Summary: Chapter 22

Tris awakens in Four’s room, her head and body throbbing with pain. As Four puts an ice pack under her head, she asks if he managed to hurt her attackers. He tells her he injured Drew badly enough to send him to the infirmary, but Al and Peter ran away. He offers to report the incident, but Tris refuses, not wanting to show her fear. Four treats her tenderly and advises her to feign vulnerability so the others won’t hurt her again. She tells him that the boys molested her during the assault, angering him. He insists that she protect herself now and “ruin them” later. He asks her not to call him Four but doesn’t give an alternative name, piquing her curiosity.

Summary: Chapter 23

That night, Tris stays in Four’s room. As she watches him sleep, she thinks about how she likes his intelligence and courage. Though she awakens in pain, she thrills to Four’s touch while he examines her injuries. Following his advice to seem afraid, she slinks into the dining room with her head down and notices that Al and Drew are absent. As she sits down, her friends see her injuries and ask what happened. They are shocked at the news of the brutal attack and can hardly believe Al was part of it. Drew enters the hall looking bruised and battered, and Tris sees Four smiling with satisfaction.

After lunch, Four leads the transfers into the Pit. As they climb up to the building above, Christina apologizes to Tris for her behavior during capture the flag, and Tris tells her to forget about it. The transfers enter a dimly lit room, and Four tells them about the third stage of training: the fear landscape. They’ll be presented with simulated obstacles based on both new and old fears, but this time everyone will be aware they’re in a simulation. For the final test, they’ll face their fears in front of a panel of Dauntless leaders, and the timed results will weigh heavily in their final rankings. Afterward, they return to the dorm and find Al red-eyed from crying. He apologizes to Tris repeatedly, but she says she’ll kill him if he ever comes near her again.

Summary: Chapter 24

Christina awakens Tris in the middle of a nightmare and says something has happened to Al. They run to the Pit, where two men are hoisting something large out of the chasm. To their horror, the object is Al’s bloated corpse. Someone observes that an initiate jumps into the chasm every year. On the verge of hysteria, Tris runs away. She seeks out Tori, and after a conversation over tea, they head down to the boisterous funeral. Most people are drunk, a strong contrast to the quiet mourning in Abnegation. When Tris approaches her friends, Molly again insinuates that Tris’s father made her leave her faction. Tris punches her, and Will quickly separates them.

Eric gives a funeral speech calling Al courageous for leaping into the unknown. Tris is so angry she leaves the ceremony. Four finds her in a hallway, where she yells that it’s ridiculous for the Dauntless to treat suicide as admirable. Warning her that she’s being watched, Four leads her away and tells her she’s bravest when she’s behaving unselfishly, like when she protected Al. He tells her that the Dauntless care more about controlling how she thinks than how she acts. He says her response to fear impresses him, and they embrace.

Analysis: Chapters 22–24

Al’s suicide is evidence that Dauntless is a dangerous, pressure-filled, and even fatal environment. It is a miniature dystopia within the broader society. Every year an initiate commits suicide in the chasm, and the Dauntless leaders perversely use the tragic event as a morale builder. Eric celebrates Al’s suicide as an act of “courage,” essentially encouraging the initiates to root for each other to die during the competition. Its warped priorities become even clearer when we learn that the compound has a surveillance system in place. As Tris loudly criticizes Eric’s rhetoric after Al’s funeral, Four warns her that she’s being watched. Though he doesn’t give Tris any details about the nature or extent of the surveillance, he clearly knows more about the system than he’s letting on, suggesting that Dauntless leaders may be spying on faction members, especially those who may cause trouble.

As the first-person narrator, Tris constantly tells readers what she’s thinking, and her thoughts reveal that she’s often stubbornly insistent on appearing brave. She decides not to report Peter, Al, and Drew’s attack on her, just as she and Christina opted not to tell anyone their suspicion that Peter stabbed Edward. This time, Tris has a personal stake in keeping quiet. She assumes that the violent Dauntless leaders wouldn’t punish Peter, and she’s also convinced that tattling on him will make her seem afraid. Her assumption may be correct, but it’s also short-sighted and even somewhat selfish. Readers are left to wonder if Peter will go on to attack Tris’s friends and eventually kill someone.

Tris’s internal struggles become more pronounced during this section, revealing that she constantly wrestles with whether to be kind or harsh. When Christina apologizes for her competitiveness during capture the flag, Tris decides to embrace her Abnegation instincts and let go of her anger. She doesn’t feel comfortable holding grudges, and Christina has usually supported her like a good friend should. By contrast, when Al tearfully asks Tris to forgive him for taking part in Peter’s attack, Tris refuses to accept his apology and calls him a coward. Tris is willing to forgive Christina for her minor transgression since most of the time, her friend actually stands up for her, as when she confronts an Erudite transfer who insults Tris’s old faction. Al is a different story. He resented Tris’s success so much that he was willing to completely shatter their friendship, and she can’t bring herself to forgive him. Still, even this response feels unnatural to her. After Al kills himself, Tris wonders whether forgiving him could have saved his life and fears she did the wrong thing. This is one of many signals that she’s not entirely comfortable with the harsh instincts that Dauntless brings out in her.

As Tris begins to realize she has feelings for Four, she’s afraid of seeming weak in his presence. For example, she doesn’t want to take his advice to act vulnerable after Peter’s attack, and when he asks how she’s feeling the next morning, she tells him she’s fine even though she’s in pain. Although she has tried to appear fearless since the beginning of initiation, her lies to Four are motivated by her attraction to him, not just her desire to succeed in Dauntless. Her impulse to hide her weaknesses from him becomes even stronger after Al’s death, when Four observes that fear motivates her to act instead of paralyzing her. It’s increasingly obvious that Four likes Tris, too, and she desperately wants to prove that she deserves his praise. At the same time, because Four is technically her supervisor, she remains eager to impress him so she’ll do well in the rankings.