In which we find out what’s the infamous aptitude test…
This chapter starts with the girl in the lunchroom. On one hand, I’m glad I didn’t have to read an entire lesson. On the other hand, I’m sad that I am stuck with Beatrice’s tidbits of information. Yes, this is the chapter where we find out her name. I don’t really get why they have to sit through classes until lunch and then have the test. Why the torture?
There some boring talk about her neighbor Susan and her dad who has a car. But really that’s just an excuse for Beatrice to take a jab at Caleb’s selflessness.
The test administrators are mostly Abnegation volunteers, although there is an Erudite in one of the testing rooms and a Dauntless in another to test those of us from Abnegation, because the rules state that we can’t be tested by someone from our own faction.
In a way that makes sense because you don’t want the administrators to influence the decision. What doesn’t makes sense is why they grow up in a certain faction and why do they have to choose their faction again at 16? They could grow up in a totally faction-less environment and then get “sorted” into a faction. Also, I want to find more about this volunteering thing. Only Abnegation volunteers and the other factions are paid?
Next we find about what do the kids from the other factions do while waiting for the test. It’s predictable: the Dauntless are loud, the Candor act like lawyers (because we all know how honest lawyers are), the Erudite pretend to be smart, by talking about book stuff and the Abnegation sit like stone. Apparently that’s the behavior the factions dictate (the factions they didn’t choose, but nevertheless have to obey until they 16).
A group of Amity girls in yellow and red sit in a circle on the cafeteria floor, paying some kind of hand-slapping game involving a rhyming song. Every few minutes I hear a chorus of laughter from them as someone is eliminated and has to sit in the center of the circle.
Meet Amity, the idiot faction! And the second one allowed to wear colors. Probably their aptitude is friendship or peace. I doubt it’s gonna be repeated for 100 times in the book.
There is an interesting idea that not all the kids enjoy having to behave according to factions custom, but there’s no time to dwell on that as B really need to bash her brother some more. Her brother who has no problem being an Abnegation. Her brother who doesn’t understand why doesn’t she do what she is supposed to do. Well, Caleb, she’s ultra special. How you don’t see that it’s beyond my understanding.
So, Caleb goes in for testing, it takes 10 minutes, comes out super nervous, but she can’t ask him about the results and he can’t tell. Why? Who knows?
Finally we get into the testing room! Of course that B’s test administrator is a Dauntless, Tori, who is dressed in black and has a hawk tattoo. The room’s walls are covered in mirrors and, in the center of the room, there is a reclined chair with a machine. I’m trying to picture it, but it is just plain weird. Why mirrors? Is there any significance or the author thought it was a cool idea?
We also find out that an Abnegation can’t be curious because it’s a betrayal of the faction values. This factions sound more and more like religions to me.
So, Beatrice sits on the chair with electrodes attached to her (some electrodes are attached to Tori) and drinks some liquid. This book is supposed to take 100 years from now. The machine is not realistic and that’s a problem I have with dystopian future books as it seems the authors seem to have total disregard for researching technology. For someone familiar with science and technology, it sounds stupid. In my opinion, the test could have been delivered through virtual reality (Oculus Rift anyone?)
I stand in the school cafeteria again, but all the long tables are empty, and I see through the glass walls that it’s snowing. On the table in front of me are two baskets. In one is a hunk of cheese, and in the other, a knife the length of my forearm.
Behind me, a woman’s voice says, “Choose.”
Basically the test is a simulation and Tori needed to be connected so she could observe and yell instructions. I hate to be annoying again, but I assume this simulation is a software that could contain an evaluation algorithm, so it could give an unbiased answer in the form of a probability set. Of course, Beatrice stubborn as she is, doesn’t choose anything.
The baskets disappear. I hear a door squeak and turn to see who it is. I see not a “who” but a “what”: A dog with a pointed nose stands a few yards away from me. It crouches low and creeps toward me, its lips peeling back from its white teeth.
What you going to do now, B? She remembers not to look him in the eye and figures out she should lower herself to his level. So the ferocious beast becomes a lovely puppy. I heard about this method of handling aggressive dogs, I’m not sure if it works or not.
My biology textbook said that dogs can smell fear because of a chemical secreted by human glands in a state of duress, the same chemical a dog’s prey secretes. Smelling fear leads them to attack.
That’s factually inaccurate. There is absolutely no study to support this idea. It is believed that the behavioral cues of weakness fearful people have lead to a dog’s attack.
A little girl appears and irritates the dog, so Beatrice has to jump on top of the dog to stop it. Thus, demonstrating courage, probably. She’s gonna be a Dauntless, yay! It’s like obvious at this point what will she choose.
Next phase of the test: she gets on a bus and there’s a guy there who shows here a picture of an apprehended murderer and asks if she knows him.
In the picture beneath the headline is a young man with a plain face and a beard. I feel like I do know him, though I don’t remember how. And at the same time, I feel like it would be a bad idea to tell the man that.
You know what would be a total obvious thing to do? To have this guy in the picture reappear later as a love interest, haha. But that won’t happen, right? Fingers crossed!
She gets extremely nervous and tries to lie. The guy continues to pester her, she lies again and again.
“If you know him,” he says in a low voice, “you could save me. You could save me.”
Dude, chill! The murderer was caught, he can’t do anything to you anymore. This dude is totally cray-cray. Of course, Beatrice continues to say she doesn’t know the murderer. The end. So, I guess she’s not fit material for Candor.
Honestly, I expected a different kind of test. Not necessarily more complex, but rather more revealing of the world. It just felt like a missed opportunity to show us something interesting. Instead it blabs on about dogs and crazy people. I guess will have to wait for chapter 3 to hear the result.