Divergent Recap – Chapter 16

Ranking, stabbing and quitting. Guess who’s even more evil in this chapter? 

After her mother left, Tris goes back to the dormitory to find Al there and says that his parents are looking for him. She goes to sit next to Al and he confesses he didn’t want to see them.

“Didn’t want them to ask how I was doing,” he says. “I’d have to tell them, and they would know if I was lying.”

I’m confused. The Candor doesn’t lie or has some ability to recognize when someone is lying or both? If they can figure out someone is lying, why did Peter get away with the stuff he did as a kid? Apparently, Al’s parent wanted him to become Dauntless because they admire this faction. I’m not sure I admire any faction the way they are presented. Maybe the factionless because they have to put out with these morons. I still secretly hope that the factionless will kill them all. Tris asks him if his parents why he chose the Dauntless.

“No. I guess it was because… I think it’s important to protect people. To stand up for people. Like you did for me.” He smiles at me. “That’s what the Dauntless are supposed to do, right? That’s what courage is. Not… hurting people for no reason.”

Ha ha, I don’t know who fooled you, kids, that the Dauntless are brave. I think the words you’re looking for are incredibly reckless to the point of idiocy. Tris wonders how the Dauntless were before and if she would have behaved differently. I wonder if they had proper training at some point. Al thinks he might come up last and the two of them sit in silence, Tris thinking how proud her dad would be because she’s helping Al just by staying there. Yeah, sometimes it’s nice to just be there for someone who’s hurting.

“I feel braver when I’m around you, you know,” he says. “Like I could actually fit in here, the same way you do.”
I am about to respond when he slides his arm across my shoulders. Suddenly I freeze, my cheeks hot.
I didn’t want to be right about Al’s feelings for me. But I was.

Oh, yeah, Al had a thing for her. I thought we were going to forget about this plotline as it isn’t mentioned in every chapter as the “Peter is evil” one. Anyway, Tris, if you knew Al liked you, why the fuck did you sit on his bed, close to him? I though her Abnegation habits were so ingrained that she was wary of physical contact? So, it makes no sense for her to go and casually sit next to Al. NO SENSE! Anyway, she leans forward so his arm falls from her and the poor boy is embarrassed.

I wish I could tell him not to take it personally. I could tell him that my parents rarely held hands even in our own home, so I have trained myself to pull away from all gesture of affection, because they raised me to take them seriously.

Yeah, fuck off with the stupid explanations.

But of course, it is personal. He is my friend – and that is all. What is more personal than that?

I don’t know if he’s your friend, Tris. You kind of treat him like shit, think all nasty things about him and give him mixed signals. Yeah, she stood up for him, but she did it mostly to show off Eric. She leaves the dormitory asking Al if he is going to be ok and he nods.

When the dormitory door closes behind me, I touch a hand to my forehead and grin a little. Awkwardness aside, it is nice to be liked.

WTF? You know what’s also nice? Not hurting people.

After the visits are finished, everybody talks about the final rankings. Tris angsts a bit that her rank might not be good enough for her to become a Dauntless at the end of the initiation. We find out that the Erudite don’t keep pets because they are illogical. Except for the fact that dogs can protect the house and the family, and cats catch rats and other pests, which are bound to exist in a crumpling city. I guess the Erudite are idiots too.

Christina says pets are fun. She had a bulldog who once ate a whole roasted chicken and everybody in her family laughed. Because Candor are idiots too. I got the impression they had some food rationing problems in that society, so I don’t get it why they are so amused. In a society were food is scarce, that dog would have been beaten and thrown in the streets. And probably eaten by the factionless. I’m not saying animal cruelty is right, but in an authoritarian society gruesome stuff happens.

Will asks Christina why doesn’t she get a dog after initiation, but Christina says dogs are ruined for her after the aptitude test. ANGST! DIVERGENT! FEAR! So, the whole discussion about dogs was to remind about divergence, the think no one explains. Anyway, Christina asks if everybody had to kill the dog and figures Tris did it. From body language. Tris tells them she didn’t kill the dog, and her result was Abnegation. Because the reporting system is so stupid, you could just erase stuff from it.

I should not lie to my friends. It creates barriers between us, and we already have more than I want. Christina taking the flag. Me rejecting Al.

Huh, so I guess her friends will distance from her. She’s a shitty friend, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

After dinner, everybody hurries to the dormitory to find out their ranks. Four is there to explain how the ranking system works. It is stupid. After the first round of fights, each initiate was assigned a skill level. Uhm, in that round of fights only Al, Will, Christina and Molly fought and then the whole chasm scene happened. So, the rest got zero as skill level? Then after each fight they earn a number of points according to the skill level of the opponent they’ve beaten. Does their skill level also update? ‘Cuz from what I gather the skill level and the points are different measures. Also, a high ranked initiate loses points if he’s beaten by a lower ranked one. So, I guess Molly is fucked.

