Brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest...

Discuss the June 2014 book of the month Divergent by Veronica Roth. While only Divergent--the first book of the series--is the book of the month, feel free to use this subforum to discuss the rest of the series or to talk about the movies, but make sure not to post spoilers unless noted in the topic title.
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Scott
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Brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest...

Post by Scott »

The following discussion question was included in some copies of the June book of the month, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Is Four’s desire to be “brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest” (p. 405) realistic in the society in which he lives? Think of examples of people in our own world who successfully bridge different cultures, perspectives, or ways of living.
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by Hola2Cora »

Four's desire to have all four of those character traits are not only realistic in his society, but also in ours. Nobody is born with perfect character traits. Good character is developed through trials and sufferings, just like what was portrayed in Divergent and in the rest of the books in the triology.
Today I think Charlize Theron and her work with her foundation to educate and fight AIDS in South Africa is encompassing of what Four is trying to achieve. Other than someone famous, people display those characteristics when they participate in Doctors without Borders and church mission groups that go to diseased people groups, and impoverished ones that have been discarded by their society, to provide health care, hope and love to them. Those people do it out of compassion for the weak and poor. Those people display brave acts of selflessness. When people find that helping others is worth it, that is when they become smart and kind about giving purpose to their actions. Anyone can achieve those character traits and put them into practice any time, just like Tris and Four learned to do in the triology.
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Post by toriborip »

Its not very practical where they live because they are forced to choose one... But honestly I think everyone should strive to be all of those things

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Post by CrescentMoon »

In the society that Four lives in, people who have more than one of those traits are Divergent. The government is trying to round up all the divergents and kill them, so even though Four is all those things, displaying each of those traits publicly would be very dangerous. In our world, it would be admirable for a person to have all those traits, but in Four's world, it would not be realistic because the government is trying to stamp out all those people.
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Post by gali »

I think that Four's desire to have those qualities is not realistic to the lifestyle of the dauntless faction, but it is an adorable ambition.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by LittleWilma »

Like most people on the planet, Four didn't fit into just one box and in regular society, that is not unrealistic. In his society, it was because they didn't want to mix the factions. When the society broke, those desires served him well.
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Post by Paliden »

It's not very practical because of the whole Faction thing but I think it was a sign of how much they had devoloped that he wanted to be the best of all the factions. And it is what we should all strive for. He captured the heart of the experiment. If everyone would try to be all of those things, think how much better society would be.
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Post by gothgirl »

Four and Tris understands that they fits in most or all the fractions on their journey. Even though Tris had to choose between three different factions in the beginning.

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Post by that_bek_girl »

I don't think that Four's desires were realistic because he couldn't have safely been all of those things in his society... Though I don't see anything wrong with wanting to be all of them. Thinking to an example in our world, how about MLK? He wanted to bridge the gap between cultures, extend and receive kindness with no retaliation of the years of wrong doing. He just wanted to bring the world together as one.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

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Post by GKCfan »

It's a recurring theme in fiction– a character strives to be good in a wicked world. That's why in most books there are just a few heroes rather than lots of them.

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Post by H0LD0Nthere »

I hate to refer to C.S. Lewis all the time, but he has pointed out that to practice any one virtue, you need all the others. "If, being lazy, vain, and cowardly, I am still kind, it is only because someone else's welfare has not yet conflicted with my comfort, self-image, or safety."
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Post by musiclover182013 »

In the society in which Four lives in, that mindset is not exactly wanted. Although, to want to be like that is a good thing in the end. It helps.

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Post by Darling_Reads »

Four's desire to be "brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest" is both admirable and realistic. In the society in which Four lives I do not see it as being common to want to engulf all of those characteristics. Sometimes it is hard to be honest with people and kind at the same time. These are all positive traits that people in our society that are respected possess. People that are wonderful world leaders such as the Dalai Lama are brave, selfless, smart, kind and honest. Most people that possess all of these traits are those that are humble and truly care about others. They look to better society. These are characteristics that all can aspire to have.
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Post by rox_danyel »

In dauntless, Four could not show all of his character traits BC they did not allow it. When the factions were broken in the end, it ended up being a good thing for him. In our society it is great to have all of those traits and people are well respected because of it.

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Post by autumnmarie »

In his particular faction, no. But this kind of ambition is what breaks unfair government barriers and brings in a new era of free thinking.
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