Study Guide

Insurgent Fear

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Caleb doesn't know that Tobias wears his excellence all the time in his own nickname. (3.34)

This quote is pretty much a recap from the last book, but Tobias is called "Four" because he only has four fears. And spiders aren't one of them.

[Tobias] still believes that I am strong. Strong enough that I don't need his sympathy. I used to think he was right, but now I am not sure. I clear my throat. (7.149)

As if Tris's fears aren't complicated enough, she now seems to be afraid that she isn't fearless. What kind of paradox is this?

I didn't realize until that moment that Dauntless initiation had taught me an important lesson: how to keep going. (7.160)

Dauntless is a synonym for fearless, and while that may not actually be true (no one in the book is truly fearless), the faction at least teaches people not to be controlled by their fears.

It's like [Christina's] eyes swell to fill their sockets; that's how big they get. I have trouble identifying her expression. Is it shock? Fear? Awe? (12.46-12.47)

The mere existence of the Divergent strikes fear into a lot of people. However, the Divergent are mostly feared because they're not understood. It's too bad that the only person who seems to be trying to understand the Divergent, Jeanine, is killed before the end of the book.

"Distraction. You're so busy worrying about the Divergent—like my mom—that you forget to worry about what the leaders are doing. It's just a different kind of mind control." (14.40)

Fear is a tactic skillfully employed by certain leaders, especially corrupt ones. A good way for a government to control its populace isn't to make people fear the government… but to make them fear something else. Then they trust the government to keep them safe.

"So is he still in your fear landscape?" I say. […] "Yes. But not in the same way." (25.50)

The Dauntless are unique in that they force people to run through simulations of their biggest fears. Do you think this actually causes more fears instead of helping alleviate them? Or is this a good method for overcoming fears?

"You're in it, though." [Tobias] frowns at his hands. "Instead of having to shoot that woman, like I used to, I have to watch you die. And there's nothing I can do to stop it." (25.52)

Oh, great: Tobias almost ends up with a new fear. We'd hate to have to call him "Five." Does fearing Tris's death make her more of a liability than an asset?

"Fear," [Jeanine] says, "is more powerful than pain." (31.42)

Do you agree with Jeanine here? Is the fear of pain worse than pain itself, or are the two inseparable? If you don't fear something will hurt, will it hurt less?

I don't want to die I don't want to die I don't want to! (35.30)

Tris all of a sudden fears death so much that she can't even punctuate her thoughts properly. We have to wonder if she isn't actually fearing death here as much as she's fearing that her death will have no purpose.

This is what Jeanine was willing to enslave minds and murder people for—to keep us all from knowing. To keep us all ignorant and safe and inside the fence. (47.69)

Well, Jeanine did say that fear is more powerful than pain. If pain were a driving motivator, they'd simply have to electrify the fence to keep people in. Instead, they make people fear what's outside.

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