Divergent Recap – Chapter 28

In which Tris breaks a rule and evil Erudite and double-evil Eric appear…

This is the longest chapter of the book. So, I’ll complain a lot. Tris goes outside where she hasn’t been in a long time (a week) and it’s very cold. Is it winter outside? Or what? I like stories to be placed in time, at least season-wise. But that’s me I guess.

At least I accomplished one thing: I convinced Peter and his friends that I’m no longer a threat. I just have to make sure that tomorrow, when I go through my own fear landscape, I prove them wrong. Yesterday failure seemed impossible. Today I’m not sure.

First of all, Tris, you didn’t prove anything. Four proved he’s a jerk, but your brain still doesn’t register that. Also, it’s not like Peter would have killed her or something if she performed well in Lauren’s fear landscape. Secondly, you kind of failed once. Just once. “Failing is bad” is an awful message to send to the readers, especially young readers. I believed it when I was younger, and all it got me was depression, the bad kind. I still feel depressed sometime. It took me some time to realize that you can’t always “win” and you sometimes fail, but it’s not so bad. You have to learn to embrace failure and rise from it, not go and crawl under a rock when it happens.

Tris braids her hair and ties it with a rubber band. Wouldn’t it hurt? Or is this like an American thing: using rubber hands to tie your hair? I read something similar in another novel.

That is all I need: to remember who I am. And I am someone who does not let inconsequential things like boys and near-death experiences stop her.
I laugh, shaking my head. Am I?

Who are you as a character and what do you want to do, Tris? It’s not like she has a purpose, and those things stop her from achieving it. She’s just a character waiting for stuff to happen, floating around.

She hears the train and she’s like where do tracks begin or end. She wants to go home, but she remembers that would be treason. So, she decides to visit Caleb.

I don’t want to go back, but choosing to quit, to be factionless, would be the bravest thing I have ever done, and today I feel like a coward.

She doesn’t think about quitting when Eric bullies Christina and Al, or when Al killed himself, but now that she “failed” once in the simulation, she thinks about it. I hate this character.

Tris gets to the Erudite headquarters and goes to the central building.

Erudite faction norms dictate that a faction member must wear at least one blue article of clothing at a time, because blue causes the body to release calming chemicals, and “a calm mind is a clear mind.”

WTF? People, seeing colors doesn’t magically release chemicals in your body. Some colors might be associated with emotions and that depends on your own experiences. The brain isn’t hardcoded to respond to certain colors. So, while a lot of people might find the color blue soothing and calming, other might find it depressing. For example, my boyfriend (who’s super smart) hates the color blue because it makes him feel anxious and depressed. When we travel, I always have to make sure that the hotel room isn’t blue, otherwise he can’t stay there. My conclusion is that the Erudite are probably stupid.

I stand just inside the entrance and tilt my head back. The room is huge, silent, and smells like dust-covered pages. The wood-paneled floor creaks beneath my feet. Bookcases line the walls on either side of me, but they seem to be decorative more than anything, because computers occupy the tables in the center of the room, and no one is reading. They stare at screens with tense eyes, focused.

I’m going to be annoying. This book is supposed to happen in the future, right? Not 10 years ago or so. Why the fuck they still have computers then? What about smartphones, tablets, ereaders, 3D printers, wearables, robots, supercomputers? This book was published in 2011, so there’s no reason for such shallow research. And making the main building sort of a library means no imagination.

A portrait on the opposite wall catches my attention. It is twice my height and four times my width and depicts an attractive woman with watery gray eyes and spectacles — Jeanine.

So, the Erudite have a leader with a personality cult? I don’t even… Anyway, meet evil Jeanine. The one that release the reports about Tris’s father, the reports we never got to read. 

Beneath her is a large plaque that reads KNOWLEDGE LEADS TO PROSPERITY.
Prosperity. To me the word has a negative connotation. Abnegation uses it to describe self-indulgence.

Hot water, packaged food, medicines and whatever knowledge brought us, are such evil things. I guess I missed the memo that prosperity is bad.

How could Caleb have chosen to be one of these people? The things they do, the things they want, it’s all wrong. But he probably thinks the same of the Dauntless.

Honestly, what the fuck do the Erudite do and want? It’s not like the book mentions these things, beyond Tris’s assumptions that the Erudite want a revolution. Or what do the Dauntless want besides torturing initiates? This book is going to drown in its stupidity.

Tris goes to the reception. Yeah, the Erudite have a reception, instead of a secure building. When the guy doesn’t want to say where Caleb is, she slams her hand on the desk. Because violence solves everything. Sadly, we don’t get to see Tris kicking that guy because Caleb appears. Wearing glasses, even though he doesn’t need them. Because the Erudite are hipsters or something. Glad to know that the magical warehouse produces glasses also.

