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Themes

Divergent has a lot of hard choices, and some of those choices lead to some major guilt on Tris's part. Her guilt is tied to an immense sense of responsibility. Because she's Divergent, she has ties across the different factions, which means she feels she owe a lot of different people a lot of different things: leaving her family; lying to her friends; shooting Will in the head, the list goes on.

Questions About Guilt and Blame

  1. How does Tris deal with her feelings of guilt in the book? Does the book show any better methods of dealing with guilt? Is there anything like redemption in this book or does Tris just go on feeling guilty forever?
  2. What do Tris and the other characters feel most guilty about? Is it betrayal of the family (see Tris, Al, Caleb)? Or do they feel worse about betraying friend and faction? (Or put it this way: if Tris had to choose between betraying friends and betraying family, does the book help her decide?)
  3. How are people punished for their actions in Divergent? Are there police? Detention for bad students? Or is the only punishment just "you'll feel bad if you break the law"?
  4. Do the villains here (Jeanine, Peter, Eric, Marcus) ever seem to feel guilty? If so, when?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Guilt is useful as a way to control people; in Divergent, making others feel guilty is another way to have "power" over them. Lesson: don't feel guilty.

Tris seems more like a human being because she feels guilty about hurting others—but hurts them anyway. Hey, no one ever said she's good people. But she is people.

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