Discuss the theme of family and its effect on the characters of Divergent.
Family is central to the Divergent story. In the book, Roth examines how family dynamics affect the heroine, her allies, and her enemies. During Visiting Day, Tris notes that Drew’s and Molly's families are absent, demonstrating the extent of the social stigma transfers endure. Meanwhile, Al's parents voice a superficial support for the status quo but privately expect their son to defy social expectations. The combination of parental and societal pressures eventually drives Al to despair and suicide. During Visiting Day, Will's elder sister, Cara, gets into an altercation with Natalie (Tris's mother) about Abnegation's hoarding of fresh foods. The exchange highlights the burgeoning distrust and ensuing estrangement between the factions.
Additionally, Tris and Tobias have markedly different relationships with their fathers. Tris's relationship with her father matures as the story progresses. In the beginning, Andrew's investment in the five-faction system leads him to withhold his approval from his daughter. However, he is soon forced to confront his bias and readjust his expectations when Erudite sends Dauntless soldiers to execute Abnegation civilians. Andrew then accepts his daughter's leadership and supports her in her mission to defeat Jeanine. The experience leads Andrew to relate to Tris as an adult, and the dynamic between them changes. Conversely, Tobias keeps Marcus at arm's length because of Marcus's tendency to dominate the space between the two. Marcus's abuse and Abnegation's unilateral rule is the catalyst for Tobias's defection to Dauntless. Their relationship remains emotionally stagnant throughout the story.