By Eric Henderson

Given how popular the novels have proven, and also how insanely prolific the site’s been at posting them, I’m surprise that a BuzzFeed quiz offering to help you find out to which Divergent faction you belong only just showed up yesterday. (It’s not sponsored, as far as I can tell, so it doesn’t appear that it was posted in order to coincide with the film’s release this week.)

If you’re not familiar with the series and these factions, let me clue you in. The first novel and film take place in a slightly futuristic Chicago, where a band of survivors of a non-descript conflict thrive after walling up their city and keeping everyone else at bay. To maintain order, they break their ranks up into five separate factions. Upon their arrival at adulthood, Chicago’s teens are asked to pledge themselves to one of the five, even if it means leaving their families behind. “Factions before blood,” the saying goes. And they are:

Abnegation: The selfless ones who care for others and think not about their own appearance, which is good because they wear sackcloth pashminas. They more or less make up Chicago’s surprisingly populous neo-Amish populace.

Dauntless: These pushy jerks leap from trains, run in the streets, dress like cat burglars and in general feel like they’re living a teenage dream until, it appears, they are fed into a meat grinder and repurposed somehow, because there are literally no Dauntless over the age of 30.

Erudite: The brains of the operation, except for that they somehow weren’t smart enough from the word go to assume leadership of Chicago. That honor somehow fell to Abnegation, despite the fact that they don’t even know well enough to cover their own light bulbs.

Candor: They tell the truth, which doesn’t so much mean pointing out the clear deficiencies of this whole system as it means constantly asking people “Do you even own a comb?”

Amity: They were all on vacation during the first installment of the series.

For the record, I took the BuzzFeed quiz and got “factionless,” meaning I’m one of the vagrants who are cast out of society when they can’t cut the mustard in their own chosen factions. I beg to differ. I believe the unsortables are supposed to be called Divergents. But I’m probably only saying that because I clearly belong in Candor.

Veronica Roth, the author of the book series, was in the Twin Cities a few weeks back to promote the film’s release along with actor Ansel Elgort, who plays the brother of the film’s chief protagonist Tiss (Shailene Woodley, who will play Elgort’s girlfriend in the forthcoming film The Fault in Our Stars … awkward). I had the chance to ask them to both sort themselves, and here’s what they told me.


Eric Henderson: Presuming you would both be Divergents, which categories would you choose for yourselves?

Veronica Roth: That’s great, because everyone always asks which faction, and it’s like, “No, no one should be in an a faction!” Everyone’s got multiple aptitudes. I’d have to think.

Ansel Elgort: I always answer it the same way, “Everyone is Divergent.” No one should have to choose. I feel like every day my answer is different. Yesterday, I said I’d be in Amity. But I sometimes feel like I would want to be in Dauntless. It’s changing.

Henderson: Whichever one can overthrow the system.

Elgort: Basically, yeah. I’m not 16, I’m 19. But obviously I don’t know where I should go for the rest of my life, let alone a 16 year old. That’s why it’s a super flawed system.

Roth: It doesn’t change when you hit 25 either. Aptitudes, if I had to pick them … I don’t know, I feel like you sound like a jerk when you say, “Let me tell you my strengths.” (Laughs) “All of them, but some more than others!” I don’t know. Abnegation and Erudite … Candor.

Elgort: All of them!

Roth: (Laughs) Abnegation or Erudite, really. A little like Triss that way, but not in most other ways.


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