Everyone is Divergent
Identity is the sense of self. It is the person you see in the mirror, past the eyes, to the inside. When you do look into that mirror, you do not just see a face. You see everything about yourself at once. What about other people, what do they see? For Tris Prior, her past life only allowed her to glimpse into the mirror, to peer at an identity she was told she did not deserve to see.
In a world that is constantly trying to tell you what your identity is, finding out for yourself can be one of the hardest journeys. In Divergent by Veronica Roth, this is the biggest challenge Tris faces: coming to terms with who she is, and standing up to an overbearing society. I believe that everyone faces this, and personally, I am learning to understand my own divergence, the way that society has told me I am different.
Tris came from Abnegation, the community dedicated to selflessness and service to others. Following that background came a reputation, as clean and sharp as the lines in her plain, gray clothing. She was expected to be quiet, to keep to herself, almost nonexistent, the gray in the background. She was always taught to be extremely modest, to never show herself off. The day that she chose the Dauntless faction over her home in Abnegation was the day the perfect lines got wrinkled.
“Stiff!”-“What a goody- two-shoes!” Tris and I have been called our fair share of names. When Tris first arrives at Dauntless initiation, with many people from other factions, everyone sees her as the “stiff” from Abnegation, small, tense and as insignificant as a mouse, when her heart roars like a lion. She finds it difficult to show her true self because she has spent her whole life trapped behind a wall of insufficiency. Their first impression is that she is boring, two-dimensional in the flat, monotone garb.
Like Tris, the place I come from suggests that I am rigid, a major goody-two shoes, but unlike Tris, everyone expects me to be perfect; to get perfect grades, be pretty, to never swear, to never sweat. They tell me that things should not be hard for me, that everything is handed to me without any work, but they only see my reflection, and nothing more. Tris never identified with the place she came from and the expectations that came with it. Like Tris, I don’t see that girl in the mirror.
Her problems don’t end there: Tris is Divergent, and divergents threaten the system. Tris is in danger because she is not just selfless or just brave or just wise, but all three. Tris knows humility, love, sacrifice, and friendship. She is many things and has many parts to her personality. She is unlimited, undefined, and you cannot sort her, put her neatly into a file cabinet with a fancy label. Her society tells her that it cannot run efficiently unless she fits herself into that box, under a faction name. The society is scared of the “Divergents” of the world.
Today, society is much the same, though not as extreme. It is scared of the people who cannot be labeled. The truth is, everyone is a million different things, and should never yield to such an awful principle as trying to be just one. Just because you are one thing doesn’t mean you aren’t another. It is a gift, a privilege, to be selfless, to be peaceful, honest, brave and wise.
For Tris and I, it is time to stand in front of that mirror, scrutinizing, observing, and examining, until we recognize ourselves. She must break the board, for she is no longer, and never was, “stiff”. As for me, I am growing out of my two shoes; they never really fit me anyway. It is time to stop being afraid, and to realize that everyone is special, everyone is different, and everyone is divergent.