Chapters 1–3 Summary and Analysis
While her mother cuts her hair, Beatrice Prior sneaks a curious peek at her reflection. In her world, individuals belong to one of five factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, or Candor. Beatrice's family belongs to Abnegation, and its members pride themselves on their selflessness and lack of vanity. Due to strict rules, Beatrice is only allowed to use the mirror once every three months.
Along with her sixteen-year-old peers, Beatrice is preparing to take her aptitude tests. The results will help determine which factions Beatrice and her brother, Caleb, will belong to. Later, students will formally declare their choices during a Choosing Ceremony. On the school bus, Beatrice asks Caleb if he is worried about the test results; however, he doesn't give her a definitive answer. On the way to class, she is pushed by an Erudite boy, who calls her a "Stiff." She notes that Abnegation members are increasingly being targeted by the Erudite. At 7:25, as she does every morning, Beatrice watches the Dauntless students jump off a moving train.
While waiting for her test, Beatrice notes that other students easily conform to the norms of their factions. This leads her to lament her own failure in living up to the expectations of Abnegation. She notes that Caleb epitomizes all the typical traits of an Abnegation member, while she struggles to demonstrate selflessness. Beatrice’s test is administered by a Dauntless woman named Tori, who attaches wires to her and gives her a vial of clear liquid to drink. Instantly, Beatrice finds herself transported to a place...
(The entire section is 797 words.)