Summary: Chapter 25

Tris, Will, and Christina stand at the chasm after a visit to the tattoo parlor. Tris has gotten a tattoo of the Abnegation symbol to mark its importance to her identity. As the friends throw stacks of Erudite reports from the past few months into the chasm, Tris asks Will about Erudite’s leader, Jeanine. They have a brief, tense discussion about Erudite’s accusations against Abnegation, and Tris silently worries that Jeanine is planning a revolution. As Christina and Will leave together, Tris spots Four climbing up the Pit walls and secretly follows him to the fear landscape room. Aware of her presence, he invites her to join his simulation and says it will explain why he’s called Four.

In the first part of the simulation, they confront his fear of heights by jumping off a building. Next, they go through a claustrophobia scenario, and Tris is delighted when they’re forced to share close quarters. Then Four must kill a woman who is pointing a gun at him. Finally, a tall, slim man carrying a belt appears. Tris recognizes him as Marcus, her father’s colleague, and realizes that Four must be his son, Tobias. Marcus multiplies into a dozen men, and Tris intervenes as one of them lashes out at Tobias with his belt. Tobias steps between them, and the scene vanishes. As they recover from the simulation, Tris realizes that Tobias only has four fears, explaining his nickname. They embrace in relief, and Tobias takes her hand, saying he has something else to show her.

Summary: Chapter 26

Tris and Tobias walk hand in hand toward the Pit. Tris asks about his aptitude test, hoping to learn he’s also Divergent, and is disappointed when he says he was given Abnegation. As they sit in the chasm next to the river, Tris asks why he left Abnegation. When he hesitates to give details, she realizes he really did leave to escape his father’s cruelty. They discuss their Dauntless and Abnegation traits. Four says he doesn’t feel like he belongs in Dauntless, and Tris insists she was never selfless enough for Abnegation. Four disagrees, telling her she’s displayed plenty of selflessness, as well as intelligence and bravery. He asks her to call him Tobias and they kiss for the first time.

Summary: Chapter 27

The next morning, Tris is giddy with happiness. She, Christina, and Will head to breakfast, and Tris’s excitement deflates when Tobias enters the dining hall without acknowledging her. Uriah explains that Zeke told him the initiates must go through an instructor’s fear landscape. Christina predicts it will be Four’s, but Tris knows he wouldn’t allow anyone to observe his father’s abuse. Indeed, Lauren, a Dauntless-born instructor, explains that in this introductory phase they will experience one of her fears. Tris is assigned a kidnapping scenario, which causes her to relive the trauma of Peter’s attack. She hears a voice tell Lauren to stop the simulation, and when she comes out of the hallucination in tears, Tobias publicly chastises her for her “pathetic” performance. Tris angrily slaps him and leaves the room.

Analysis: Chapters 25–27

In this section, readers learn some important details about Four’s background and inner life. Before he rescued Tris from Peter’s attack, he seemed mysterious, intimidating, and aloof to Tris and to the readers. After the rescue, he and Tris grew closer, but he still avoided revealing anything about his own past. Now he makes a conscious choice to reveal his past along with his vulnerable side, inviting Tris to follow him to the simulation room and experience his fear landscape.

As they go through his fear simulation together, Tris watches Four experience intense terror, and her respect for him grows. When he faces a woman aiming a gun at him, Tris realizes he’s afraid of killing others rather than of being killed himself. The fact that his fear is selfless and ethical makes him seem more admirable and generous in her eyes. Readers also learn that Four’s worst fear involves his abusive father, Marcus, the Abnegation council member who Tris’s father defended near the beginning of the book. Though the revelation comes as a surprise to Tris, it’s less shocking to readers. Both Marcus and Four have dark blue eyes, hinting that they’re related, and on Visiting Day Tris’s mother remarked that Four looked familiar. Additionally, Four told Tris that he never misses his family, suggesting that he left his faction behind to escape it. His father’s violent behavior during the fear simulation explains why. Though Erudite’s attacks on Tris’s father are blatantly false, in Marcus’s case, their accusations are justified.

Up until now, Four and Tris have had trouble expressing their romantic attraction, but the fear simulation brings them closer both physically and emotionally. Abnegation trained Tris not to display public affection, and readers now know that Four is working through an abusive past. But they open up to one another during and after the simulation. Since the fears they experience aren’t Tris’s, she remains objective, and her mental clarity allows her to help Four get through each scenario quickly. Whereas Al was threatened by Tris’s strong performance in the simulations, Four openly encourages it and even finds it sexy. When they’re smashed together in a small box during Four’s claustrophobia scenario, he teases Tris about their bodies touching. The sexual tension of the scene is quickly followed by Tris coming to Four’s defense when the Marcus apparition tries to beat him. They have their first kiss in the chasm shortly after the simulation is over, just after Tris has been at her strongest and Four at his most vulnerable.

The nature of identity, an important theme throughout the book, is especially prominent in this section. Though Four insists that his aptitude test placed him in Abnegation, Tris hopes that he might actually share her Divergence. To her, this similarity is vital: though she is gradually becoming grateful for her Divergence, not just afraid of it, she badly wants to share her experience with someone else. But Four denies he’s Divergent, and he wants Tris to call him by his Abnegation name, Tobias, revealing that he feels closer to that identity than his Dauntless one. Notably, Tris doesn’t return the favor by revealing that her name is actually Beatrice, and readers get the impression that she’s enjoying something of a role reversal. After helping Tobias through his fear landscape, she feels more powerful than ever before.

Even after Tobias and Tris admit their feelings for each other and kiss, their relationship remains complicated. Tobias treats Tris harshly the next day, causing her to question her perception of what happened the night before – something she’s already prone to doing. Tobias even calls her “Stiff” after she panics during the kidnapping simulation. This is a particularly nasty insult, since Peter often uses it, and the simulation has just forced Tris to relive the traumatic night when he tried to kidnap and kill her. Though readers can infer that Tobias is being hard on Tris to avoid suspicion, his behavior is harsh, and Tris’s angry response seems justified.