Choose Your Faction

Where do your strengths lie? Do you see service to others as your passion? Perhaps you are really, really smart or extremely honest. Do you value a peaceful environment above all else? Maybe your strength is your lack of fear. Or, quite possibly, you have more than one strength; perhaps you are divergent.

Whether you belong to Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, or, are in fact Divergent, be sure to head to the theater to see Divergent, which opens today. Based on the book by Veronica Roth, and set in Chicago in the not so distant future, Divergent tells the story of Beatrice Prior as she tries to find her place in a society where your main strength determines your fate or “faction.” No matter what faction you’re born into, at 16 you can choose to stay with your birth faction or move to the faction where your strength lies. Beatrice never felt like she belonged in Abnegation and always admired the bravery of Dauntless. When she discovers she is Divergent, she must hide her abilities or risk everything.

What I love about this series is that it’s set in our own backyard. Imagine yourself jumping on and off a moving “L” train to travel around the city; climbing the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier as part of a test; or, zip-lining from the top of the John Hancock Building to Lake Shore Drive! Roth, who lives in Chicago, highlights many of Chicago’s great locations, and it’s fun to try to figure out just where the characters are at at any give time in the books.

The world Roth’s created is also fascinating. Does this world work better than ours because of the faction system? Is basing everything in your life on one trait the best way to live? It’s interesting to think about which faction you might belong to and how that might affect choices you make in the rest of your life. For example, my faction is Amity, and I do try to resolve conflicts.

What books might you like if you were Dauntless?  One of my favorite “brave” books is Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Not only is the main character a female pilot during World War II, but when she’s trapped in a concentration camp, she breaks out to save other women who’ve been used in Nazi experiments.

If you hunger for knowledge like an Erudite, you might like The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Junior leaves the reservation to attend an all-white high school and expand his educational choices. This is what every Erudite lives for.

Abnegations could really identify with A from Every Day by David Levithan. What is more selfless than an disembodied soul traveling through a new and different person each day?

This Song Will Save your Life by Leila Sales resonates with the honesty of Candor. What’s more honest than finding and accepting who you truly are and having your friends like you for you?

The peaceful Amity will enjoy Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Samantha relives the same day of her life over and over again until she finds peace with each person she touched in her life — and within herself.

So, which faction do you belong in?