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Quotes

Quote #1

When I look at the Abnegation lifestyle as an outsider, I think it's beautiful. When I watch my family move in harmony; when we go to dinner parties and everyone cleans together afterward without having to be asked; when I see Caleb help strangers carry their groceries, I fall in love with this life all over again. It's only when I try to live it myself that I have trouble. It never feels genuine.

But choosing a different faction means I forsake my family. Permanently. (3.36-7)

This book does not waste time with the whole family vs. identity vs. faction conflict, which Tris lays out nicely here. Notice the movement: (a) my family and faction are beautiful to (b) I don't belong here. That's not a great transition; and she experiences this disappointment of not belonging "all over again."

Quote #2

"See you soon," he says. Without a trace of doubt.

My mother hugs me, and what little resolve I have left almost breaks. I clench my jaw and stare up at the ceiling, where globe lanterns hang and fill the room with blue light. She holds me for what feels like a long time, even after I let my hands fall. Before she pulls away, she turns her head and whispers in my ear, "I love you. No matter what." (5.15-6)

We tend to talk about family as if everyone in the family thinks the same way about things. But check out this pre-Choosing Ceremony interaction Tris has with Dad and Mom: Dad is all "I know you're going to choose Abnegation (because I'm not very observant)," while Mom is all "Even if you betray the family, I'll still love you and understand." Families aren't always united. And they're definitely not always on the same page.

Quote #3

Maybe my problem isn't that I can't go home. I will miss my mother and father and Caleb and evening firelight and the clack of my mother's knitting needles, but that is not the only reason for this hollow feeling in my stomach.

My problem might be that even if I did go home, I wouldn't belong there, among people who give without thinking and care without trying. (7.122-3)

See how family and "identity" overlap: Tris may miss her family, but she feels that she doesn't belong there. In other words, her identity doesn't match up with her family. But check out how vividly she describes the pleasures of her old home—"evening firelight," the sound of knitting needles. She may not belong in that family (she thinks), but she sure misses it.

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