Divergent's society is divided by factions. Almost everything in this society is determined by which faction a person belongs to: their employment (Erudite educates, while Amity counsels), where they live, who they marry, what they dress, and what they do for leisure (Dauntless goes zip lining, while Abnegation likes to knit). Even personality traits are considered valuable or worthless depending on the faction.
Since there are no true "rights" and "wrongs", only the powerful can decide what happens to others. The main character, Beatrice "Bice" Tournier, is born into an elite family who belongs to the Faction of Love. She doesn't know this until later in the story but everyone else in her world is also supposed to belong to a faction. When she discovers that she belongs to the Faction of Fear, she feels like the whole world has turned against her.
At first, Beatrice wants to join the Faction of Love, but after learning more about it, she decides that it isn't for her. Instead, she joins the Faction of Fear, hoping this will make people treat her with more respect.
Throughout the book, Beatrice learns things about her own family and herself that she never knew before. For example, she finds out that her parents were actually married in a ceremony between two rival factions - they both wanted to show how powerful they were by defeating the other faction.
Divergent by Veronica Roth is set in a future world in which individuals are divided into factions depending on their characteristics. Each group is expected to have a distinct function in society. When the Erudite group seeks to grab control of the other factions, a new member of the Dauntless called Tris is forced to intervene. Using her unique skills, she hopes to defeat the evil faction Abnegation who want to destroy all difference in order to create a world without divisions.
Tris finds out that she has been recruited into the Dauntless, the faction that runs against all that she believes in. But after an attack on her family, she decides to join forces with another divergent teen who also belongs to the Dauntless. Together, they will need to overcome obstacles and learn to trust others if they want to survive.
Divergent shows that it is possible to divide people based on physical traits or even beliefs, but that doesn't mean that such a society can't work. Indeed, according to author Veronica Roth, "a society divided into different groups works better than one where everyone is supposed to be the same".
In addition, Divergent gives us insight into how such a society would work. Since each group must perform specific tasks to keep society running, no one group could ever become too powerful. Also, since there are different parts of society that require different abilities and talents, there would always be room for people to develop their skills.
Divergent, like other dystopian books, revolves on a dysfunctional society or government. Divergent attempts to address this by introducing a faction structure, with each group blaming a different cause for the government's failure. Dauntless, Amity, Candor, Erudite, and Abnegation are the five factions. You can think of them as similar to political parties; however, they are more based on values rather than politics.
In addition to the factions, there is also a system of rank called aptitudes which determines what role you will play within your faction. The four highest-ranking aptitudes are combat, knowledge, skill, and culture. These are determined at the onset of adolescence when you are given an assessment test by your faction's leader. If you score high enough in battle trials you may become an adult warrior, if you score high in knowledge you may become an expert in a particular subject, etc.
The lowest-ranking ability is faith. Your faction leader decides how you will be used through personal interviews and assignments. For example, if you are deemed unfit for combat work, you may be given a position as a clerk or servant. However, it is possible to rise above your ranking if you show great talent or have some kind of special ability. The book mentions that those who have been born with an aptitude for something other than one of the four first rankings may still be allowed to join a faction if they can demonstrate that they possess a strong moral code.
Divergent is a story about a society divided into factions and a girl who does not fit into any of them. The moral impact of the works is found in the persistent reminder that you should always, under all circumstances, make decisions for yourself rather than allowing society to do it for you.
Divergents are people with abilities or psychological tendencies that transcend different groups. The hint to Plato's The Republic and its rigid class structure—workers, guardians, and philosopher kings—is quite obvious, though Roth does not draw inspiration from this tome. In Divergents, he instead turns to Shakespeare for guidance on this topic.
In Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, the two main characters are from opposite sides of the social ladder who fall in love despite their family ties. Though they are from very wealthy families, they decide to take jobs as servants for a while to save money for a trip to Paris, where Romeo hopes to find a job as a musician. This show of love from two young people from different backgrounds is what makes the story unique and interesting.
In Roth's novel, the main character, Beatrice "Bette" Cook, grows up in an affluent suburb of Chicago called Trumpland where she is taught that success is only achieved through hard work. However, once she enters the real world without her father's protection, she finds out that it is not like the movie version we see in the media. For example, the rich kids she goes to school with have fathers that work in the office all day while they play video games and get high at home during lunch.