In Divergent, family is who you are before you get a chance to decide your identity. For Beatrice, this isn't just a case of what her parents named her (a name which she leaves behind when she joins Dauntless); it's more a case of what her family has taught her to be (a good little Abnegation) and how much guilt she feels about leaving that identity behind. In other words, although these people keep saying "faction before blood," family is actually how little kids get raised up in a faction. Beatrice struggles with her Abnegation instincts because her family raised her to be Abnegation.
Questions About Family
- Besides Tris's and Four's families, what other families do we see or hear about? What about Al's relationship with his family or Uriah's relationship with his? Are all families different or are there some similarities?
- In Divergent, are families more positive or negative for the main characters? Do families twist people against their wishes? Or do families support people's choices? And what about the older characters, like Tris's parents? Does family help them or hurt them?
- Can you imagine a scenario where the children's families do not affect their faction choices? Is there a way for all the kids to be raised without faction-affiliation?
- Are there any characters that don't have family? (Or rather, characters who have family—everyone has parents at least—but whose families we don't see?) For example, what do we know about Peter's family? Or Eric's family? Or Jeanine's family? What can we guess?
Chew on This
In Divergent, family is the source of the most persistent forms of identity. You can't shake the affect your parents had on you (sadly).
Divergent teaches us that we need to get away from our families to really find out what choices we want to make.