Divergent Theme of Secrets
Secrets are those pesky little things that (a) keep Tris from feeling really close to her friends and family and (b) protect Tris from her enemies, who would kill her if they knew her secrets. (Secret #1: She's Divergent. Secret #2: She didn't love The Avengers.) Because she wants to keep her secrets, Tris ends up lying to several of her friends. But at the same time, almost all of the villains here have secrets that they use to manipulate and have power over others. Secrets give you power, sure, but they can also threaten that power, which is something Tris knows all too well.
Questions About Secrets
- What's the difference between a good reason to hide a secret (like "they'll kill you if they find out you're Divergent, Tris, so maybe don't tell them") and a bad reason to hide a secret? Are there good reasons to hide secrets from friends? Or only from enemies?
- Who has no (or the least number of) secrets? Christina? Al? How does that lack of secrets change the way they interact with other characters? Is it easier to live without secrets, like the Candor do?
- How would this novel be different with a Candor protagonist, someone who had no secrets? Would Tris get along better if she kept no secrets?
- What secret most surprised you in this book? Was it Tris's mom's secrets of being Divergent and born into Dauntless? Or Caleb's secret of loving knowledge and switching to Erudite? Or Eric's secret of working with Jeanine? Was it more surprising when a friend or loved one had a secret or more surprising when an enemy had a secret?
- Do secrets always lead to lies in the novel?
Chew on This
Divergent shows us that secrets are like power: they're not good or bad in the abstract—but they become good or bad when they're used for good or bad reasons.
Everyone in Divergent has to have secrets because secrets are an important part of identity.