Rape Culture in the Divergent Movie: Here’s Why It Matters Part 2

rape culture in the divergent heres why it matters part 2 300x154 Rape Culture in the Divergent Movie: Here’s Why It Matters Part 2This post is the 2nd in a 3 part series, called Rape Culture in the Divergent Movie: Here’s Why It Matters. Click here if you missed Part 1.

Warning spoilers and potentially triggering discussion of rape and sexual assault.

If the movie ended with their first kissing scene or others like it, which depict a healthy relationship between Tris and Four, then I’d be happy. However, this desirable situation doesn’t happen. Instead, Beth Lalonde singles out one of Tris’ fears as it’s depicted in the Divergent movie during her final initiation test, a fear that is unique to her: “Tris has one especially unique fear, and it’s an important one: fear of sexual assault.” At the moment when Lalonde unveiled Tris’ unique fear, I knew she was basing her entire argument on the movie version of events and that, most likely, she hadn’t read Veronica Roth’s novel first. If she had read the books, she would know that the novel-version of Tris is afraid of intimacy, or sex, with Four, not being sexually assaulted, which is – admittedly – a huge difference. Leaving aside the fact that the novel doesn’t depict an attempted rape scene during Tris’ fear landscape for now, it’s worth noting how Tris resists the sexual assault scene as her “sentences turn to screams, to shouted no, no, no’s, and her fists began to fly” after Four touches and pins her to the mattress in a way that isn’t consensual and then, not only is she described as “aggressive” and “fierce,” but also she finally “forces him off with one final, decisive kick[.]” It’s great that Tris is able to use her intellect and combat training to end the sexual violence, but the way its received by her community is even more important to Lalonde because it has never been treated in the same way in film before:

Then the dream ends, and she wakes to a crowd of exam proctors applauding her. Cheering her on. Patting her on the back. Telling her how brave and smart and strong she is. Telling her that she did exactly the right thing. That she’s a model for the other trainees.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Have you ever seen a teenage girl fight off a rapist on camera, let alone be congratulated for it?

Some film viewers, like Lalonde, will no doubt applaud the decision by Neil BurgerDivergent’s director – to show Tris overcome her fear of being raped, and if that were the whole story, then it would be impossible to disagree with her because sexual assault is something that teens experience. In fact, researchers from the CAMH’s Centre for Prevention Science found that “10% of males and 27% of females” in the 11th grade admitted to “being pressured into doing something sexual that they did not want to.” However, what Lalonde doesn’t understand, presumably because she hasn’t read Roth’s novels, and what fans of the books are intimately aware of is that Tris’ fear wasn’t originally of sexual assault, but rather of any type of sexual intimacy.

By changing the heroine’s fear about sex in the movie, has Burger and the film team rewritten the Divergent book, Tris’ character, and Tris’ relationship with Four in a positive or negative way? To answer this question, first we need to ask ourselves why the filmmakers made the change in the first place. Perhaps they assumed that more teens are having sexual intercourse at earlier ages, and thus, it would be unlikely that they were afraid of sexual intimacy. However, the percentages of Canadian youth in the 15 to 17 and 18 to 19 year-old age range who reported ever having sexual intercourse remained fairly stable, and actually decreased slightly, from 1996/1997 to 2009/2010, and thus, negates this argument. Perhaps, then, it’s more likely that the filmmakers were hoping to reach a wider audience than that of teens alone, including those who may have forgotten what it’s like to be slightly or very afraid of sexual intimacy, but still understand what it’s like to be afraid of being sexually assaulted. If that’s so, then we certainly can’t fault them for the desire to turn a profit from the Divergent movie franchise, even if it’s only because we’re interested in seeing the rest of the trilogy on the big screen.

If the filmmakers changed Tris’ fear to grab and maintain the interest of a wider audience, then it’s worth considering that this scene may still reflect the status quo, even though Tris stops the assault with a well-placed kick in her fear simulation. What about the fact that Tris was “congratulated” for fighting off the unwanted advances of a fear-simulated Four? Doesn’t that negate rape culture as Lalonde argues? Possibly. It would certainly helps for all the reasons that Lalonde outlines. However, she isn’t taking the whole story into account because Tris is applauded for her efforts while she is still under simulation, not after “the dream ends” as Lalonde’s article suggests. Yes, it seems that she has woken up from the simulation because Four and Jeanine come over and congratulate her, but it is really part of the simulation of her greatest fear. In this last fear, Tris is forced by Jeanine to execute her parents and her brother Caleb to prove her loyalty to her chosen faction over loyalty to her blood relatives, or “faction over blood” as the initiates are consistently reminded, and we can tell it is a simulation for two reasons:

  1. Because Caleb is wearing the clothes of the Abnegation, even though both Tris and the movie’s audience knows that he switched to Erudite during the choosing ceremony.
  2. Because Tris’ parents and Caleb are shown to be alive later in both the book and the movie, despite the fact that Tris fires the gun at one of them before her final simulation test really ends.

