In the movie Divergent, Four tells Tris after her psych test (refereed to as S1):

"Dauntless don't break the glass like that"

This implies that a member of one of the other factions would break the glass in that way. We learned that this is inherent to the tests at the first test (refereed to T1) meant to understand which faction they should choose (at the beginning of the film).

The strange part, is that we know that after T1 they can choose whatever faction they want. It doesn't necessarily mean she is "Divergent" if in S1 she acts in such a way as member of another faction would, it could just mean that she was destined for another faction (hypothetically), but because of her free-will she chose Dauntless in T1. Thus, people who were not destined to Dauntless after T1 would experience similar traits of the faction in which they were destined which shouldn't necessarily make them divergent as it is implied by Four.

It was never implied that during their training or otherwise in Dauntless that they would somehow develop all the traits of their host faction.

Can someone expand on this?

  • 2
    I have a hard time following what your asking.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 2:42
  • made it more clear, but its a complex question
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 3:01
  • Are you trying to ask why they can choose instead of being forced to follow the result of the test?
    – cde
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 3:07
  • no basically i am trying to ask, since they can choose in their initial test (before Dauntless chosing factions .etc.), why is it considered divergent (what four says) if they act as another faction would in their psych tests at Dauntless? I mean one would assume that if they were destined for another faction but chose Dauntless then they would STILL have traits of the faction they should have gone to, and that would reflect in any psych test. So why then, does four consider her divergent?
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 3:10
  • @Alex may be it's a plot hole! her test said she belongs to "Abnegation" (as far as everybody knows) so it shouldn't be a problem if she didn't act like a "Dauntless" and she could've easily explained that to any one don't know her test result and think her behavior is strange
    – madmada
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 3:36

3 Answers 3


The system, is not perfect. It has changed by multiple people for multiple reasons. See at the end for that. Based solely on the first film, the system in place is not designed to accommodate divergent individuals.

It only provides the illusion of choice.

The kids are raised in their factions, conditioned to believe that faction as the right one. During the test, they are found to be one of the five. But they can choose, to stay with their birth faction, go with the test faction, or the faction they want. The fourth option is to be factionless, an outcast.

As Tori explains, a series of tests (five funny enough) are given, but most end up with their birth faction:

Tori: You'll be offered a series of choices to test your aptitude for each faction until you get one result. I wouldn't sweat it. 95% get the faction of their origin.

95% of people stay in their own faction. Those that don't have rumors about them. It's a shocking thing in the faction society. And it's so unlikely that non-conformists are rare, compared to Divergents.

Of course, right before:

While it is our belief that choosing the faction indicated by your test is the best way to ensure success within the faction system, it is your right tomorrow at the choosing ceremony to choose any of the five factions, regardless of your test results. However, once the choice has been made, there will be no change permitted.

But choosing to go against the test can have consequences. Immediately after the ceremony, Beatrice and the others who chose Dauntless face multiple tests to weed out those that arn't really dauntless. Climb to reach the train. Jump off the train. Blindly jump off a building. If they don't, they are immediately factionless.

Al: What if you don't jump?
Peter: What do you think? You'll be factionless.

And then the training comes, where they weed out more. Before Tris' class, anyone who survived the training passed. During Tris class, they develop the point cut off to weed out more non-conforming. Not just divergents, but people who are really a different faction but chose Dauntless, and could bluff or bs their way in. If you don't think like the faction you choose, they will reject you, regardless of what the kids were told that they had a choice. Conform or die be removed from civilized society and become a factionless hobo.

Now during the movie, the system was changed to hunt down divergents as well as turning Dauntless members into brainless weapons.

So the reason Four implies that Tris is Divergent, aside from his only status as Divergent and his instructor giving him the same advice for the same reason, is because everyone is on the look out for Divergents. It's more likely that someone is Divergent than it is for someone to choose outside of their faction. And they treat them the same as Divergents anyway.

