Study Guide

Insurgent Guilt

By Veronica Roth

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Unless we're talking about sociopaths, guilt is a pretty common emotion. You might feel guilty about spending too much money, eating too many cookies, or shooting your best friend after he's been brainwashed to kill you. Can't we all relate?

From the first page of Insurgent on, Tris feels guilty about that last one, and guilt is an emotion that drives her actions for the entire book. She ends up lying, cheating, and lying some more, and all these things take their toll on her psyche. At least she doesn't try to fix things by chowing down on piles of cakeā€¦

Questions About Guilt

  1. What does Tris feel guilty about? How does her guilt affect her actions?
  2. How does Tris manage to absolve herself of guilt? Does she still feel guilty about anything at the end of the novel?
  3. Does Tobias feel guilty about anything? Could guilt be a reason why he decides to side with his mother over his father?

Chew on This

Honesty is the best cure for a guilty conscience. Tris starts to feel better about her actions when she's honest about them to Christina and Tobias.

Even though Tris is sometimes crippled by guilt, it doesn't stop her from making certain choices. She's definitely the "act first, feel guilty later" type.

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