Horrifying, bone-chilling, cruel, absurd – these words were probably running through your mind while watching Tris’ dystopian world unfold. Her society was divided into 5 factions, each one had their own set of values which they followed unequivocally. Those who did not conform to any group, the Divergent, were hunted down. When the movie ended, you then heaved a sigh of relief, thankful that atrocities which happened in the movies stayed in the movies. But what if I told you that some parts of Tris’ world actually bleed into our world, that maybe we aren’t as removed from her as we thought? In fact, some traits that Tris’ society possess are not so far removed from VJC itself.
Now I’m not saying that there’s a devilishly handsome guy called Tobias in our world — sadly, that part of the movie remains solely in the movie. Instead, what both worlds have in common is the notion of factions. In the Divergent series, society is divided into 5 distinct groups (6 if you count the factionless). So where are the factions in VJC? Classes? CCA groups? Arguably it could be either, but I think that more parallels can be drawn between factions and cliques.
There is minimal interaction between factions in Divergent. While they are all part of the same society, the same people, they do not mingle or mix well. There is a clear distinction between each faction and what they believe in. In school, the line drawn between cliques are not as conspicuous. Cliques do still interact with other cliques, and there is minimal animosity amongst them, unlike that of factions. However, our very own recognition of these groupings show that there is still a distinction between cliques. For if we are conscious of it, then it must exist, no matter how small or how easily overlooked.
Tris gets to choose her faction, but she only gets one choice; we too choose which clique we want to belong to, although we do not need to undergo the dramatic ritual of slicing our wrists (that would bloody hurt). Essentially though, we are going through the same process – we are choosing who we would like to spend our time with. Sometimes, we end up in a clique that we don’t really seem to fit into, possibly because we want to join a clique that will portray a certain image of us to others. Maybe we join the play-hard clique because we don’t want others to know that we are a closet mugger. Sounds familiar to me -Tris contemplated whether to choose Abnegation based on what other faction leaders would think of her family.
If at this point in time you’re thinking “Let’s stone this girl, she has no idea what she is talking about; I get along with everyone just fine!”, let me try and mollify you by saying this: congratulations, you are Divergent. You don’t just belong to one clique, you show an aptitude for many — if not all. However, I believe that Divergents are in short supply. Not many of us can say that we truly do not belong to a group; I salute you.
Lastly, I’m going to talk about the proposed abolishment of the factions in Divergent. Jeanine wanted to destroy the system that the whole city was based on, and proposed the idea of “democracy”, which was in itself problematic because her idea of democracy had her at the top. This incited a huge furore, to the point where a rebel group was formed to oppose her idea. When I first read the book, I was flummoxed as to why there was such a big to-do over this, but upon further reflection, I came to understand it slightly more. Remember that sense of insecurity you get when you’re alone in school without your clique? Okay, maybe you don’t feel insecure, but there’s at least a sense of weirdness right? Imagine that feeling magnified a 100 times over — that’s probably how the factions felt. After all, what do you do when the system that you’ve stuck to all your life is suddenly ripped to pieces?
So many similarities — it’s mind blowing really. If you didn’t know Divergent was a movie or a book, and if you looked at our world as an extraterrestrial being, would you know which was based on which?
Written by Chloe Tan 16S63
Picture taken from uk.pinterest.com