They go outside to a desolated park where there are a bunch of Erudite reading newspapers and books. Again, why the fuck do they need newspapers? Caleb asks her why is she there and she says she wanted to go home. He’s not pleased because they are breaking the rules. I know Tris is breaking the rule of not leaving the Dauntless compound without supervision, but how does Caleb know that? And he also knows that she might get hurt.

They go to a more secluded place to avoid the stares. Caleb tells her that there is something big going on there, that Jeanine gives speeches about Abnegation corruption almost daily. Caleb doesn’t know what to believe because they weren’t allowed to ask questions at home, which is a valid point.  Tris thinks he’s being manipulated and he couldn’t know because this people are smart. Then, she goes on how the Dauntless are corrupt, but at least she knows what she’s part of, and he shouldn’t ignore what they’ve been told while growing up: the Erudite are arrogant and greedy. You forgot evil, Tris.  Caleb tells her to go, but she remembers to pass the message from their mother. You know the one with the simulation serum. He asks her why didn’t their mother come to him and she answers: “The Erudite don’t let the Abnegation into their compound anymore. Wasn’t that information available to you?” She’s the arrogant one, really.

She walks away, but she’s stopped by two Erudite men who bring her to Jeanine. She thinks about her training and if she should hit the guys to prove to the readers she’s having Dauntless thoughts. I can’t really imagine how Jeanine looks like, but I learn that her face accompanies the articles. Tris figures that Jeanine was the one talking with Eric in the hallway and she is dangerous.

“Correct. The aptitude test is by far my greatest achievement as a scientist,” she replies.

LOL, it’s like she did something and then stopped because she decided that was her greatest achievement. Do you think Einstein wrote the paper about the theory of relativity and then just stopped because he figured he wouldn’t discover anything else? Nope, he published about 300 scientific papers. The point is great scientist don’t just stop after they discover or invent something, they keep going because that’s what they love in life.

Let’s rehash what Jeanine does: develops stuff like simulation serums, writes articles, gives speeches, hunts Divergents, has a personality cult, stops whatever she’s doing to chat with Tris. She’s like a mad scientist and a politician rolled in one person. People, doing science is hard. And resource draining. A scientist must commit 100% of its time to come up with something great. Jeanine doing all that stuff is just plain ridiculous and it just show how much Roth knows about science. Jeanine being more like a politician and having teams of people to do stuff for her would have been more plausible.

Jeanine tells her about the fact her aptitude test result was never recorded and asks her if she knew that. Apparently, the only people who transferred from Abnegation to Dauntless are Tris and Tobias. They are so special.

My stomach twinges at the thought of him. Right now I don’t care how unique he is. He called me pathetic.

Oh, good, she figuring out he’s a douchebag.

Jeanine asks her why did she chose Dauntless, but Tris expects to be reprimanded and doesn’t get why is she in Jeanine’s office when Jeanine is important.

“I will leave the reprimands to the Dauntless,” she says, leaning back in her chair. […] “As to the reason for your presence here…a quality of my faction is curiosity,” she says, “and while perusing your records, I saw that there was another error with another one of your simulations. Again, it failed to be recorded. Did you know that?”

An innate quality of human beings is curiosity. Jeanine, if you’re so fucking smart, have you thought about not letting the test/simulation administrators not temper with the recordings? Another thing that popped into my head: I thought the aptitude tests and simulations were always there, but if Jeanine developed them, they aren’t older than 20-30 years. So, what did they do before they had these stuff?

Jeanine has access to the records due to an understanding with the Dauntless because she’s concerned with the competence of the technology. Tris draws the conclusion Jeanine’s lying because she is after the Divergent. So, she comes up with a story how the serum makes her sick to her stomach and she has a sensitive stomach since she was young. Then Jeanine interrogates her some more and Tris continues lying saying that she chose Dauntless because she was bored (is this really a lie), that she doesn’t miss her family and that she agrees with the reports.

Tris is driven back to the Dauntless compound in a solar-powered car. Really? That’s the best you can do, book? This car can be drove only on sunny days and during daytime. Why couldn’t it be a hybrid or electrical car or something more high-tech? Purely solar cars are not practical. Anyway, Eric is waiting for her and takes her inside the building. He cracks his knuckles because he’s so tough and then asks Tris what she thinking.

I have seen Eric do terrible things. I have heard him say terrible things. But I have never seen him like this. He is not maniac anymore; he is perfectly controlled, perfectly poised. Careful and quiet.
For the first time, I recognize Eric for what he is: an Erudite disguised as a Dauntless, a genius as well as a sadist, a hunter for the Divergent.

See, double evil. He’s not only a mad Dauntless, but also an Erudite. But he and Jeanine are no geniuses. Because if they were they would have killed Tris already. They have their doubts, so why not kill her anyway? Eric expects an explanation for her behavior and she doesn’t know what to say. He tells her he might have to reconsider her rank and her friends’ ranks because he’s evil. Anyway, Four swoops in to save the day again. When Four comes in, Eric starts looking more like a mad Dauntless. Honestly, this book is describing a psychopath. So, why isn’t he killing Tris? Four gestures something that makes Tris think she should show vulnerability, therefore she starts crying. And then Four tells Eric that Tris tried to kiss him and he rejected her and that’s the reason she ran.

