Four and Lauren separate the initiates into two groups. Those who were born in the Dauntless faction go with Lauren, and the nine transfers stay with Four. He introduces himself as their instructor, and when Christina mocks his name, he tells her to keep her mouth shut. He then leads them into the Pit, a huge underground cavern. Tris can see people all over, as well as narrow paths connecting living and supply areas. Next, Four shows them the chasm, a ravine with a dangerous river flowing through one side of the Pit. Then they enter the dining hall, where the other Dauntless applaud them. Tris sits with Christina and Four, who laugh at her when she says she’s never seen hamburgers before. They’re joined by Eric, a heavily pierced, arrogant Dauntless leader who transferred from Erudite. He asks Four questions that make him uncomfortable, and Tris wonders about their relationship.
Shortly after dinner, Eric shocks the transfers by telling them they will be ranked throughout their training. Only the top ten initiates will join Dauntless, and the rest will become factionless. The other initiates are terrified, but Tris resolves to make it through training. In bed that night, she feels homesick, but she keeps her crying quiet. In the bunk next to her, a large boy named Al annoys her with his audible sobs.
On the first day of training, the initiates learn the process will be divided into three stages that will test their physical, emotional, and mental strength. Four explains that he’ll be teaching the initiates how to shoot a gun and win a fight. Though Tris is initially unable to shoot the target, she learns quickly and enjoys the sense of control the gun gives her. At lunch, an Erudite boy named Will joins her and Christina, explaining that he doesn’t get along with everyone in his faction. Tris is uncomfortable when she sees two other trainees named Edward and Myra kissing, and the others tease her for being prudish.
After lunch, the initiates practice attacking punching bags. Four puts his hand on Tris’s stomach as he gives her advice, making her nervous. At dinner, Al announces he wants to get a tattoo. Tris and Christina decide to join him, but first Christina outfits Tris in a tighter dress and eye makeup, giving her a striking new look. When they arrive at the tattoo parlor, Tris is surprised to find Tori, her test administrator, working there. She wants to talk about her aptitude test results, but Tori refuses. Tris decides to have three flying birds tattooed on her collarbone to represent her family.
Tris and Christina discuss the other initiates while they prepare to fight in pairs in the center of the room. Tris realizes Christina has become a closer friend than anyone in her old faction. Christina reveals that she hates Peter, Drew, and Molly, a trio of inseparable Candor initiates she’s known since childhood, and calls Peter “pure evil.” As Al and Will hesitate to begin their fight, Four says they are allowed to concede, while Eric insists that each pair must battle until someone is unable to continue. Al eventually knocks Will out with a hard punch and is disturbed by his own brutality. Next, Molly punches and kicks Christina hard enough to make her bleed, and Christina, sobbing, concedes. Eric, angry at Christina, brings everyone to the Pit. He forces Christina to hang over the railing of the chasm for five minutes to prove she’s not a coward. As she begins to slip, Tris and Al encourage her to hang on. At the end of five minutes, they help pull her back to safety.
Analysis: Chapters 7 – 9