trainees has ratcheted up steadily. Like Tris, readers have been in the dark about the faction’s ultimate goals, but now it becomes clear why Eric has insisted on turning the initiates into cold-blooded fighters: he’s been preparing them for an inter-faction war. Earlier, Tobias revealed that Dauntless computers contained plans for a war between Erudite and Abnegation, but Tris wasn’t sure how Dauntless was involved. In retrospect, readers realize that Erudite and Dauntless were conspiring to manipulate the other factions. Erudite turned public opinion against Abnegation by making its leaders seem power-hungry, accusing them of forcing self-denial on everyone else. In reality, Erudite has been trying to gain power for itself. By refining the aptitude test injection into a mind-control serum, the Erudite leaders have turned the entire Dauntless faction into an army of mindless killers.

It’s now clear that Dauntless training was intended as war preparation. The fights accustomed the initiates to hurting their own friends and weeded out trainees, like Al, who were unwilling to harm others for no apparent reason. The fear hallucinations in the second and third stages encouraged Tris and her friends to respond with violence to threatening situations. At the same time, the hallucinations helped Erudite leaders develop the test serum into a version that could control the Dauntless as a group. Finally, the tests allowed the Erudite and Dauntless leaders to identify Divergent people. Tris wasn’t sure why her Divergence was so dangerous, but now she realizes it’s because she’s immune to the serum. The ease with which Tris manipulated and escaped her fear simulations was a signal that traditional mind control serums wouldn’t work on her, and now she and Tobias are the only ones who aren’t brainwashed. Their ability to think independently makes them unwilling to participate in a bloody uprising, and thus jeopardizes the Erudite’s plans to seize power.

It’s not entirely clear why Tris doesn’t immediately tell Tobias her suspicions about the Dauntless tracking serum, but her delay may have something to do with the fact that she’s just placed first in the Dauntless rankings. At the moment it dawns on her that Dauntless is about to do something terrible, she’s in the midst of celebrating her first-place ranking, not to mention thrilled that Tobias is kissing her in public. This is a far cry from the beginning of training, when she was fearful she’d get kicked out of the faction and uncomfortable when others showed affection. Their public kiss as her victory is announced shows that her connection with Tobias has made her braver in more ways than one.

Even though Tris is horrified that the uprising begins before she can do anything about it, she’s overjoyed when it reveals that Tobias is Divergent. Just as she suspected, they share a connection that goes beyond their shared Abnegation upbringing. They can both think for themselves, despite what the factions have told them. The realization makes her more confident than ever, even though she’s in real danger, not just in a simulation. When she shoots Eric in the foot to stop him from killing Tobias, then takes a bullet to the shoulder, she shows that she’s willing to risk her life in order to protect the people she cares about.