Friday, August 29, 2014

Divergent -- Feminism of the Future

As the world of today is evolving and advancing, culture is becoming more and more compelled to fiction about the future. One example of this increasingly popular fiction is called Divergent. Divergent, written by Veronica Roth, is a recent book of 2011. The book is set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue: Abnegation the selfless, Dauntless the brave, Erudite the intelligent, Candor the honest, and Amity the peaceful. Tris does not truly belong in any faction and is what is known as a Divergent, which is considered a danger to society and who must be executed immediately. 

Throughout Divergent, Tris defies the stereotype that women are weak and powerless while attempting to diffuse into society. Although an argument can be made proving Tris is in fact an enforcer of the stereotype, the book empowers Tris more than it characterizes her as dependent and weak. The book shows Tris' character as dominant in many ways, as she evolves during the story.

Tris is originally characterized as a weak girl who is powerless. Upon choosing the faction Dauntless, everyone is astonished. In order to join Dauntless, Tris must complete both physical and physiological tests, which question her strength. Tris, being the lowest of the initiates, is paired to fight against the best of the initiates. In their first fight, Tris loses and is still considered the weak girl developed in the beginning of the book. However, Tris never gives up and continues training. The next time she fights the best of the initiates, she is still defeated, yet contacts her opponent a few times and survives the fight for a longer period of time, thus proving increased strength.

Another example of Tris progressing into a more powerful character is shown during a game of capture the flag. Tris is on a team composed of the worst of the initiatives, who have accepted defeat even before the game has began. Disregarding her disadvantages, Tris takes control of her team and develops a plan to win. Tris' plan is executed successfully and her team wins, even though it was against all odds, proving her incorrigible vigor. 

A final instance of Tris’ tenacious character is exemplified when Tris overpowers the leader of her society. This leader controls all of the dystopia and the juxtaposition between the two supports that Tris' is a strong character. This is because she destroys the leader's, the most powerful in the entire society, attempt to rebuild part of the society. Clearly, the protagonist of the futuristic, fiction novel, Divergent, resists the stereotype characterizing women as powerless and weak, as she evolves into a woman of admirable strength and dominance.

I strongly recommend the movie!


  1. I think that Divergent's theme of women's strength is an interesting feminist statement. It is also notable, however, that Tris relies on the companionship of Four for emotional support. When the Dauntless are brainwashed, for instance, Tris remains conscious and acts as a 'damsel in distress' by immediately going to Four. In this way, perhaps, Tris is not as independent a woman as it initially seems.

    1. I could also see that argument, Noah. However, I think the book empowers Tris more than it shows her as dependent.