Does Insurgent really diverge itself from The Hunger Games?3

Emilia Charno and Illana Hill, Staff Writers

“As of yesterday, I technically became Dauntless, but I don’t feel like one.  And I am not Abnegation, either.  I guess I am what I have always been.  Not Dauntless, not Abnegation, not factionless. Divergent.”  Sound familiar?  If the answer is yes, you are most likely one of the millions of teenage girls—I mean people—who read the Divergent series.

Released in 2012, Veronica Roth’s debut novel Divergent became a worldwide phenomenon, selling over 10 million copies to date.  Divergent follows the love and loss of protagonist Tris Prior, who searches for her identity in a dystopian world driven by pre-determined associations with one of five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), and Dauntless (the brave).  Following the unspoken rule for dystopian young adult writing, this novel’s protagonist Tris Prior is, of course, unique.  After taking her aptitude test, Tris is told that her test was inconclusive, as she exhibited traits from all five factions.  From this moment on, Tris identifies as Divergent, and must hide this secret from everyone.

Following the massive success of the book Divergent, Roth released the second, and eventually third, novels in the series.  The sequel, known as Insurgent, was also a global success, selling the same number of copies as its predecessor.  The movies have also been extremely successful; however, they clearly aim to please an audience of teenagers rather than critics.

With a cast of Oscar winners and nominees, it’s difficult to believe that the acting in Insurgent would come off so two-dimensional.  Even though the movie hits all the major plot points of the book, it lacked the proper set-up to develop the same story, instead filling it with rather illogical technology and fight sequences.         We are still unsure as to how someone can be “100% Divergent” considering that being Divergent means that one cannot be 100% of anything.  Another confusing aspect of the movie was how contradictory it became.  Despite the fact that many of the characters in the film are not Divergent, many of them act uncharacteristically, demonstrating traits reminiscent of other factions.  Many of the male leads demonstrate not only bravery, but also selflessness and kindness, while Tris (Shailene Woodley) often fail to exhibit any of these traits.

Nowadays, it can be hard to write a teenage science fiction novel without it being compared to the renowned Hunger Games series.  Written by Suzanne Collins, the Hunger Games books, the first of which was released in 2008, sparked a popular culture revolution in the world of teenage science fiction writing.  Beloved fans of Collins’ series often condemn novels and series with similar themes directed towards a similar audience, of which there are many, as dreaded “wannabe Hunger Games.”  While these comparisons can also be made out of admiration, they have made teenage science fiction a daunting genre to distinguish oneself within.

Considering the strong female protagonist, trilogy format, and dystopian setting in the Divergent and Hunger Games series, it is no surprise that many comparisons were drawn between these two revolutionary writings.