‘In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
‘During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.’ — Divergent inside cover
Part 1: A Choosing Ceremony Discussion- Hands on Activity
This is a fun activity to simulate the critical Choosing Ceremony that plays a central role in both Tris’s future and the very social fabric of the community. This can be done alone or in addition to the second half of this book club guide.
Pre-meeting Assignment: Readers
After reading, choose the faction you feel your family generally most resembles, and wear the faction colors on meeting day. In the meantime, contemplate the five factions and which one you feel like you most resemble or want to be like.
Meeting Setup: Host
You will need a table, five bowls, labels or symbolic items for each faction, and some red garden stones or some other item for members to choose their faction with.
Before the meeting, set up the table in center of the meeting area.
Arrange the labeled or filled bowls on the table and pile the stones or tokens in front of them.
Place seats into five separate groups. Make sure they can be easily moved to accommodate changes in each group’s population. If desired, have a sixth zone for ‘Factionless”.
If you are not familiar with everyone’s name, a roll call sheet will make the activity easier.
The host welcomes everyone at the door and directs them the area to sit based off their clothing colors. Once everyone is situated, the host or hostess welcomes everyone to the meeting and choosing day.
As the host calls each name, the member comes forward and picks up a stone (or other token item provided) and drops it into the bowl of the faction they feel they most relate to, then they relocate their seat to that faction group. Once everyone has taken a turn choosing, the activity is commenced and discussion questions may begin. The Host decides whether to proceed into discussion in the current seating or if members can return to their usual seating arrangements.
These can be used independently or in addition to part two of this book club guide.
- In many places like school and work people are categorized based off the clothing they wear. For example when people go to Walmart, they search out the blue clothing when they need customer service on the floor. Or when a person is seen in a nun clothing they are automatically attributed to having a virtuous nature. When you came in and were automatically seated and separated from others based off your clothing color , what was your initial reaction? Did you find yourself searching for particular colors rather than faces at any point before the activity?
- What made you choose the faction or factions you did? Both by ‘birth’ and by choice? Did relationships with members of certain groups have any impact on your final decision? Were you surprised by particular choices of others?
- It is considered human nature to want to be part of an identity. Did anyone in the meeting group choose to become Factionless? Have these members (if any) discuss their reasons for choosing none of the five factions. Did any chose a faction to avoid being factionless?
- When you chose your faction, you knew you would be with it for a matter of minutes or perhaps the whole meeting, but not past that. How would you feel if you had to make this decision for the rest of your life at the age of sixteen?
- The factions are all kept separate from everything to jobs to clothing to living areas. How does this affect the way each faction sees each other? How did this aid the antagonists in forwarding their own agendas?
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