“Divergent”: Should You Read the Novel or Watch the Movie?

Cassidy says we should do both!

The cover of the novel.

The cover of the novel.

Cassidy Womack, Writer

In 2011, Veronica Roth wrote the book named Divergent, and today, it is a hit movie that had tremendous success in the box office with $150.8 million. The novel and the movie are about a girl who is growing up in a world divided into factions that describe what you value. There is Erudite which values intelligence, Dauntless which values bravery, Amity which values peace, Candor which values honesty, and Abnegation which values selflessness. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley)  has grown up in the Abnegation sector and has spent her life with one motto: forget oneself and serve others. Now, since Beatrice is of age, she is supposed to take an aptitude test that helps her determine which faction she is going join for the rest of your life.

In the aptitude test, she is given a serum that puts her in a simulation, and how she acts in this simulation will tell her what she values most. Each person is supposed to show one value, but those who show more than one are considered to be divergent, which is not a good thing for Beatrice. After she shows characteristics for Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless, she is warned to hide what she is. In the end, when it is time to choose their factions, Beatrice chooses Dauntless and leaves her family forever. She thought that choosing would mean that she was in, but she soon discovers that if she wants to remain Dauntless, she must complete the tests to stay, or she would end up factionless, which is basically the same as homeless.

Beatrice takes on the new name “Tris”, and along with another divergent named Four (Theo James), she learns to hide her extra abilities. That is, until the leader of Erudite, Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet), has all the Dauntless in a serum-induced trance and is using them to murder everyone in Abnegation. Now, Tris has to fight to survive and possibly lose the ones she loves in the process.

Anyways, I personally enjoyed the book, but although the movie was similar, there were a lot of differences. For one, Four was 18 in the book, yet in the movie he played as a 24-year old. This wouldn’t be a significant difference if it weren’t for the fact that she is a teenager. This makes their relationship a little weird. In addition to this, the Dauntless-born character named Uriah, who was a good friend of Tris, is hardly seen in the movie. In the book, since the Prior family is in Abnegation, it is frowned upon to be physically close and overtly friendly, but Tris’ parents hold hands and hug their kids in the movie. One major difference for many, is the scene in which Tris is in a simulation and Four tries to force himself on her. Many are upset due to the fact that in the book, Tris is just afraid of intimacy with Four and not afraid that he would hurt her. Another change is the active role that Winslet’s character Jeanine plays in the movie. In the book, she is seen less and the scene in which the machine controlling the Dauntless is shut off is different.

There are also a lot of small details that were kept out of the movie such as the side romance between Christina and Will, and the emphasis on Four’s four fears. Also, Tris had seven fears not five. Although this movie had some differences from the book, it was actually a pretty close to the book. There were some points that weren’t emphasized that disappointed me, but overall Divergent was both a good movie and a good book. I’d encourage others to read the book series and compare them to the movies.