The significance of the relationship between society and of the government is crucial. If the connection between the two becomes unbalanced, it can lead to dangerous circumstances. Veronica Roth’s dystopian novel Divergent paints a picture of what giving the government too much power would be like and how it can affect society. The book shows how the strength and stability between these two relationships depends on the power and who is controlling that power. Throughout the novel, there are multiple examples of what our government today is capable of. It shows how giving the government too much power opens a possibility for them to misuse it, it opens a door to constant surveillance and how it is threatening to civilization. Divergent is about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice/Tris who lives in the post-apocalyptic Chicago, IL. The surviving population of this futuristic Chicago, are divided into 5 factions which dependent on the individuals personality.

Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the intelligent. Every year, all 16 year olds take an aptitude test that shows what faction the individual is best suited for based on their personality. Beatrice (then turned Tris) was originally born into Abnegation but always new she didn’t belong there.

Her aptitude test moreless supports her uncertainty by indicating her aptitude for 3 factions: Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation. Beatrice’s tester warns her not to tell anyone about her aptitude results as they make her Divergent which is dangerous. On the other hand however, if you don’t fit into any faction you are looked down upon.

The people that don’t belong in a faction are called the “factionless” and are treated/comparable to the homeless in our society/culture today. The next day, all 16 year olds attend the Choosing Ceremony in which they choose their faction based off there aptitude results. Marcus (the Abnegation leader) who hosts the ceremony and says:This is a strategy that the government uses on their citizens to make them believe that them choosing what faction they end up in is actually their choice.

In reality however, they have been tricked into taking the simulation serum and completing the “exam”. This is them misusing their power as they are selling propaganda to their people. In Divergent, the government abuses its power and tricks there people by forming each person into someone or more something they can control.  In the book, the government has constant surveillance on its whole population. They are always looking for suspicious activity and Divergents. Four (Tris’s love interest) warns her about the government surveillance, how they are suspicious of her.

He says: What this quote shows is that the leaders can watch anyone they want without the proper authority. They are using unwarranted surveillance on Tris which is similar to what is happening in our world.  This book reflects our own society’s concerns and puzzles which was brought into the light by Edward Snowden and multiple other whistleblowers from different institutions. In 2013 when Edward Snowden (former employee of NSA/CIA) revealed the USA’s government secret programs of constant surveillance on citizens in the USA and abroad. Snowden’s revelations triggered a very serious debate in modern society all around the world on how to keep intelligence’s power accountable to society. Today’s society is becoming more and more of a digital one, and the global web, has empowered intelligence institutions to have unprecedented power to track, watch, and control citizens. All of this is done without their knowledge or proper permission.Another example of constant surveillance is, how the initiates that have succeeded to pass the stages into Dauntless have a tracking device injected in them without their knowledge or permission.

This allows the government to watch and follow there every move. This again is done without them knowing or their permission. Divergents are the outliers to their society.

They are uncontrollable by the government and free from its authority. The novel shows you how the citizens think they are living in a perfect world and in a most desirable society when in reality they aren’t. What a society needs is a government for structure and order. However, to prosper as a civilization, we need freedom of choice and possibilities. Divergent by Veronica Roth acknowledges the dangerous situations between the government and society.

Veronica Roth warns us about how we need to be vigilant with power and control, to know who is using this power and there true intentions.  It shows how giving the government too much power opens a possibility for them to misuse it, it opens a door to constant surveillance and how it is threatening to civilization.


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