Was the end of Allegiant as bad as I originally thought? I’m starting to think no.
Warning: Spoilers. But if you haven’t read this book/series yet, that’s your own fault! When I first read the final book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, I was fucking mad. Not only did she do that thing with that character, but the voice of her main characters didn’t feel organic to me. She made me hate Four. She made me distrust her and vow never to buy or read one of her books again. Basically, she made me feel things and when I look back now, feeling things isn’t so terrible, is it? Let’s start with the internal characterization of Four. I can’t begin to tell you how much I disliked him in Allegiant. I thought he was whiney and feminine (not that there is anything wrong with being feminine, but I had previously found him very masculine and stoic), and he just wasn’t my jam, y’all.
(Although he was hot as hell.)
I’m totally objectifying him right now.
In retrospect, I think Roth softened him for our benefit. Here we had this tough guy willing to fight battles for their freedom, but hey, the guy had feelings, too. Roth’s depiction of him showcased his internal battles with himself and his own insecurities. And boy did he have a lot of them. Four was more than skin-deep and Allegiant showed us that through his own vulnerabilities. Tris’ suicide equally incited anger in me. Here is this girl who was so selfless that she helped wage war against Erudite and ultimately sacrificed herself so her shitty brother could live. (WHAT EVEN IS THAT, ROTH?! WE DON’T LIKE CALEB!) But in hindsight, I think I get it now. Tris’ death illustrates that selflessness and bravery are not independent of each other and to truly be selfless, you must also be brave; and to be brave, you must also be selfless. Abnegation and Dauntless were twin factions wearing different hats. Truly, Tris’ bravery throughout the series is a completely selfless act. She didn’t help stage a revolution because she was Dauntless and she could; she did it because she was selfless and unflinching in her desire to see her world a better place.
“You know what mom told me once? She said that everyone has some evil inside them, and the first step to loving anyone is to recognize the same evil in ourselves, so we’re able to forgive them.”
Even Caleb, traitor to Abnegation and his family, had a story to tell: that even the worst of people deserve to be forgiven and loved by their family. Looking back now, I feel like my review and anger over Allegiant was a little unfair. If I re-read it now, I might find a lot of the same things still irritated me, like Roth’s inability to differentiate narrator point of view. But I am more forgiving of the story now, because I can see the messages she was trying to send through her words and characters. In short, I forgive you, Allegiant and I’m sorry I thought you sucked so bad. Love, Jenn