The system has been corrupted to the point where they are overzealous about finding Divergents, that even people jumping factions would be treated as Divergent, even if they arn't. Like modern day Islamophobia or Racism, where people who may superficially resemble the target get affected. Think Sikhs vs Muslims.

Tori: My brother was like you. During the second stage, he got good really fast. Last day of the simulations, one of the Dauntless leaders came to watch him. Then the next morning, we found his body at the bottom of the chasm. They got rid of him.
Tris: Who did?
Tori: Dauntless leadership. You can't let them find out about you.
Tris: And what if they already know?
Tori: Then you're already dead.

In Insurgent, when Erudite creates the Divergence Tester, Eric finds someone that barely counts as divergent.

Eric: Hello. [he scans Uriah]
Scanner: Divergent ten percent.
Eric: Hm. Shit. You' re almost normal. That's boring. [he suddenly shoot Uriah in the head, killing him]

Prior to the series:

Before the five faction system was created, as we find out in Insurgent Allegiant, the system was designed to create divergents as a sort of salvation for humanity. At some point that is forgotten and the five faction system is enforced. And during Divergent, Jeanne and others actively try to stop divergence from existing. The system has been corrupted from its original intent, so what we see in Divergent is a divergence from what it should have been. It's possible that at the beginning, someone could choose against their intended faction, and leeway would be given in their initiation tests.

Caveat: We basically only know how Dauntless would handle it, and only during Four and Tris' classes, and the other factions are left mysterious. As the military branch, Dauntless is likely more aggressive in their training, and anyone not acting like a good little soldier would be removed. Candor likely finds out quickly if someone can't be truthful (hence the truth serum hurting Tris in Insurgent). Erudite picks off anyone not smart enough, while the other two can be more welcoming (the stiffs feeding the factionless while the gardeners giving the rebels refuge as long as they don't fight).

  • This is a understandable answer, yet it fails to realize my main point - that Four would not have been able to tell just by a simulation whether or not someone is "Divergent" but rather he would just know that they don't belong in Dauntless.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 3:56
  • @Alex He realizes she's Divergent because he's Divergent, and afaik he got the same advice (He got Abnegation during his test, and his trainer, Amar was also divergent) . Same as the tattoo/bartender that saved Beatrice at the testing. Some of Four's backstory was told in the book Four: Divergent Collection. And if your question is simply "why did Four say Tris was Divergent instead of Tris you think like a different faction", its still not clear.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 4:21
  • @Alex in that case, it's still simple. Tris, as a Divergent, doesn't think like any single faction. Her breaking the glass like that, is a Divergent trait, not a Abnegation or Candor or anything. It's not just "Dauntless don't do that, but no normal faction member does that".
    – cde
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 4:27
  • @Alex I've address some of it in my updates.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 4:52

I know this conversation might have been done for a long time now but I wanted to share my opinion. I understand what’s being asked and if you listen and even google it you know that Four doesn’t know he’s divergent at first, he just wishes he was and even in the end he isn’t divergent, he’s still genetically damaged as told in the book series but he discovers he has genes that make him able to control sims and not be effected by the serums, therefore making him look divergent but not truly being divergent. Now when he says “dauntless don’t break the glass like that” as vague as it seems I think he means that normally people in a simulation wouldn’t do that, now i know he specifically says dauntless but I honestly think it just means any person in that society in general because anybody in the simulation wouldn’t be able to just tell themselves it’s not real, from what we know only divergents are able to control their simulations also meaning their the only ones able to realize it’s not real and break themselves out of their situation with ease. And even if this really isn’t the answer or it doesn’t make sense it’s probably just the way the script was written, maybe a minor flaw in the script, maybe the writer should have put “non-divergents” instead of “dauntless” or maybe the writer just wanted us to focus more on the dauntless faction because that is where most of the movie takes place. Or maybe the writer just didn’t think us watchers would put that much thought into the fact that he said “dauntless” specifically. Hope this helps even though the conversation is pretty much over lol.


I believe that it is both. The abtitute test is meant to be just to show you what you would be best at and then you have the choice to change at the ceremony thing.

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