Insurgent Recap – Chapter 2

In which the highlight of the chapter is Tris getting a haircut…

Tris wakes up after the dreamless potion effect wears off. She remembers Will, wonders why didn’t she shot his hand, and almost screams. Angst over. She hides her gun under the mattress. Apparently she’s in pain today because the adrenaline rush is gone. Given the things she went through she should have slept a couple of days, not just a few hours.

The corner of the hard drive peeks out from under my pillow, where I shoved it right before I fell asleep. On it is the simulation data that controlled the Dauntless, and the record of what the Erudite did.

There’s a difference between data and software, guys. Data are just pieces of information, stored in various ways that can be accessed by various software products. Software is just a bunch of instructions to be executed in a certain fashion, and software might contain data crucial to those instructions. A software application might keep a log of the instructions executed, but that’s not always the case. And that log might be encrypted. Of course, in Divergent world those stuff don’t apply because most of its people are idiots. Except Tris.

She decides to hide the hard drive between the dresser and the wall. I’m betting it’s going to disappear from the room. She doesn’t want to destroy it because it holds the record of her parents’ death. Why doesn’t she keep it with her all the time then? If it’s so important?

Tobias comes to inform her that the Amity are meeting in half an hour to decide their faith. He’s wearing the same jeans as the day before and a dark red T-shirt which is too bright a color on him according to Trish. Dark red is so so bright. Also, he brought her some liquid pain medicine. So, no more checkups for her? She’s good to go? No injections? Yeah, whatever.

He calls her Beatrice, and she’s annoyed and tells he could call her that on special occasions. Finally, he asks her how she is. Tris wants to tell him about how she killed Will, but she doesn’t know how. And it’s not like he lets her talk because he kisses her and then tells her “Sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.” And she thinks she might try to forget everything. Because that’s super healthy.

Tris goes to take a shower and we learn Amity showers only run for 5 minutes, to conserve resources. Shouldn’t that be like a whole city restriction? And the water is cold. Poor Amity, really. The pain medicine worked really well, so there won’t be any talk about how Tris is in pain. When she returns to her bedroom she finds someone from Abnegation brought her clothes: red, yellow and gray. Which are too big for her. Man, I thought they were supposed to be thoughtful or something.

Susan comes to her room with some food.

I search her face for a sign of what she lost — her father, an Abnegation leader, didn’t survive the attack — but I see only the placid determination characteristic of my old faction.

Only Divergents feel grief or emotions. The rest, no. Not that Tris is really grieving or something. Susan offers to help Tris with her hair and she accepts.

[Something about Susan watching her hand, not the mirror.] And she doesn’t ask about my shoulder, how I was shot, what happened when I left the Abnegation safe house to stop the simulation. I get the sense that if I were to whittle her down to her core, she would be Abnegation all the way through.

One question, book. How would the Abnegation know how to help others if they don’t ask questions? Or is there help limited to “what I believe you need and nothing else”. If that’s so, then they aren’t selfless, but presumptuous gits.

Tris asks Susan if she saw her brother. You know, Robert? The guy Tris imagined marrying during the Choosing Ceremony. But Susan doesn’t really care about him because of the whole “faction before blood” principle. And then we get to the point where we figure why this conversation is really here. It’s not to bore us, guys.

“It’s a shame this happened when it did,” Susan says. “Our leaders were about to do something wonderful.”
“Really? What?”
“I don’t know.” Susan blushes. “I just knew that something was happening. I didn’t mean to be curious; I just noticed things.”

Foreshadowing, I guess. Maybe the Abnegation were planning to kill the Erudite. Or out them of the city. Anyway, I’m starting to hate foreshadowing. It’s like the most abused literary device nowadays. Dear authors, most of the time when you’re using foreshadowing, you are weakening your writing. Use it sparingly, and only to increase tension, not decrease it by helping the reader to guess what’s next.

