In Divergent, society is organized by faction. Just about everything about this society comes down to what faction people belong to: their jobs (Erudite teach, while Amity counsel), where they live, who they marry, what they wear, what they do for fun (Dauntless go zip lining, while Abnegation like to knit). Divergent never quite explains how this division of society actually took place, but from what we see in this book, it doesn't seem like it's going all that well. By the end of the novel, two of the five factions are a wreck, and they're about to bring the fight to a third. But what will follow the five-faction society? Peace? Chaos? A rump state? No seriously, that's a thing.
Questions About Society and Class
- Do any characters offer different schemes for the organization of society? For instance, Jeanine Matthews wants Erudite to be in charge, but does she want to keep the five-faction system in place?
- Are all the factions necessary? Are any of the factions inherently better than any of the other factions?
- Are there any divisions in our society (race, class, gender, sexuality, handedness, Marvel vs. DC) that exist in the society of Divergent?
- Is there any way to save the five-faction system? Is it worth saving? Do the lives of the average people seem better in this five-faction system than in some other system?
Chew on This
Divergent shows that this society is unstable—but only because of the actions of particular individuals, not society's overall structure.
The five-faction system only works because anyone who doesn't fit in can be cast into the factionless group and tossed out with the trash.