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45 pages 1 hour read

Veronica Roth

Insurgent

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2012

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Summary and Study Guide

Overview

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth, is the second novel in the three-part Divergent series and describes a revolution in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. That society is founded upon principles that divide people into factions based on their personalities and function within the society. The selfless belong to Abnegation; the brave belong to Dauntless; the intelligent belong to Erudite; the honest belong to Candor; and the peacemakers belong to Amity. 

Each 16 year old undergoes an aptitude test to determine his or her future faction; those whose tests determine that they have an aptitude for more than one faction are deemed Divergent, and therefore dangerous to the order of the society. The Divergent are hunted and killed in order to preserve the smooth functioning of the society. In addition, those who fail their factions’ initiation process are exiled and to live, or starve, among the factionless. The protagonist, Beatrice Prior, or Tris, is one such Divergent, having chosen Dauntless from among her three aptitudes: Erudite, Dauntless, and Abnegation. Tris is initiated into her new faction after leaving her home and family amongst the Abnegation in book one of the series, Divergent.

As Insurgent opens, Tris finds herself immersed in a faction war: the Erudite faction has overtaken the minds of the Dauntless faction in order to use them as soldiers to slaughter members of the Abnegation faction. Tris, her brother Caleb, Tobias, Peter, and Marcus are on the run, as are the other surviving members of Abnegation and those members of Dauntless who chose not to unite with Erudite. All-out war now looms as conflict grows between the factions and their ideologies. Tris confronts issues of loyalty, love, violence, and grief as she navigates uncertainty and chaos while moving toward an unknown future.

Tris and her group seek refuge among the Amity. Soon they move to Candor, as Marcus, the de facto Abnegation leader, seeks the return of secret information stolen from Abnegation: the real cause of the Erudite attack. Tris and Tobias, along with the remaining loyal Dauntless, organize an alliance with the factionless, led by Tobias’s mother, Evelyn, to defeat the Erudite. Loyalty and betrayal test Tris’s relationship with Tobias, and with her friends and family. 

Tris sacrifices herself by becoming a test subject for Jeannine, Erudite’s leader, in order to save the other members of her faction. However, Jeanine’s serum, which allows her to control the Divergent, does not work on Tris. Peter, a traitor from Dauntless and Tris’s nemesis, helps Tobias and Tris escape the Erudite.

Soon the factionless/Dauntless alliance launches its attack on Erudite, while Tris works with Marcus to prevent the destruction of the secret information crucial to the truth about their society.

The novel ends with the broadcast of an old video—the secret file—that reveals the truth about their society’s origins, pointing toward a future outside the confines of the city’s fence and the remnants of the factions.

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