Veronica Roth Begins Her Apocalyptic Trilogy
Veronica Roth looks toward the future with her debut novel, Divergent, which captures the life of a teenage heroine on her journey through her somewhat suicidal fate to save her friends and family. Roth takes us through an uphill battle for Beatrice “Triss” Prior.
Set in the future, Chicago has separated civilization into five independent factions, each one meant to preserve the values of humanity: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent). The significant inner-struggle of the story is Triss’ inner-conflict of lacking a place to belong (she took the test to decide which faction she belonged to and the test revealed she could belong to more than one).
The story starts with a very intimate moment between mother and daughter. From there, her relationship with her family seems a little shaky as she betrays them, only to find out her brother does the same.
Lies and betrayal soon seem to be the common theme throughout the book as Triss fights not only with herself, but also with all of her friends and family with what is right and what is wrong. Triss finds love, if only momentarily, and is no better than any other teen girl who just doesn’t know her way around a flirt.
Other characters seem to view Triss as a reckless and dangerous girl who only does what makes her happy without a single thought of the consequences, but Roth does an absolutely wonderful job explaining that her recklessness is only her bravery (which is the belief of her faction).
As for the rest of the characters, there seems to be a strong presence of feminine empowerment with all of her characters as Roth clearly makes the more strong and powerful characters in the story female. It would have been a nice change of pace and a break from the absolutism if she tried to focus even slightly on the strength of the male characters rather than making men out to look like power-hungry fools who beat their children.
Roth stated that she focused on the values of the factions by her view of trying to fix world conflicts. It only seems fair to think that as they start to turn against each other and try to control one another that she views today’s society as a lost cause that can only be fixed by going back to zero. You have to wonder if she really meant that this is where she sees the world heading if it doesn’t fix itself (it’s tough to argue there not being some validity in the notion).
So what is Roth trying to tell us with Divergent? Is she trying to tell us that there is hope with a few strong willed people or is she trying to say that maybe society just needs to be left alone? Either way, she does exactly what she wanted to do: leave the readers with more questions than answers. Hopefully, her second installment in the trilogy (Insurgent) will answer those questions.