In the dystopian novel Divergent by Veronica Roth, do you agree or disagree with Beatrice Prior's decision to leave her family and change her faction from Abnegation to the highly competitive...

In the dystopian novel Divergent by Veronica Roth, do you agree or disagree with Beatrice Prior's decision to leave her family and change her faction from Abnegation to the highly competitive Dauntless faction? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most powerful elements in Roth's novel is the decision that Tris has to make.  Her decision strikes at the very heart of the novel's thematic narrative. Tris' decision is seen through a variety of lenses, specifically in how the novel "explores a more common adolescent anxiety--the painful realization that coming into one's own sometimes means leaving family behind, both ideologically and physically."  Her decision is made in this light. Whether we agree with it or not, the development of Tris' characterization as one that recognizes that she is to mature and "diverge" from the path that has been established has a vital importance the novel.

One reason why Roth is able to show Tris' decision as more than something rash and impetuous is that it becomes clear that Tris' arc of maturation makes her fundamentally different than her upbringing.  The decision to leave is one of the toughest decisions she has to make.  The reader has to respect her decision because it comes as a result of  maturation and development.  Tris recognizes that she is a person who no longer represents the tenets of her family's faction of Abnegation.  For example, she feels a fundamental divide in how she feels that Abnegation is not for her. Tris believes that her connection to it is not sincere.  She goes through the motions and adhered to it because of her family, but she has little connection to it.  Due to this, she recognizes that there is a part of her identity that is moving beyond the condition of her family. When Caleb talks to her about this, it begins to dawn on Tris that leaving her faction is highly relevant:  "Beatrice… We should think of our family…But.  But we must also think of ourselves.”  Part of the maturation process that dawns upon Tris is the need think of her own identity, reflecting the novel's larger theme of the need to "leave one's own family."  For this reason, one has to support Tris' decision as it reflects maturation.

Tris' decision is also something thought out.  While she makes it almost instantaneously, it is clear that she decides that the Abnegation faction is not for her. Tris speaks from a position of reflection with statements such as "I am selfish.  I am brave." or "I am proud.  It will get me into trouble someday, but today it makes me brave."  Her self- reflection is another reason why her decision has to be supported.  She embraces the painful notion of maturation in being honest with who she is and what she is meant to be.  The reader might impose their own values upon her by suggesting that she should be selfless enough to stay with her family.  Yet, it becomes clear to Tris that her own sense of identity compels her to leave her family's faction and find her own because of who she is and the young woman she is meant to become.

Part of the novel's thematic developments is the pain of maturation.  It is a condition where one is forced "to choose between following in your parents' footsteps or doing something new."  Tris' decision represents the essence of a critical decision.  Whether we agree or disagree with her decision, it becomes clear that Tris thinks carefully about what she has to do.  Her decisions are made in accordance to her own psychological compass. In this light, her decisions are her own.  The reader might agree or disagree, but we can only hope to possess the courage that Tris shows in her decision.