Study Guide

Insurgent Family

By Veronica Roth

Family

Caleb wipes his cheeks every few seconds, and I know he's crying but I don't know how to comfort him, or why I am not crying myself. (1.26)

Tris has a difficult time dealing with her emotions (or lack of emotions) in general, but even more so when it comes to her family. At this point, Caleb is the only family member she has left. She's not sure how to comfort him while he's crying over their parents' deaths, especially since the fact of the matter hasn't really sunk in for Tris yet.

"Tris […] I'm your brother. You can tell me anything." (4.19)

Do you think Caleb has decided to turn traitor here? Does he still care about Tris as a sister, or is he using their family link to get her to open up to him?

"What makes you think I'm interested in spending time anywhere near you?" [Tobias] demands. […] "Because I'm your mother," [Evelyn] says, and her voice almost breaks over the words, uncharacteristically vulnerable. "Because you're my son." (8.105-8.106)

Evelyn thinks that family trumps anything else, even betrayal. Tobias disagrees. We're not sure what's worse: having two dead parents, like Tris does, or having two lying, scheming parents, like Tobias does.

I thought I had gotten to the point where I didn't need my brother anymore, but I don't think such a point actually exists. (17.43)

Tris realizes that she will always need her family, and her brother is all she has left at this point. But we have to ask, just what does Tris need Caleb for? Emotional support or something else? Does he need her for the same reasons?

Tobias shoves Marcus to the ground and presses the heel of his shoe to his father's throat. (20.16)

Um, this isn't your typical kind of family argument. Tobias is basically demonstrating here that family doesn't really matter. He doesn't have to be loyal to his dad just because he's his dad. In fact, he can beat the snot out of his dad in public in order to make a statement about just how independent he is.

I have never thought about what it would be like to have a sister. Would Caleb and I be closer if he were a girl? (21.40)

We don't think so. Caleb actually seems protective of Tris, at least when it comes to Tobias. But hey, he still betrays her in the end. Would a sister have behaved the same way?

Lynn is probably still by Shauna's bedside, hoping Shauna can move her legs when she wakes up again. Lynn can't lose Hector. (26.26)

Tris chooses to save Hector, Lynn's brother, instead of Marlene. Why does she do this? Does she do this because Tris has lost family of her own, and she knows how painful it is? Would Tris have made the same decision if her parents hadn't died?

"It is that simple. […] At what point did you betray our family? Before our parents died, or after?" (33.6)

Tris is not happy, to put it mildly, that Caleb has betrayed her. He says that he "did what [he] had to do" (33.7) Do you believe him? Should he have put his family first?

Evelyn puts one arm around Tobias and touches his face with the other, pressing her cheek to his. […] He smiles at her when he pulls away. Mother and son, reconciled. I am not sure it's wise. (36.90)

Why is Tris so averse to Tobias and Evelyn reconciling? Don't you think she would reconcile with her brother if given the chance? Or is family not as important to her as she acts like it is?

"I'll be your family now," [Tobias] says. "I love you," I say. (36.106-36.107)

This is the first time Tris says she loves Tobias at a time when he can actually hear it. We think she says it now because he says exactly what she needs to hear at the right time. He shows her that she can still have family, even though her parents are dead.

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