Identity in "Divergent" by Veronica Roth

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 514 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 514|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent explores the complex and multifaceted nature of identity within a dystopian society. The story is set in a future Chicago where society is divided into five factions based on different virtues, namely Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. The protagonist, Beatrice Prior, faces the challenge of choosing her faction, which ultimately determines her identity and place in society. This essay will explore the theme of identity in Divergent, analyzing the way in which the characters’ choices and actions shape their sense of self and the implications of societal expectations on individual identity.

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One of the central themes of Divergent is the idea that one’s identity is not predetermined by external factors, but rather constructed through personal choices and experiences. Beatrice’s decision to leave her family’s faction of Abnegation and join the Dauntless faction reflects her desire to break free from the constraints of her upbringing and carve out her own identity. This notion is supported by research conducted by psychologist Erik Erikson, who proposed that identity formation is a process of exploration and commitment, where individuals actively seek out experiences and make choices that shape their sense of self (Erikson, 1959). Beatrice’s journey in Divergent exemplifies this process as she grapples with her own values and desires, ultimately forging a new identity as Tris, a courageous and independent individual.

Furthermore, the novel highlights the impact of societal expectations on individual identity and the tension between conformity and self-expression. The faction system in Divergent imposes rigid social norms and values on its members, dictating their behavior and defining their roles within the community. This is reminiscent of sociologist Emile Durkheim’s concept of social solidarity, where individuals are bound by shared values and norms that regulate their behavior and maintain social order (Durkheim, 1893). In Divergent, the characters’ struggle to conform to their faction’s expectations while remaining true to themselves reflects the inherent tension between collective identity and personal autonomy.

Moreover, the faction system in Divergent serves as a metaphor for the complexity and fluidity of identity, challenging the notion of fixed and singular identities. The characters in the novel are not confined to one-dimensional personalities based on their faction, but rather exhibit a range of traits and capabilities that defy categorization. This concept resonates with philosopher Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, which proposes that identity is not an inherent essence, but rather a continual performance that is shaped by social and cultural norms (Butler, 1990). The characters’ ability to transcend the limitations of their factions and embrace their diverse qualities underscores the fluid and dynamic nature of identity in Divergent.

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Divergent offers a thought-provoking exploration of identity within the context of a dystopian society. The novel challenges the notion of predetermined identity, emphasizing the role of personal agency and choice in shaping one’s sense of self. Additionally, it sheds light on the impact of societal expectations and the tension between conformity and individuality in identity formation. Ultimately, Divergent invites readers to reflect on the complex and multifaceted nature of identity, encouraging them to question the assumptions and constraints that shape their own sense of self.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Identity in “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
“Identity in “Divergent” by Veronica Roth.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
Identity in “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Jul. 2024].
Identity in “Divergent” by Veronica Roth [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jul 13]. Available from:
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