Divergent Theme of Identity
Besides getting into Dauntless and stopping a war, Tris's other big adventure in Divergent is figuring out who she is. But identity isn't just about what's inside Tris (ew, organs)—it's also about her relationships with family and friends (and society in general). A big part of identity here is figuring out where you fit in. Which is pretty hard for most young people, including Tris. Instead of being able to be happy in one of the factions, Tris's main identity is (spoiler alert if you missed it in the title) that she's Divergent. That means that no matter how hard she tries, she's never going to fit into her world.
Questions About Identity
- Do any other characters (besides Tris and Four) seem to have troubles with their identity? Does brother Caleb seem to have any troubles with his identity? Why or why not?
- Is there anything in our lives today that matches up with the Choosing Ceremony? It doesn't have to be a perfect match, but is there anything close? And if so, what are the differences?
- Besides name-changing, how else do people change their outward identity (appearance, relationships with other people, eating different breakfast cereal) in the novel?
- Could you rewrite this book with a younger or an older protagonist? Would this issue of identity be the same if Tris were in elementary school or was middle aged?
Chew on This
In Divergent, identity is about how you act with the people around you, not what you think.
Identity in Divergent is revealed most in times of trouble and stress: anyone can be calm when they're eating a hamburger, but only someone who is really calm can be calm when there are gunfights going on.