Divergent Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords: 
Civil Society
Courage
Fiction Literature
Government
Philanthropic Literature
Selflessness
Book Title: Divergent / Author: Veronica Roth This guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 13+

This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read, produced a video book talk (link below) and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.

Book Talk for Divergent

Pre-Reading

Questions:

  1. Do you think your personality can be defined in one word? What are some words you would use to describe yourself?
  2. Is it possible for someone to have no fears in his/her life? Why or Why not?
  3. What do you think is the best way to overcome fears?
  4. What are the differences and similarities between bravery and selflessness?
  5. Do you think people should live a life for happiness or personal goals? Explain.

During Reading

Questions:

  1. What evidence is there that Beatrice's brother Caleb betrayed Abnegation?
  2. The narrator creates a conflict between Beatrice’s love of her natural faction, Abnegation, and the faction she chooses to join, Dauntless. Do you think she chose Dauntless because she wanted to overcome the weakness of her personality?
  3. Compare and contrast Eric and Four.
  4. We can see that Beatrice actually dislikes Al because of his weakness and fear of fighting. What changes her mind?
  5. What strategies does Beatrice use when she is trying to calm herself under the crows?
  6. When Beatrice tries to convince herself that she won’t need her friends any more as long as she becomes Dauntless, is she selfish or selfless?
  7. What’s the biggest difference between the life in Abnegation and Dauntless? (Try to explain with the “manipulation.”)
  8. Tris’s mom is also a Divergent. Why wasn’t she killed?
  9. How does the initiation change and transform Tris? Do you think she made the right faction choice? Explain.
  10. How does the idea of “faction before blood” come into play throughout the book? Do you think this idea has a place in today’s society, or is it contrary to what most people believe?

 

After Reading

Questions:

  1. Tris’s mother says, “Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  2. What’s the difference between being fearless and learning to control you fears? Do you believe anyone can be truly fearless? What does Tris mean when she says that “half of bravery is perspective”?
  3. What is the reason of creating the factions? Do you agree or disagree that such a system is a beneficial way to structure a society? What about the structure seems to be working for Tris’s society? What are the impacts of this society?
  4. If you had a chance to take the aptitude test and choose one of the factions, which faction would you choose? Explain.

 

Activities

  1. There are online surveys to put you into simulated factions. Here is one: https://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/which-divergent-faction-do-you-actually-belong-in Predict your faction first and then take the online quiz.
  2. We often associate "selflessness" with giving. Brainstorm how each of the faction types are related to philanthropy. How could each personality type use its strength to contribute to the common good?
  3. Brainstorm ways to use your strengths for the common good.