Eric starts laughing and tells her she isn’t allowed to leave the compound without supervision. She’s upset and sits on the pavement for some time until Tobias comes to her and asks if she’s alright. She’s all touchy and doesn’t understand why does he care given the fact he’s cruel.

“I am not cruel.” He scowls at me. “I was protecting you this morning. How do you think Peter and his idiot friends would have reacted if they discovered that you and I were…” He sighs. “You would never win. They would always call your ranking a result of my favoritism rather than your skills.”

Again, I miss the part where the instructor could interfere with the simulation. Anyway, seeing her fail like that would be more proof that she’s indeed getting help from Tobias. I mean, she does extremely well when only she and Tobias are in the simulation room, but then she fails? Tobias’s logic is stupid. She says he didn’t have to insult her and he’s like “you didn’t have to run to your brother.”

“I didn’t think it would affect you this way.” Then he looks down and shrugs. “Sometimes I forget that I can hurt you. That you are capable of hurt.”

How romantic. NOT. You know what’s missing? “I am sorry, Tris. I’ll try to be more considerate of your feelings, instead of thinking you have none.” Her reaction?

A strange feeling goes through me — a sweat, aching weakness. He did what he did because he believed in my strength.

BARF. Another stupid message to send to young readers: it’s okay to be hurt by your boyfriend or something as long as he believes you have no feelings. And then she kisses him. They kiss in front of the Dauntless compound where there are cameras probably and they are like “look, how smart we are! We convinced Eric I’m jut a silly girl.”

This chapter in never-fucking-ending. Tris returns to the bedroom where Christina asks her where she was all day. Tris, of course, lies, but Christina wants to share that she and Will kissed and Tris asks for the details. They talk a bit about the fact that they will soon move from the dormitory into apartments and about the Candor initiation. Brace yourselves.

“I don’t think I could have made it through Candor initiation, though.” She shakes her head. “There, instead of simulations, you get lie detector tests. All day, every day. And the final test…” She wrinkles her nose. “They give you this stuff they call truth serum and sit in front of everyone and ask you a load of really personal questions. The theory is that if you spill all your secrets, you’ll have no desire to lie about anything, ever again. Like the worst about you is already in the open, so why not just be honest?”

Lie detector test are terrible inaccurate. They aren’t even used in courts. There are some recent development that involve the use of fMRI to detect lies, but it’s still a young technology that needs to be perfected. Also, that theory of spilling your secret so you don’t feel the urge to lie again is stupid. People lie for various reasons like shame or fear and just because someone spilled all his secrets at some point is no guarantee he won’t do it again. So, I guess Candor is just a bunch of liars pretending they say the truth all the time.

Christina is afraid of moths, and Tris just laughs. Kind of insensitive. I have a fear of bugs I mentioned in a previous posts and it is the worse when I see butterflies. Yes, I’m terrified of butterflies. If I see one flying towards me, I scream and jump around. It’s not funny for me.

Tris meets with Tobias late at night and they jump on the train. They slide down to the floor, make out a little bit and I wish this scene was hotter. They get up and Tobias shows her that the Erudite buildings are lighted while the rest of the city is dark. Like, I said the evil Erudite are studying at night or something. They probably have magical solar panels on the building that give them light.

“Two things you should know about me. The first is that I am deeply suspicious of people in general,” he says. “It is my nature to expect the worst of them. And the second is that I am unexpectedly good with computers.”

So, you know Tris for about 3 weeks and you already trust her, even though you talked like 2 times only? Really? The second thing is setting me up for some good laughs.

A few weeks ago, before training started, I was at work and I found a way into the Dauntless secure files. Apparently we are not as skilled as the Erudite are at security,” he says, “and what I discovered was what looked like war plans. Thinly veiled commands, supply lists, maps. Things like that. And those files were sent by Erudite.”

HA HA HA. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and I did study at some point cryptography and security. Hacking into secure files is fucking hard. You need a lot of processing power to do that and you need to know what the fuck are you doing. It’s not enough to be good with computers. Did Tobias study stuff like this? Where? It would have made sense if he was mistakenly given temporary access to the files and managed to get a peek at them.

Tris concludes that the Erudite are planning war on Abnegation and they are going to use the Dauntless as weapons. The Erudite are stupid as hell. They could have just picked some guns and shoot the Abnegation. It’s not like the Dauntless know more about shooting. Or they could have built machine-gun robots. Or bombed the Abnegation headquarters. See, I’m an intelligent person and I could probably come up with 100 ways to kill the Abnegation without involving anyone else.

Anyway, Tobias knew about the Erudite’s plans for weeks now. Why isn’t he warning the Abnegation? Was he waiting around for Tris to tell him what to do? Really, WTF?