Tris wonders what the Abnegation leaders were doing and I think she doesn’t believe they were doing something great. Susan braids her hair and leaves after she’s done. And then we have a pretty good moment: Tris remembers her mother braiding her hair and she rocks on the stool. She doesn’t want to cry, so she cuts her hair because she can’t look the same when her mother’s dead. It’s understandable.

“You cut your hair,” says Caleb, his eyebrows high. Grabbing hold of facts in the midst of shock is very Erudite of him.

LOL. I don’t even know how to comment that. The sky is blue. People have two eyes. Putin is the President of Russia. Look how Erudite I am. Really, “You cut your hair” is an expression any human being would use when observing someone cut his hair. 

But mostly I miss the fears of the past few weeks, rendered small by my fears now.

What’s greater than your fear of dying, Tris?

There’s a reference to weather in this book and apparently it’s summer. So, does the Choosing Ceremony happen at the end of the school year? We’ll never found out I guess. Caleb asks Tobias if he’s not too old for Tris, but she stops their discussion. They go to a circular greenhouse. She sees “plants and trees grow in troughs of water or small pools”. Yeah, we’ll talk about that in a later chapter.

Dozens of fans positioned around the room serve only to blow the hot air around, so I am already sweating.

I’m pretty sure a central air conditioning system would be cheaper than dozens of fans. Not to mention more efficient. Though, you want greenhouses to be warm.

In the center of the greenhouse there is a huge tree with its roots exposed, and held in place by metal rods. Which is probably a terrible idea. Also, does that tree grow anything? Because building a greenhouse around it serves no fucking purpose. Except vanity. You want to maximize the space in a greenhouse to grow as much stuff as you can. If you most of your greenhouse is occupied by a huge tree, you’re wasting resources.

I should not be surprised — the Amity spend their lives accomplishing feats of agriculture like this one, with the help of Erudite technology.

What feats? Growing useless trees in a greenhouse?

Johanna is there with the rest of Amity. Apparently, Tris learned that the Amity have no official leader and that they vote on everything, and the result is usually close to unanimous.

They are like many parts of a single mind, and Johanna is their mouthpiece.

That sounds horrible. Like they are lobotomized or something. Debates are good in a society. It’s the way we discover more about an issue, we empathize with opposing points of view and come up with solutions.

So, Johanna demands silence and then asks what they will do in this time of conflict. So, the Amity start talking and moving around from their smaller groups to form bigger groups until they form 3-4 big groups. And that happens in like 30 minutes or so. Tobias says this process is not meant to be efficient, but to ensure agreement. I say that the people are actually gravitating toward their perceived leaders and agree with their solutions.

“They each have an equal role in government; they each feel equally responsible. And it makes them care; it makes them kind. I think that’s beautiful.”

That sounds like direct democracy. The only example of such democracy was the Athenian democracy. And they weren’t particularly kind. Athens had the highest number of slaves compared to other Greek cities.

Tris thinks it’s unsustainable, but that’s not the problem. It could lead to a dictatorship of the majority, making some people less willing to share their true opinions, so they could avoid any repercussions.

Someone (a leader, perhaps) from each of the big groups approaches Johanna and speak to her, sharing their groups’ views. Tris figures that they aren’t going to get their opinion and draws the conclusion they are done. Pessimist much?

Johanna says that Amity has a close relationship with Erudite, because the Erudite provide them with technology. Aren’t the Erudite providing everyone with technology, book? Why are Amity more special? She continues saying that they had a strong relationship with Abnegation too, but they cannot be involved in this conflict. So, their faction headquarters will be transformed to a safe house for members of any factions. They are not allowed with weapons, if they are involved in a conflict, they have to leave, they cannot talk about what they Erudite did, and they must work while they stay there. Reasonable. Of course, not for Tris that has a gun under her mattress and will probably get in a conflict with Peter. She tells Tobias they won’t be able to stay long, and he agrees.