Insurgent Chapters 16–23 Summary & Analysis

Veronica Roth


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Insurgent Chapters 16–23 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 16 Summary

Eric has been ordered to bring two Divergent back to headquarters for Jeanine, while executing all the other Divergent they find. Tris attacks Eric, stabbing him in the stomach, as other Dauntless, including Tobias, arrive to help. Eric is taken prisoner. Other Dauntless traitors are killed or run away.

Chapter 17 Summary

After the unsuccessful attack upon Candor headquarters, Tris discovers that she has been shot with some new kind of simulation serum. Caleb arrives with Marcus, who feels that he should show his solidarity with Candor, since they too have been attacked by the Erudite.

Tobias and Tris speculate that the new simulation serum probably allows Jeanine to control people over a longer distance and for a longer period of time, perhaps even for an unlimited amount of time. Tobias also reprimands Tris for charging into the battle with no weapon, no backup, and no real plan. He tells her that it’s foolhardy and reckless for her to risk her life for no good reason.

When Tris returns to the cafeteria, she sits with the other loyal Dauntless and Caleb. Cara, the Erudite who warned the loyal Dauntless and saved Tris’s and Uriah’s lives, enters the cafeteria and sits with a small group of other Erudite refugees. Caleb admits that he’ll never be able to go back to the Erudite when everything is over.

Chapter 18 Summary

The Candor leader, Jack Kang, announces that he wants to hear from those in the group who are Divergent, in an attempt to gather information about why the Erudite attacked Candor headquarters. Marcus, Tobias, and Tris step forward. After Marcus, Tobias, and Tris share their beliefs that the loyal Dauntless and Candor have been injected with a long-range, long-term serum and simulation transmitter, Kang dismisses their concerns and announces that he intends to broker a peace treaty with the Erudite and traitor Dauntless immediately.

Chapter 19 Summary

Zeke and Tori return to Candor headquarters, after they are caught spying on the Erudite. Tris, Zeke, and Lynn devise a plan to spy on the Erudite-Candor peace meeting, knowing that Kang is likely to agree to sacrifice the Dauntless and the Divergent.

Chapter 20 Summary

Taunted by both the Candor and the Dauntless upon the return of his abusive father, Tobias deliberately beats his father at dinner in front of everyone. His plan gains him the respect of the Dauntless. Only Tris realizes that Tobias’s act was a political ploy to increase the Dauntless’ loyalty to him, rather than an emotional reaction.

Chapter 21 Summary

Tris, Tobias, Shauna, and Lynn spy on the meeting between the Erudite—represented by the Dauntless traitor Max—and Jack Kang. The Erudite demands are terrible: the want the Candor to turn over all of the Divergent, Eric, and the names of all those who have not been injected with the new serum. Tris realizes that Jeanine is nearby, talking into Max’s earpiece, but Lynn shoots Max before Tris can figure out where Jeanine is hiding. As they flee, they run into Jeanine and her soldiers. Peter, who is among Jeanine’s soldiers, helps them escape, but Shauna is shot and paralyzed as they run away.

Chapter 22 Summary

Tobias tells Tris that if she needlessly risks her life again then their relationship is finished. He tells her that he can love Tris the Divergent, but not Tris the mindless, Dauntless, adrenaline junkie. Tris realizes that Tobias understands the dark part of her that wants to risk her life.

Tris visits Tori and discovers the location of Jeanine’s laboratory. She asks Tori to help call a Dauntless meeting. They discuss the Erudite demands. The Dauntless decide to return to their own headquarters, after breaking all of the Erudite cameras. They elect new leaders: Tori, Tobias, and Harrison, an older man.

Chapter 23 Summary

Jack Kang’s announcement, over a loudspeaker system, of the Erudite terms interrupts the Dauntless meeting. Kang announces the terms and asks everyone to gather for a meeting.

The Dauntless pack their belongings in preparation for returning home. Next, the new Dauntless leaders hold Eric’s trial; Tobias executes Eric.

Chapter 16 – 23 Analysis

These chapters reveal the growing distrust between factions, as Erudite attempts to consolidate its power over Candor. This distrust mirrors the growing distrust between Tobias and Tris, as each makes decisions and plans without consulting the other.

For example, Tobias calculates and plans his rise in the Dauntless leadership and is successful in gaining a position of authority, which is later consolidated by his execution of Eric. Given that Tobias did not share his plans with her, Tris decides not to discuss her continuing trauma or her own distaste for the Dauntless’ brutality and confrontational style. Quietly, Tris gathers information and lays her own plans for alliances, as in her conversations with Marcus, where she offers him her help in retrieving the secret information from Erudite, and with Tori, when she realizes that Tori means to kill Jeanine Matthews at all costs.

The greatest conflict between Tobias and Tris, however, concerns Tris’s tendency to throw herself into dangerous situations without thinking. Tobias’s view is that Tris should take care of her own life, and allow others to help her. Tris knows that she has a suicidal streak, as a result of her own grief and guilt, which she is unwilling to temper. Tris’s life, as well as her relationship with Tobias, hangs by a thread at this point in the novel.

In addition, the cruelty within factions appears here, as Eric taunts Tobias and Tris during his trial, attempting to taint their relationship and their positions within Dauntless.

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