Divergent Recap – Chapter 8

In which the training is basically a big joke and Tris becomes pretty…

They are leaning how to shoot a gun! Yay! Maybe they’ll kill each other this way as they aren’t learning how to handle and clean a gun, how to load a gun, how to grip it, how to align their sight. These are all trivial things and they don’t matter. I don’t get why they need guns anyway as there’s no apparent threat. And if they are such an evolved society, why don’t they have like laser guns? Or maybe even other weapons to incapacitate enemies. 

We also find out that there are 3 stages of initiation: a physical stage, an emotional stage and a mental stage.

“We believe that preparation eradicates cowardice, which we define as the failure to act in the midst of fear,” says Four.

That sounds like a good thing, but honestly you can’t prepare for everything. It’s better to know that and have the right coping mechanisms when something unexpected happens.

Peter asks what does bravery has to do with firing a weapon (I’m wondering that too) and Four responds by pressing his gun to Peter’s head. LOL, Four really hates questions. Are they learning to shoot with real bullets, not with blanks? Sounds wasteful to me. Finally, Four gives an actual answer: they are less likely to be scared if they know to defend themselves. Not bad, but I would add that a good soldier still needs an ounce of fear so he could better assess a situation and retreat if necessary. Someone who always fights no matter what is most likely to die very soon.

They learn how to shoot by watching Four shooting. No explanations necessary apparently, just watch and learn. And he just fires one shot! This is stupid and I know that the Dauntless are big idiots, but I still think they would have put more thought into this training. Because all idiots like to show they are not idiots. Also, why aren’t they wearing ear and eye protection? How can they be good soldiers if their hearing is damaged from gunshot sounds? Or worse if their eyesight is damaged by a piece of lead?

I push my family from my mind, set my feet shoulder-width apart, and delicately wrap both hands around the handle of the gun. […] I squeeze the trigger, hesitantly at first and then harder, cringing away from the gun. The sound hurts my ears and the recoil sends my hands back, toward my nose.

I think that because of the way she was holding the gun, it should have hit Tris in the face. She continues to shoot, missing the target, when Will, an Erudite transfer, teases her that “statistically speaking” she should have hit the target at least once. Really? What stats are those? I think the Erudite are another breed of idiots, probably arrogant, that think they know stuff. In real life, when someone starts a phrase with “statistically speaking”, you should definitely ask where’s the research. After this stupid remark, Tris manages to hit the target and the boy tells her something like “see, stats don’t lie.” Douchebag, but Tris smiles and it’s established he’s a good guy.

After 5 rounds, Tris manages to hit the middle of the target and then stops shooting. Why? Probably she thinks she knows how to shoot now. Which is highly unbelievable as you need a lot of hours of practice especially if there is no one to instruct you.

Lunch time and Tris thinks about the aptitude test and Divergence. She’s afraid she’s gonna let her guard down and something terrible will happen. Why? It’s not like she knows anything about Divergence and I don’t think her peers know about it.

“I asked if you remember ever taking a class with me,” she says. “I mean, no offense, but I probably wouldn’t remember if you did. All the Abnegation looked the same to me. I mean, they still do, but now you’re not one of them.”

I wonder how all the kids in school that enforce uniforms manage to differentiate between them. Just because they dressed in gray clothes doesn’t mean they looked the same. There some mumbo-jumbo about factions: Candor hates Amity because those who seek peace will always deceive to keep things calm. Yeah, I doubt that’s the way you keep peace and I don’t know how this society is still standing as they all deceive each other.

Will is a good guy as I’ve told you before because he comes to sit with her, Christina and Al, and not with the other Erudite kids, Edward and Myra. Which are a couple and they kiss to B’s outrage. Who hisses when a couple kisses? You remember that Abnegation frowns upon PDA and it’s the only faction who does that. The other kids at the table tease Tris that she’s frigid and she gets embarrassed, but eventually laughs. Honestly, I would have used uptight instead of frigid.

After lunch, they continue their training in another large room, with a painted circle in the middle of the floor. There is also a chalkboard with their names written in alphabetical order. There are also punching bags, so they are learning how to fight. Guess how many days of fight training they get before actually fighting each other? Half a day. Four shows them a few basic punches and then leave them to practice. This time, he actually takes time to go to each initiate and gives them advice. Because we needed a scene between Tris and Four, because this book is actually YA romance. He tells her to use her elbows and knees and then, presses a hand to her stomach to remind her to keep tension there. Apparently, Four is intimidating to the other transfers, except for Tris of course.

Tris goes to the Pit with Christina, Al and Will. Christina suggests to Tris to do some changes to look more Dauntless, so she takes her to a clothes shop and dresses her in a black dress. Not too tight, because Tris refuses to wear something too tight. Christina also uses a black eyeliner.

“You aren’t going to be able to make me pretty, you know.”

Because everybody loves a self-deprecating character. Really, isn’t there another type of heroine in the YA books? Would it kill the authors to write a heroine not obsessed with her looks?

I open my eyes and for the first time stare openly at my own reflection. My heart picks up as I do, like I am breaking the rules and will be scolded for it. It will be difficult to break the habits of thinking Abnegation instilled in me, like tugging a single thread from a complex work of embroidery.

Honestly, B, it was so easy for you not to comfort Al when he was crying. How can I believe this character actually gives a shit about her Abnegation nurturing? That’s why this book is stupid, it’s inconsistent in its world building and its character development. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Tris looks pretty now. Or noticeable as the book tries to convince me.

At home, my mother and I picked up nearly identical stacks of clothing every six months or so. It’s easy to allocate resources when everyone gets the same thing, but everything is more varied at the Dauntless compound. Every Dauntless gets a certain amount of points to spend per month, and the dress costs one of them.

So, this is a form of communism I guess. Communism with slaves. How many points do they get per month? They could get 10 points or 1 million points. Knowing this would make a difference on how easy or hard is for them to get stuff. But these details don’t matter.

They go to the tattoo parlor where Al is already getting a spider tattoo. Tris is amazed by the artwork on the walls, because she has never seen in real life before. Our pals in Abnegation think it’s impractical, so they’ve probably torn down all museums. Guess who works at the tattoo parlor? Yep, Tori, the test administrator. Tris tries to ask her about the D word, but Tori won’t give them to her. Because this book needs conflict, people and the only source of conflict is Tris being Divergent and not knowing anything about it and people not telling her what being Divergent means. Except that it’s dangerous.

In the end, Tori asks her if she wants a tattoo and B is conflicted that this will come between her family and her (more than her leaving home?). But she finds a way to honor both her new life, and her old one, by choosing a tattoo of 3 ravens, one for each family member. This would have been a very nice touch to her character, if she actually cared about Abnegation values. Meh, chapter over. And I’m only a fifth through this book.

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