How we cite our quotes:
"Your ranking serves two purposes," he says. "The first is that it determines the order in which you will select a job after initiation. There are only a few desirable positions available."
My stomach tightens. I know by looking at his smile, like I knew the second I entered the aptitude test room, that something bad is about to happen.
"The second purpose," he says, "is that only the top ten initiates are made members." (7.93-5)
We only get to hear a little bit about how other factions handle initiation. (In Candor, they have a truth-off, but in Amity do they have a friendly-off?) In Dauntless, it's all competition all the time. And it's not just about initiation. It also influences what kind of life these Dauntless will have, since the winners get to pick their jobs first.
If conflict in Dauntless ends with only one person standing, I am unsure of what this part of initiation will do to me. Will I be Al, standing over a man's body, knowing I'm the one who put him on the ground, or will I be Will, lying in a helpless heap? And is it selfish of me to crave victory, or is it brave? I wipe my sweaty palms on my pants. (9.51)
Tris is thinking something that we would like to write a paper on: Does competition reveal identity? Faced with competition for the first time (unless she used to play dodgeball in school, which we doubt), Tris has a question about how she will do and what that will reveal about her. Is she brave or selfish—or not selfish enough?
I stare at my name on the board. My cheeks feel hot. Al and Christina are just trying to help, but the fact that they don't believe, not even in a tiny corner of their minds, that I have a chance against Peter bothers me. (10.25)
Competition calls up all sorts of feelings for Tris, and even leads her to question her friendships. Seriously, what are friends for if now to give you a whole bunch of false hope?