Not divergent enough


Divergent isn’t perfect. And I am not referring to the film’s dystopian world, wherein society has been split into six “factions”—the smart (erudite), the peaceful (amity), the truthful (candor), the selfless (abnegation), the brave (dauntless) and the outcasts (the factionless).

As Natalie Mitchell writes in the MS Magazine blog: “I am referring to the fact that it does not, as with most mainstream dystopian narratives, go far enough in its critique. Divergent does not include enough representations of those who would be (and are) factionless in the real world (people of color, trans people, disabled people, non-heterosexuals), does not adequately decry violence (especially sexualized and interpersonal violence) and, finally, does not go beyond the same old story that the real “happy ending” is finding a (hot) guy to love.

“However, I still loved the book. And I loved the film. Would it have been great to have a woman of color cast as Tris? Of course. But Shailene Woodley does a phenomenal job as the hero who defies social norms, and Christina, her best friend, (played brilliantly by Zoë Kravitz) is no Rue (hero Katniss’s friend inThe Hunger Games) (As an added bonus, Woodley is sharing laudable divergent views on Twilight as promoting toxic relationship models.)

“Would it have been nice if there were a lesbian or trans or disabled primary character in the film? Indeed. But at least there are non-normative body types (Molly Atwood, played by Amy Newbold), leaders of color (Max, played by Mekhi Phifer) and awesome female tattoo artist-renegades such as Tori Wu (played by Maggie Q). How about an ending where the protagonist doesn’t find “true love” in a male that is older, has more power and commits violent acts against her? Yes, that would have been awesome (but Tobias “Four” Eaton, played by Theo James, is certainly worlds better than the likes of vampire Edward Cullen in Twilight).

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Divergent reading

You may not know about this yet, but Divergent will soon be what everyone is talking about in book and movie circles: As USA Today reports:

“Here’s a look at what’s buzzing in the book world today.

“Off with a bang: Veronica Roth is ringing in the new year with the best-selling book in America.  Divergent tops USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list for the first time (it was No. 2 last week), and the


other books in her dystopian trilogy, Allegiant and Insurgent, are not far behind at No. 5 and No. 7. (The boxed set is No. 43.) It’s the first of what are likely to be many 2014 milestones for the 25-year-old Chicagoan. The highly anticipated movie adaptation of Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, is due out March 21, and adaptations of the sequels are in the works.

“‘Hobbit’ happy: Filmmaker Peter Jackson has meant very good things indeed for J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 book The Hobbit. The fantasy novel moves up to No. 22 fromNo. 40 as Jackson’s latest movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is doing boffo box office over the holidays. But that doesn’t match December 2012, when the book climbed to No. 2 as the first Hobbit movie filled theaters. The novel also did well from 2001 to 2003, the era of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. All told, The Hobbithas spent 183 weeks on the list since 1997. — Jocelyn McClurg

“Movie magic: More movies are having an impact on the list, which isn’t surprising, since the holiday movie season is one of the most important of the year. Also appearing in the top 50: The Book Thiefat No. 4 (up from No. 5); Lone Survivor, No. 16 (up from No. 26); Catching Fire, No. 18 (up from No. 33); and The Wolf of Wall Street, No. 50 (up from No. 95). Beyond the top 50, Twelve Years a Slave is at No. 66, up from No. 78. — McClurg Continue reading “Divergent reading”