Divergent | Study Guide

Veronica Roth

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Course Hero. "Divergent Study Guide." Course Hero. 17 May 2019. Web. 27 July 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Divergent/>.

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Course Hero. (2019, May 17). Divergent Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Divergent/

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(Course Hero, 2019)



Course Hero. "Divergent Study Guide." May 17, 2019. Accessed July 27, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Divergent/.


Course Hero, "Divergent Study Guide," May 17, 2019, accessed July 27, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Divergent/.

Divergent | Plot Summary

See Plot Diagram


Beatrice Joins Dauntless

Beatrice Prior is a 16-year-old girl living in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago. Her society is divided into five factions called Erudite, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Amity. Beatrice has grown up with her family in the Abnegation faction, but children are allowed to choose new factions after their aptitude test, which they take at age 16. Beatrice's aptitude test is inconclusive, indicating an affinity for three different factions. The test administrator tells Beatrice that this makes her "Divergent." According to the tester, this state is dangerous, and she should keep it secret. At the choosing ceremony, Beatrice decides to leave her family and join the Dauntless faction, which is known for its bravery and daring. At this point, Beatrice becomes known as "Tris."

First Stage of Initiation

The Dauntless initiation proves to be difficult and extremely dangerous. Tris and her fellow transfer initiates quickly discover that they will become factionless if they don't make the top 10 ranking of the initiation. At the start of initiation, there are 11 transfer candidates and nine who grew up as Dauntless. The Dauntless-born have an advantage because they already know what to expect with training and initiation. Tris makes friends with three transfers named Al, Christina, and Will. Drilled by a cruel Dauntless leader named Eric and another Dauntless member named Four, they train in shooting guns, throwing knives, and hand-to-hand combat. Tris and her friends get tattoos to signify their beginning as Dauntless. In the first stage of initiation, there are a series of fights to determine rankings. In their first rounds of fights, Tris doesn't compete because there are an odd number of initiates. Christina gets beaten up by a girl named Molly, and Al knocks Will out. When Christina can barely fight anymore, she tells Eric that she concedes. Eric forces Christina to hang off a railing over a chasm for five minutes. Christina barely succeeds, and no one concedes a fight in this way again.

A transfer initiate named Peter and his friends go out of their way to haze Tris. They call her "Stiff" because of her Abnegation origins and spray paint her bed. Tris faces Peter in her first fight, and he beats her until she is unconscious. The following day, Four takes all the transfer students to see the gate enclosing the city. Tris wonders why it seems designed to lock them in rather than keep any threat out. Before they head back, Four tells Tris that he couldn't stand to watch Peter beat her up and an attraction begins to develop between them. A few days later, the transfers are awakened in the middle of the night and taken to play a game of capture the flag. Tris and Four climb the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier to see where Eric's team has hidden their flag. Despite the fact that Tris makes the discovery, Christina takes the flag. A tension forms between the two friends.

During knife-throwing practice, Al is unable to hit the target even once. Eric tells him to stand in front of the target while Four throws knives at it, and Tris steps in to take Al's place. The next day, Tris beats Molly in a fight and improves her ranking.

Visiting Day

On Visiting Day, Tris's mother Natalie comes to see her. She asks Tris about her ranking and reveals that she already suspected that Tris was Divergent. After Natalie leaves, Tris realizes that her mother must have originally been from Dauntless. Tris later finds Al in the dorms, avoiding his parents. When she tries to console him, he puts his arm around her. Tris realizes that Al has feelings for her, and she rejects him. The rankings are posted and Tris is sixth. A boy named Edward is first, and Peter is second. To get revenge for Edward coming in first, Peter stabs him in the eye with a butter knife. A boy named Uriah takes Tris zip lining with the Dauntless-born initiates, and she begins to form friendships with some of them.

