Divergent Recap – Chapter 4

In which we assist to a dinner in the Prior family and I get annoyed again…

Beatrice arrives home five minutes earlier which allows us to find out Abnegation doesn’t allow adornments, except watches. I would probably whine some more about the whole choosing thing even the kids already are part of a faction, but that would be redundant.

She leaves on a street with identical dull-houses, made out of gray cement. Really, just cement, no isolation at all? I bet it’s freezing there in the winter. And why do they need mailboxes? Do they still need paper to write bills and stuff? You wouldn’t expect that given the fact this society has machine inducing hallucinations in teens.

If we have little, and want for little, and we are all equal, we envy no one.

Except the rest of the factions who don’t adhere to this lifestyle. I assume, it’s not like this book discloses a lot of information.

Caleb arrives with some neighbors and they are laughing. Apparently, Abnegation people are allowed to laugh, but only at home. Why? Because. This book tries to convince me that Beatrice is still torn about her decision, although we all know already what she’s going to choose. Caleb invites Susan over later if she wants and then B thinks this:

[… ] Susan and Caleb flirt in the tentative way known only to the Abnegation.

What does tentative way mean? You can’t just throw expressions like this. And inviting someone over is not flirting.

Caleb notices that there is something wrong with her, she is like “OMG, my brother is so perfect for Abnegation”. He insists, she’s like tell me what happened in your test and then she hears a train: the Dauntless calling her. The angst over her decision is so badly executed, I feel crying.

In an Abnegation family, members take turns preparing meals. It’s Beatrice’s turn and Caleb helps her. Guess B’s reaction? “My brother is so good and selfless”. This book is fucking repetitive.

Most of what we eat is frozen or canned, because farms these days are far away. My mother told me once that, a long time ago, there were people who wouldn’t buy genetically engineered produce because they viewed it as unnatural. Now he have no other option.

Where are those farms? On the moon? Most of the fresh vegetables I buy come from far away countries like Holland, Turkey or France. No need to can or freeze them. I just hate it when authors insert their own beliefs in such unsubtle ways. If genetically engineered produce is the norm in this society, they wouldn’t think of it as unnatural. And, btw, one type of genetically engineered plants are made resistant to harsh conditions like less water, cold temperatures, etc. So they would have fresh produce. Gosh, research is so so hard. Let’s just regurgitate stuff we hear no matter what. Another reason for my hate list.

My father drops his bag at the door and kisses my head. Other people see him as opinionated man – too opinionated, maybe – but he’s also loving. I try to see only the good in him; I try.

You can be opinionated and still be loving, those two things are not mutually exclusive. So, what’s the evil in her dad? Why does she always gloss over important stuff? WHY? It’s annoying.

They have dinner and they talk. Her mother heard about the incident at the test, but she doesn’t know it involves Beatrice. In the previous chapter, it is stated that her mother works for the agency in charge with the city renovations. But her mother actually recruits proctor volunteers for the tests or organize workers to help the slaves factionless. I prefer consistency, especially in a freaking subsequent chapter.

[…] and my father gives thanks to God for food and work and friends and family. Not every Abnegation family is religious, but my father says we should try not to see those differences because they will only divide us. I am not sure what to make of that.

Me either. It’s just stupid, probably to jack up the word count. Also, which god are you referring to? I know the author is Christian, but she should refrain from including Christian customs in a dystopian book. Or she could have said “Not every Abnegation family is Christian” and show us how this religion survived.

My parents love each other, but they rarely show affection like this in front of us.

How do you know they love each other then?

They taught us that physical contact is powerful, so I have been wary of it since I was young.

No affection towards your children: that’s healthy! But didn’t her dad ran his hand through her hair in the first chapter? Or does he do that only when she gets a haircut?

Her dad is bothered by something and only her mother noticed. How self absorbed can you be to miss “a deep frown and sagging posture”? She wasn’t like she was thinking something else during dinner, but rather maintained a conversation with her family. Her dad is upset because Marcus, a coworker, had a bad day at work. Guess what they do? They are political leaders.

The city is ruled by a council of fifty people, composed entirely of representatives from Abnegation, because our faction is regarded as incorruptible, due to our commitment to selflessness. Our leaders are selected by their peers for their impeccable character, moral fortitude, and leadership skills. Representatives from each of the other factions can speak in the meetings on behalf of a particular issue, but ultimately, the decision is the council’s. And while the council technically makes decision together, Marcus is particularly influential.

This is horrible because it’s not explained at all. Who thought it would be a good idea to have only representatives from ONE faction? A person committed to selflessness is not incorruptible. I would say that he can be more corruptible, so he can help people. Corruption doesn’t mean accepting only money as bribe, but also favors. Also, if Abnegation are leaders, how can they accept the idea of slaves? And if all Abnegation are equal, why is one more influential than the others? Stupid book.

And how come in 100 years, there was no conflict at all? B responds to this actually: because people are afraid of war. There will always be a category of people who aren’t afraid of war. Psychopaths. A very charismatic bunch, those could have easily swayed the factionless to kill faction people. Writing dystopia is hard if you don’t know stuff about politics, economy, psychology, sociology, technology.

So, why was Marcus upset? Because Jeanine Matthews, the Erudite sole representative (so there’s just one rep for each faction), released a report attacking Marcus’s character. Marcus’s son, Tobias, chose Dauntless a couple of years ago. And the reason for that is because Marcus was cruel and violent towards him. Not showing affection to your kids can be a sign of cruelty, you know? Anyway, apparently the Erudite are attacking the Abnegation for months now. I can’t say that’s a hard thing to do.

It’s funny how Beatrice is the only asking her father questions and is being chastised for it by the mother and brother, but her father continues to answer them. So, why are the Erudites so mean?

Valuing knowledge above all else results in a lust for power, and that leads men into dark and empty places.

Kids, don’t study! You don’t want to end in a dark and empty place. I would say that valuing knowledge above all else leads to progress as it happened in the last 200 years. Honestly, I don’t see scientists or thinkers lusting for power. But I see politicians and big corporations doing that.

But we needed this bit of info, so B could tell us she’s not gonna choose Erudite because she is her father’s daughter. And because she’s good and the Erudite are evil. Get it?

Dinner is over (thank G-d!) and she and Caleb go upstairs. Her brother tells her that they should also think of themselves, not only about their family which of course confuses Beatrice, because her brother is so selfless usually. Maybe he’s better at pretending than you are, B. Also, she sees that he has a stack of books in his bedroom. Is this foreshadowing or what? He’s not going to choose Abnegation either, he’ll become evil instead. And the chapter ends with Beatrice angst over her decision, even though we already know she’s gonna choose Dauntless.


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