Beatrice "Tris" Prior in Allegiant
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Beatrice "Tris" Prior
(Spoilers everywhere. Read with caution.)
Do you think revolutionaries ever get up in the morning and complain, "Another revolution? Can't I just sleep in for once?"
Tris finds herself at the front of one final revolution in Allegiant , this time against the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a branch of the U.S. government that turned Chicago into the social experiment Tris grew up in. Along the way, she makes up with, fights with, and makes up again with Tobias; finds it in her heart to forgive her brother, Caleb; and croaks.
Yes. Seriously. The main character dies. But hold on to your hankies. More about that in a bit.
Tris shares the narrative spotlight with her boyfriend, Tobias, in this final installment of the Divergent trilogy. It feels like she's a lot less angry in this one than she is in other books. Is that because we spend less time in her head, or is it because the ultimate Dauntless girl has finally mellowed out a bit?
Tris says early on, "It isn't usually that easy for me to let go of anger, but […] I am happy to release the feelings I have been holding on to" (5.52). As a result of this, Tris is a little more levelheaded than she has been in the past. She's no longer willing to rush headfirst into suicidal situations… or to jump headfirst off a building in a suicidal fit.
Tris's newfound calm allows her to explore her identity a little more, which is something she's had trouble with ever since she was declared Divergent. Part of this self-exploration comes from the iPad-like tablet Zoe gives Tris, which contains data about Tris's mom. Tris and her mom have a lot in common: a passion for fighting injustice; a desire to be with the man they love; and, well, the fate of nobly sacrificing themselves. (Yes, Tris dies. We're still not ready to deal with this, so bear with us.)
Another piece of the identity puzzle falls into place when Tris finally figures out just what on earth being "divergent" means. See, the government did all these genetic experiments. (That's totally sci-fi, right? That could never happen in real life, right?) This resulted in tons of humans being genetically "damaged." (See our section on "Genetics" for more information on what this means, if anything.) Tris, as a divergent, is genetically healed.
Of course, that doesn't really explain anything, does it? Does it mean she's superior to others? Or is she just different? Or… honestly, who gives a flip? That's the conclusion Tris comes to when she says: "I'm wondering […] if we ever really need these words, 'Dauntless,' 'Erudite,' 'Divergent,' 'Allegiant,' or if we can just be friends or lovers or siblings, defined instead by the choices we make and the love and loyalty that binds us" (15.94). She decides to just be one thing: herself.
Now That They Found Love (What Are They Gonna Do with It?)
First, we'd like to extend a special thanks to Veronica Roth for not turning Allegiant into a love a triangle. We love trigonometry, but love triangles are so 2007. Although Tris and Tobias experience bouts of jealousy (toward Nita and Matthew, respectively), there's no extra-curricular tonsil hockey going on with any of these people.
The relative calm of this novel compared to the previous two installments gives Tris and Tobias more time to explore their relationship and grow, both physically—"We [Tris and Tobias] are not people who touch each other carelessly; every point of contact between us feels important, a rush of energy and relief" (2.30)—and emotionally—"I am too strong to break so easily, and I become better, sharper, every time I touch him" (41.72).
Ultimately, Tris realizes that a relationship requires just as much work as a revolution. During one of their last moments together (OMG, guys, she dies a few chapters later), she realizes: "I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other of disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me" (36.38).
Love is related to choice in this novel. Is it possible to love someone if all your choices have been dictated to you by someone or something else?
Okay. Deep breath. Tris dies. Yes, the character you've spent over 1500 pages with over the course of three books bites it at the end of Allegiant. You might say it's fate. Tris always did have a penchant for self-sacrifice, so it makes sense that that's how she goes out.
She decides at the last minute that Caleb, her traitorous brother, does not deserve to die, because he's choosing to die for the wrong reason. He just wants to clear his name. Tris, on the other hand, believes that her death will be for the right reason: to save everyone she loves.
The crazy thing is that no one expects her to get through the death serum room. Not even Tris, who expects to succumb to its effects. But she does live through the trap... only to get shot by David as she triggers the memory serum virus. Even though Tris wasn't an especially religious person, she's greeted by a vision of her mother in her last moments and is led to some sort of afterlife.
The saddest part of all this is that Tobias returns to find Tris dead. The novel ends about two years after her death, and he's still mourning her. He does grow to accept it, thinking, "A fire that burns that bright is not meant to last" (53.2). Maybe you don't agree with him, but it does seem like he's going to remember Tris forever.
Are you surprised that Tris died? Do you think she died a noble death? Is there any such thing as a noble death? Was she right that to think that she would die for the right reason? Should she have been the one to die, and not Caleb? Should anyone have died for anything?
Beatrice "Tris" Prior in Allegiant Study Group
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