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Quotes

Quote #1

I am selfish. I am brave. (5.61)

This is yet another time when Tris is making "I am" statements. But here she helps us to see how bravery (and fear) isn't disconnected from other feelings qualities: Tris feels selfish because she's skipping out on her parents to join the brave Dauntless. (Of course, we'll see whether or not selfishness and bravery are always associated.)

Quote #2

"The chasm reminds us that there is a fine line between bravery and idiocy!" Four shouts. "A daredevil jump off this ledge will end your life. It has happened before and it will happen again. You've been warned." (7.30)

You might think that the Dauntless are totally fearless, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Fear can be useful. If you think it's a good idea to walk into a lion's cage, your fear might tell you to get a sandwich instead. As Four notes, the Dauntless jump on trains, but it's not brave to jump to your death. Which becomes an issue when Al commits suicide.

Quote #3

"You're not a coward just because you don't want to hurt people," I say, because I know it's the right thing to say, even if I'm not sure I mean it.

For a moment we are both still, looking at each other. Maybe I do mean it. If he is a coward, it isn't because he doesn't enjoy pain. It is because he refuses to act. (10.77-8)

Although the Dauntless are all about "being brave," there's some uncertainty about what it actually means to be brave. All their training is about hurting people and Al wants to protect people, so … is he a coward? Notice that Tris is super uncertain about this issue, except for one part: brave people do stuff. Which is why she's pretty active.

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