this morning i saw a link that let me read the faction manifestos of the five factions in veronica roth’s amazing new book, Divergent. it was very very interesting to read through them. you can read them all here. Divergent is the first in a planned trilogy. i had some ideas about what might be happening next when i finished reading the first one, but now after reading the manifestos i think there are even more clues, and i am very excited.
i had thought that i would choose the erudite faction, if i lived in the dystopian society described in the book. i normally identify as ravenclaw when it comes to harry potter, i consider myself a nerd who loves to read and learn new things. but the erudite faction manifesto was my least favorite. and it’s obvious that the current erudite leader, jeanine, does not adhere to the outlined principles of her own group. and it says they are supposed to pick a new leader when the current one reaches 55 or shows signs of a loss of mental functions. she is described as being middle-aged. i am wondering how close to this age she might be, and what she would do if confronted by it. but she’s already broken the manifesto anyway because she has withheld information and manipulated knowledge to her own gain, and she is obviously power hungry. so…that should be interesting.
meanwhile, book one ends with tris and co. headed to the amity faction seeking asylum. the amity manifesto, which is all about living in peace and harmony, has a section at the end footnoted as belonging to the original manifesto when the faction was founded, but that has since been excluded. it’s the part that says conflict is okay if it is in defense of someone.
One Friend says to Another: “Friend, today I fought with my enemy.”
The Other Friend says: “Why did you fight with your enemy?”
“Because they were about to hurt you.”
“Friend, why did you defend me?”
“Because I love you.”
“Then I am grateful.”
SO, that is definitely going to come into play. because the amity people are not going to want to join the fight for or against anybody, and that’s going to be bad…but one or two of them might, if caleb or four can show them an old copy of the original manifesto and convince them. the other sections of the amity manifesto are conversations like this one, except they end with one person telling the other why they shouldn’t have fought (leave the past alone, don’t let others’ words provoke you, don’t be selfish, etc.)
i really really liked the abnegation and dauntless manifestos. i guess that just leaves candor, which i guess i have no strong feelings about at this time.
the abnegation one is really short. if i chose that faction, i would say the version with “and only God remains” at the end. (it says that line is optional).
i will be my undoing
if i become my obsession
i will forget the ones i love
if i do not serve them.
i will war with others
if i refuse to see them.
therefore i choose to turn away
from my reflection,
to rely not on myself
but on my brothers and sisters,
to project always outward
until i disappear
(and only God remains).
the dauntless manifesto is longer–they are all longer than abnegation, actually. dauntless is three pages. one of my favorite lines from it was quoted by four in the book, but there are some other good ones as well:
we believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.
we believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.
we believe, not just in bold words but in bold deeds to match them.
we believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and inaction, because we believe in action.
we do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by.
those lines from dauntless, and the bit at the end of amity that was cut out, make me really think about whether violence can ever be justified. it’s hard to argue against these inspiring words. i tend to think that as a christian i should be a pacifist, but it is something i struggle with. intellectually, i mean. but is there a way to defend others and be willing to suffer pain and death rather than standing idly by without harming others? or at least without killing them. like shepherd book in the show firefly–he only shoots kneecaps or shoulders, disabling people without killing them. maybe that is the best position. hmm. something to continue thinking about!
***update*** if you buy the paperback version of Divergent (just released), it comes with a bunch of extras at the end including the Faction Manifestos.