Society and Class Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
My cheeks warm. I get up and dust myself off. A few people stopped when I fell, but none of them offered to help me. Their eyes follow me to the edge of the hallway. This sort of thing has been happening to others in my faction for months now—the Erudite have been releasing antagonistic reports about Abnegation, and it has begun to affect the way we relate at school. The gray clothes, the plain hairstyle, and the unassuming demeanor of my faction are supposed to make it easier for me to forget myself, and easier for everyone else to forget me too. But now they make me a target. (1.37)
The book opens with a couple of hints that not all is well in Chicagoland. In this passage, an Erudite boy has pushed Beatrice and called her a "Stiff." But this isn't just about Beatrice. No, this bullying has been happening to a bunch of other Abnegation kids, too. To make matters worse, no one from other factions is stepping in to stop it. This is a picture of a society with a big problem coming.
This is where the factionless live. Because they failed to complete initiation into whatever faction they chose, they live in poverty, doing the work no one else wants to do. They are janitors and construction workers and garbage collectors; they make fabric and operate trains and drive buses. In return for their work they get food and clothing, but, as my mother says, not enough of either. (3.39)
Every faction has its own particular jobs—and even the factionless have a role in society. The factionless do the jobs that no one else wants to do (or that don't fit in well with the other factions' ideas of what's important). What's funny to us is how important those jobs are: a society without janitors is a society that soon will die of suffocation under a heap of trash. So even those on the outside of the system help the system.
"Working together, these five factions have lived in peace for many years, each contributing to a different sector of society. Abnegation has fulfilled our need for selfless leaders in government; Candor has provided us with trustworthy and sound leaders in law; Erudite has supplied us with intelligent teachers and researchers; Amity has given us understanding counselors and caretakers; and Dauntless provides us with protection from threats both within and without. But the reach of each faction is not limited to these areas. We give one another far more than can be adequately summarized. In our factions, we find meaning, we find purpose, we find life."
I think of the motto I read in my Faction History textbook: Faction before blood. More than family, our factions are where we belong. Can that possibly be right? (5.35-6)
Factions aren't just groups of people who like the same stuff. In other words, they're not fan clubs. They're groups of people who share the same values, which means they're drawn to the same jobs. But note that after that long (long) explanation of how great factions are, Tris still isn't sure about the whole faction vs. family thing.