Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reader Response: Divergent Pt. 2

A continuation of reader response to Divergent by Veronica Roth for my Teen Materials class (maybe).

* spoilers everywhere *

Chapter Four

The societal arrangement is a post-war setup, like in The Hunger Games. I'm having a hard time seeing how these claims aren't contradictory: (1) "The city is ruled by a council of fifty people, composed entirely of representatives from Abnegation" and (2) "Jeanine Matthews is Erudite's sole representative".

This chapter's internal struggle is mostly only interesting because we get to overhear the level of resentment that happens when a kid chooses a non-birth faction. Beatrice's closing thoughts about her choice demonstrating the appropriateness of that same choice was clever.

Enough about me, though. What about teen readers? I think this would appeal to their worries about having to decide what to do with their lives, the thought that they might be leaving the comfort and discomforts of home, and the feeling that they're different...even if they're painfully normal. I just wish I knew if it were on purpose that 'special' Beatrice is this boring.

Chapter Five

I want to substitute 'fashion' for 'faction' every time it occurs.

Their ceremonial language is sexist, still? Ugh.

Ok, now I have the origin story. Everyone agreed that humanity's wars were caused by a single personality flaw. It's just that there were exactly five different answers for which single personality flaw this was, so there are five factions devoted to eliminating that single flaw in all of humanity...oh wait, no! Only within a group. And to each group, the other four factions are filled with infidels. It's the perfect setup for a five-way faction holy war. Beatrice is smart to be considering Dauntless. I put money on that faction or Erudite, if they study war tech too. A more believable synthesis would make a better setup for the antithesis that's undoubtedly on its way.

Chapter Six

A reasonable initiation into her new fashion. Tris is a more YA hero sounding name. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Tris is short for Beatrice. I'm a whole word reader, don't judge me! ;)

Chapter Seven

Competitive training. Ok, I'm actually intrigued to see this testing process.

Chapter Eight

Nothing too notable here. These chapters are so darn short! This is ok.

Chapter Nine

I appreciated the way a major philosophical difference among the Dauntless was shown. I didn't appreciate the explicit explanation immediately following, for the slow readers in the audience.

Not real excited about forcing unprepared kids to do things that are likely to kill them to test their "bravery." This whole society is nothing but disgusting, which is probably intended but I'm not enjoying reading about it. At least with The Hunger Games, the kid-killing was externally imposed and reviled. Here, the democratic society is ok with exile, family separations, and death.

Chapter Ten

I really hope the scoring for these fights isn't based on winners. There's no bravery in beating up helpless people, but there is in bearing that beating as long as possible. I can't help but try to imagine some excuse for this book to be better than it seems to be. How did this become so popular?

Or am I the crankiest reader ever? Don't answer that.

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