Divergent and the virtues: a review of sorts


divergentI recently finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth, the first installment in what I am told is going to be the next big franchise in juvenile fiction (and, of course, juvenile movies). The novel is set in a somewhat post-apocalyptic, dystopian version of Chicago. Although there is ostensibly some sort of overarching government, the city is nevertheless divided into five “factions,” clans organized around various virtues such as truthfulness (Candor), friendliness (Amity), courage (Dauntless), self-forgetfulness (Abnegation), and knowledge (Erudite).

The novel chronicles the choice of a young woman, Beatrice or “Tris,” to leave her faction (Abnegation) and join another (Dauntless). However, the switch is by no means automatic–the new faction only accepts a limited number of applicants, so she has to undergo brutal training and testing in the attempt to make the team, as it were. In the course of doing so, Tris becomes aware of many things. First, that…

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