Second Stage of Initiation

In the second stage of initiation, candidates enter simulations where they engage with their fears. During one of these simulations, Four discovers that Tris is Divergent. He warns her about the danger and doesn't tell anyone about it. Meanwhile, the Erudite are circulating articles about how corrupt the Abnegation faction is, trying to stir up dissent. When the rankings for stage two are posted, Tris is now first and Al is last. That night, Tris gets up for water and overhears Eric talking to a woman. The woman reveals that Eric is planted there to catch Divergents. While Tris is eavesdropping, Peter, Drew, and Al sneak up behind her and abduct her. They beat her up and try to throw her over the chasm railing, but Four appears and rescues her. Tris spends the night in Four's room. When she returns to the dorm the next day, Al begs her for forgiveness. Tris refuses to forgive him. The following day, Al commits suicide.

Third Stage of Initiation

The third stage of initiation is a final test, where initiates enter a simulation called a fear landscape. They have to overcome their worst fears, one after the other, in front of a panel of Dauntless leaders. Four takes Tris to the simulation room, and they go through his fear landscape together. Tris learns that Four's real name is Tobias, and he is the son of the Abnegation leader, Marcus. Tobias and Tris kiss. Before the final phase of initiation, Tobias tells Tris that he thinks Erudite is planning to start a war with Abnegation, using Dauntless as their soldiers. Tris and Tobias wonder how the Erudite will get the Dauntless to fight. On initiation day, Tris enters her fear landscape and overcomes seven fears. She has the lowest number of fears of any of the candidates. After she completes the simulation, Eric injects her with a serum that he claims contains a tracking device. At the celebratory dinner later, Tris realizes that the serum is how the Erudite plan to control the Dauntless.

Erudite Takes Control of Dauntless

Tris is awakened that night by the rest of her dorm moving as if sleepwalking. She realizes they must be under the influence of the serum and follows them, pretending to be in the same state. Because she is Divergent, the serum doesn't affect her. They take guns and head toward the Abnegation section of town. While on the train, Tris finds Tobias and realizes that he is also Divergent and unaffected by the serum. After disembarking they try and make a run for it but they are both captured. All around them Dauntless members are executing Abnegation leaders in cold blood. Tobias and Tris are taken to Jeanine, leader of the Erudite faction. She decides to execute Tris and use Tobias to test out new serums. Tris wakes up in a tank slowly filling with water, like the one in her fear simulations. Natalie appears and breaks the tank, saving Tris.

While running for safety, Natalie sacrifices herself in order to draw the Dauntless soldiers away from Tris. Tris runs for a safe house where her father, Andrew, and brother, Caleb, are hiding. Along the way she shoots and kills Will who tries to kill her under the influence of the serum. When she arrives at the safe house, Tris finds that Marcus is also there. Tris, Andrew, Caleb, and Marcus head for the Dauntless headquarters to try and stop the simulation. Peter is awake and guarding the headquarters. Tris shoots him and he agrees to take her to the control room if she will take him with her when she leaves. On the way to the control room, Andrew is shot and killed. Tris reaches the control room to find Tobias there, under the control of a serum that makes him think Tris is his enemy. Tris gives him her own gun rather than shoot him, and Tobias manages to wake up from the simulation. Together they shut down the simulation controlling the rest of the Dauntless. Tobias is unhappy to find his father has come with Tris and her brother. The group flees town on a train.

Divergent Plot Diagram

Falling ActionRising ActionResolutionClimax123456789101112Introduction


1 Beatrice discovers she is Divergent.

Rising Action

2 Beatrice transfers to Dauntless and becomes "Tris."

3 Tris's mother asks Tris to ask Caleb to research the serum.

4 Tobias discovers Tris is Divergent.

5 Tris is abducted and then saved by Tobias.

6 Tobias reveals his identity to Tris.

7 The Dauntless are forced to kill Abnegation leaders.

8 Tris and Tobias are captured.


9 Tris saves Tobias, and they stop the simulation.

Falling Action

10 Tobias and Tris take the hard drive from the control room.

11 Tobias is upset to see his father.


12 Tris, Tobias, and their group catch a train out of town.

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