Allegiant 3: ‘Choice, Real Choice’

Can we talk ‘Theme’ for a moment? Or maybe we should just start with the cover verbage?

ONE CHOICE — ONE CHOICE Can Transform You, ONE CHOICE Can Destroy You, ONE CHOICE Will Define You

Let’s go out on a limb and say ‘Choice’ is a big part of what Ms Roth is ‘after’ in Allegiant. In the trilogy opener, the Choosing Day choice that Beatrice makes for Dauntless rather than Abnegation is the clear reference for the cover points; it’s the inciting incident for the series, after all.

The question is, what is the CHOICE in Allegiant that transforms, destroys, and defines YOU (I’m guessing not so much us as Tris and Four, but, as it says). Three possibilities:

(1) Tris’ choice to die sacrificially in order to mind wipe David and Company and protect those inside the Chicago experiment from the airplane-delivered memory clearance serum. The passage in which she makes the decision to sacrifice herself is below (though the word ‘choice’ is used in a different context); more on the choice of sacrifice in a later thread.

(2) Tobias’ choice to offer Evelyn a choice at the same time that Tris is choosing to sacrifice herself. See below; lots of choice talk in that passage.

(3) Some Grade A or choice passages for your reflection:

“Genes aren’t everything,” Amar says. “People, even genetically damaged people, make choices. That’s what matters.” p. 127

Just after my mother died, I grabbed hold of my Divergence like it was a hand outstretched to save me. I needed that word to tell me who I was when everything else was coming apart around me. But now I’m wondering if I need it anymore, if we ever really need these words, “Dauntless,” “Erudite,” “Divergent,” “Allegiant,” or if we can just be friends, or lovers or siblings, defined instead by the choices we make and the love and loyalty that binds us. p. 134.

I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day That I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me. p. 372

I sigh. “It’s not a perfect situation. But when you have to choose between two bad options, you pick the one that saves the people you love and believe in most. You just do, okay?”

He reaches for my hand, his hand warm and strong. “Okay.” p. 388

“You are not special,” I say. “I like to hurt people too. I can make the cruelest choice. The difference is, sometimes I don’t, and you always do, and that makes you evil.” p. 451

When I look at him, I don’t see the cowardly young man who sold me out to Jeanine Matthewes, and I don’t hear the excuses he gave afterward.

When I look at him, I see the boy who held my hand in the hospital when our mother broke her wrist and told me it would be all right. I see the brother who told me to make my own choices, the night before the Choosing Ceremony. I think of all the remarkable things he is — smart and enthusiastic and observant, quiet and earnest and kind.

He is a part of me, always will be, and I am a part of him, too. I don’t belong to Abnegation, or Dauntless, or even the Divergent. I don’t belong to the Bureau or the experiment or the fringe. I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me — they, and the love and loyalty I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could.

I love my brother. I love him, and he is quaking with terror at the thought of death. I love him and all I can think, all I can hear in my mind, are the words I said to him a few days ago: I would never deliver you to your own execution.

“Caleb,” I say. “Give me the backpack.” pp. 454-455

“The reason the factions were evil is because there was no way out of them,” I say. “They gave us the illusion of choice without actually giving us a choice. That’s the same thing you’re doing here by abolishing them. You’re saying, go make choices. But make sure they aren’t factions or I’ll grind you to bits.” pp. 463-464

If I erase her memories, I can create for myself a new mother, but.

But she is more than my mother. She is a person in her own right, and she does not belong to me.

I do not get to choose what she becomes just because I can’t deal with who she is.

“No,” I say. “No, I came to give you a choice.”

I feel suddenly terrified, my hands numb, my heart beating fast —

“I thought about going to see Marcus tonight, but I didn’t.” I swallow hard. “I came to see you instead because… because I think there’s a hope of reconciliation between us. Not now, not soon, but someday. And with him there’s no hope, there’s no reconciliation possible.”

She stares at me, her eyes fierce, but welling up with tears.

“It’s not fair for me to give you this choice,” I say. “But I have to. You can lead the factionless, you can fight the Allegiant, but you’llm have to do it without me, forever. Or you can let this crusade go, and… you’ll have your son back.”

It’s a feeble offer and I know it, which is why I’m afraid — afraid that she will refuse to choose, that she will choose power over me, that she will call me a ridiculous child, which is what I am. I am a child. I am two feet tall and asking her how much she loves me.

Evelyn’s eyes, dark as wet earth, search mine for a long time.

Then she reaches across the table and pulls me fiercely into her arms, which form a wire cage around me, surprisingly strong.

“Let them have the city and everything in it,” she says into my hair.

I can’t move, can’t speak. She chose me. She chose me. pp. 464-466

I feel a twinge of guilt. I didn’t come here to ask her to lay down arms for me, to trade in everything she’s worked for just to get me back. But then again, I didn’t come here to give her any choice at all. I guess Tris was right — when you have to choose between two bad options, you pick the one that saves the people you love. I wouldn’t have been saving Evelyn by giving her that serum. I would have been destroying her. p. 478

Mom, Frank, Ingrid, Karl, frank, Jr., Candice, McCall, Beth Roger, Tyler, Trevor, Darby, Rachel, Billie, Fred, Granny, the Johnsons (both Romanian and Missourian), the Krausses, the Paquettes, the Fitches, and the Rydzes — for all your love. (I would never choose my faction before you. Ever.) Acknowledgements p. (528)

What is the choice of Allegiant that is highlighted on the cover as the choice to transform, destroy, and define you? Probably not a plot point per se, if Tobias’ offer of choice and Tris’ sacrificial choice for her weaker brother are the climax points of their stories. I’d say instead that choice to change you is the choice implicit to these events, the decision you make or do not make every day to ground your identity in the people you love rather than in words, groups, ideas/ideologies, or self. A sacrificial choice in principle.


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