Have you ever wondered what kind of person you are? If you had to choose one prominent trait, what would it be? Selflessness? Intelligence? Are you courageous or friendly or honest? The book Divergent made me start to think about these things about myself.
The book takes place in futuristic Chicago, which is completely different from the Chicago we all know today. It’s separated into 5 factions, where people live and spend their entire lives. What’s interesting about this is that the factions are based on personality traits. The main character Beatrice lived in the faction Abnegation, which believes in total selflessness. However, Beatrice is special; she is Divergent, meaning she displays more than one of the 5 traits. The story follows Beatrice as she chooses a faction and lives her life, trying to find out who she really is.
One thing I found very interesting is a subtle religious theme, scattered throughout the book. This next paragraph may contain spoilers in the plot so I advise reading the book beforehand. The first thing to be aware of there is a mention of God in this book, but it was said that only Abnegation, the selfless, still prayed. Apart from praying, Abnegation also partakes in another symbolic and religious practice: the washing of other people’s feet. During initiation, the initiates would wash the feet of the elders. Washing feet is a very symbolic gesture in Christian society, representing humbleness and love for your fellow man.
Another interesting connection is the portrayal of the Erudite faction, which represents knowledge. In the book, the erudite faction tried to take control of the other factions and served as the main antagonists. This representation of knowledge being evil reflects the story of Adam and Eve, where eating the apple of knowledge was a great sin.
Now the main theme of Divergent was not religion, nor was that the point of the book; however I thought these observations were worth sharing in order to hear other people’s responses. Did anyone else catch these subtle hints? Let me know your thoughts and tell me if I may have missed any more biblical references or if I’m just off my rocker.