“Stage two of training is weighted more heavily than stage one, because it is more closely tied to overcoming cowardice,” he says. “That said, it is extremely difficult to rank high at the end of initiation if you rank low in stage one.”

No, it’s no extremely difficult. You said it yourself. Points are valued more in the second stage, than in the first. So, if someone does very well on the second stage compared to the first stage, he would go up on the rankings. It would be incredibly difficult only if stage one was weighted more. Basic math, people, basic math.

The cuts will be announced the next day, because drama. Four of the initiates will become factionless. Well, Tris is the sixth. Edward is first, followed by Peter, Will, Christina and Molly. Al is the eighth, so he’s probably dead meat. Molly doesn’t understand how Christina is ranked higher than her. I don’t understand that either as Christina won just one fight against Al, and lost against Peter and Will. Apparently, Tris beating Molly meant a lot of lost points for Molly. So, Molly threatens Tris. Yawn.

Peter didn’t complain about the rankings, he just went to his bed and started untying his shoelaces. OMG! HE’S UP TO SOMETHING. Or that’s what Tris thinks. Will congratulates Tris and the three of them go to celebrate without Al who just wants to sleep.

But lingering at the back at my mind is the fact that Christina and Will are my competitors. If I want to fight my way to the top ten, I will have to beat them first.

Yep, she’s such an amazing friend, I feel like crying. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point she kills her supposed friends.

I just hope I don’t have to betray them in the process.

Foreshadowing, she’s gonna betray them Be prepared.

That night, Tris has trouble falling asleep, so she wonders why did her mother choose Abnegation. Probably she didn’t want to die young, like any human being with an ounce of self-preservation. She thinks that maybe she could ask around to see if anyone knew her, but that’s a dead-end because “faction before blood”. Divergent angst. Moving on.

She hears some movement in the dormitory and then someone screams, “a scream that can only mean blood and bone and pain”. Edward was stabbed in the eye with a butter knife. Huh, butter knife are not sharp, they are usually rounded. But whatever. Of course, Tris goes to help Edward because she’s so selfless.

A laugh bubbles in my stomach. Hysterical. I have to suppress hysteria if I’m going to help him. I have to forget myself.

G-d, her reaction to the whole situation is to laugh? How can anyone like this character? I think the movie will be a lot better, because we won’t hear the stupid thoughts she has. She tries to calm Edward until the nurse arrives. Then, she notices two people missing: Drew and Peter. So, Evil Peter stuck a butter knife in Edward’s eye. Tris starts cleaning the blood. I don’t get why there is so much blood. It’s not like the eyes are full of blood. Do you see a lot of blood on this guy?

“Should we tell someone?
“You really think the Dauntless will do anything?” I say. “After they hung you over the chasm? After they made us beat each other unconscious?”

If this happened in an army, then Peter would have been sent at court-martial and locked away. Also, if the Dauntless don’t care about them killing each other, why aren’t all the initiates killing each other until there are 10 left? Tris already established that being factionless is worse than being dead. It takes Tris half an hour to clean the blood, so I wonder if Edward was stabbed in the neck. That would have made more sense.

The next day, they have a day off. Tris and Will just walk aimlessly. They think about visiting him, but they don’t know what to say except “sorry you got stabbed in the eye.” This idea makes them laugh. Because other people suffering is so funny.

No one who would want to punish Peter has the authority to, and no one who has the authority to punish him would want to. The Dauntless have rules against attacking someone like that, but with people like Eric in charge, I suspect those rules go unenforced.

But there are other leaders besides Eric. Four other leaders. What do they do?

Apparently, there is such a thing as faction manifestos which Will has read. See, cult behavior! They have manifestos. The line Will remembers from the Dauntless manifesto is: “We believe in ordinary acts of the bravery, in the courage to stand up for another.” That’s kind of what Al said in the beginning of the chapter.

Maybe Dauntless was formed with good intentions, with the right ideals and the right goals. But it has strayed far from them.

All the factions were formed with stupid intentions.

And the same is true of Erudite, I realize. A long time ago, Erudite pursued knowledge and ingenuity for the sake of doing good. Now they pursue knowledge and ingenuity with greedy hearts.

Uhm, people don’t pursue knowledge for the sake of doing good. There is actually a huge philosophical debate on this topic. I would say people pursue knowledge for the sake of it, for the thrill of pushing the limit. Most of the people who make ground-breaking discoveries don’t really benefit from them. Science only provides the knowledge, industries are the ones that apply it for various reasons.

I wonder if the other factions suffer the same problem. I have not thought about it before.

Probably. Man, I don’t get how this society works at all.

Still she couldn’t leave the Dauntless despite the depravity she has seen because she has also seen a faction worth saving. I don’t know when has she seen that.

After she returns to the dormitory, Edward’s and Myra’s bunks are empty and Christina informs Tris they quit. Al was meant to be cut, but their quitting saved him. Hm, sounds like a DEM. How convenient.

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