Since Tris is applauded for stopping the attempted rape while still under simulation, it is really just her subconscious congratulating her, not the community as Lalonde suggests. Thus, the Divergent movie doesn’t revolutionize anything when it shows Tris fighting off her attacker, unless the fact that she is able to defeat the simulated-version of Four is enough to be defined as “revolutionary.” Moreover, whereas the novel emphasizes that Four is always someone Tris can trust, even when she’s a little nervous or afraid about taking their relationship further than kissing, the movie-version of this simulation also suggests that Four may be someone who she can’t trust, who could always commit an act of sexual violence against her, even though he has already respected her wishes once when she told him, “I don’t want to go too fast,” and has never suggested that he would really behave otherwise in their real interactions.

Continue to Part 3 of the Rape Culture In The Divergent Movie blog series now.

  25 comments for “Rape Culture in the Divergent Movie: Here’s Why It Matters Part 2

  1. March 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    My reading is different from both of yours, including your reading of Burger’s. Burger is more nuanced and subtle than you are giving credit for. When Four takes the simulation shot to team with Tris she says, “Aren’t you afraid to let me see your mind?” (Because she is you and I know.) And Four says, “No, not at all.” So Four is not afraid of intimacy and by her question Tris is projecting her fear onto the possibility of Four also fearing intimacy which he says he doesn’t. Tris then gets to examine her own fear for a second here as maybe not a useful one in a relationship? The rape scene by the hooded boys is really not a rape scene, it is a scene of massive aggression to hurt her psychologically and physically and eliminate her from the trainees, banish her to factionless, punish her for being “Other.” LaLonde’s reading is determined by her own, her mother’s and her friend’s experiences and this is very valid. It is her reading. This is what resonates for her. Yours is a different reading and equally as valid. Mine is a different reading still that I haven’t published yet.

    To label “force versus consent” RAPE CULTURE is a label that obscures the issue, turns women against men, women against women, and men against men. This is its function. “Rape culture” cannot be isolated from the Foucauldian Grid of power/knowledge,capital,normality,sexuality and until one begins to understand Foucault, one cannot bring one’s full attention and focus and strength of mind to this made up problem many “feminists” are dealing with. The fact that anything online with rape in the title gets oodles of hits. It makes money in other words or welcome and flattering attention.

    I appreciate your reading of intimacy fears, which becomes revealed as soon as the dichotomy of consent versus force is opened up to see what is concealed in that opposition. As long as oppositions are constantly framing issues (Snowden hero or traitor?)the real possibilities of understanding lie hidden and the dirty little secrets remain concealed. This is what Foucault means by the Dominating Discourse which is detailed in his The Order of Things. If you noticed Tris is consistently inverting an assertion, action, feeling, etc a trope from continental philosophy. Tris is wriggling out from the “frame” each faction constantly tries to imprison her in. Her reviewers and critical theorists constantly are doing their best to put her and the movie back into it. Divergent is about being Divergent. To compare it with Hunger Games misses the point. All the mainstream reviews I have read miss this point. Consent and Force is doing the same mental trick.

  2. March 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Abbey. I’m not sure I understand why it’s relevant to the discussion to speak to the conversation Tris and Four have before going into his fear landscape. I suppose you’re referring to the intimacy of the mind, but when I spoke of a fear of intimacy, I meant physical intimacy, and I don’t see how you can deny that Tris isn’t afraid of that had you read the novel. I’m really curious what you have to say about that aspect because from what I can see it’s a non sequitur, or at least, I’m not seeing the connection. You’re right that the rape scene by the hooded boys isn’t a rape scene or an example of sexual assault in the movie, but it certainly is one in the book. Peter grabs her breast and sexually harasses her repeatedly. Is this part just a means of trying to intimidate her – yes, of course. It’s a total power play, but so is rape. It has more to do with power than desire.

    I like your metaphor for divergence, and how Tris is wiggling out of the “frame” of the factions. I’m curious why you say “each faction” though since really, she was only being boxed in by Abnegation and Dauntless, no? Also, if your metaphor is accurate, then wouldn’t any critical frame of reference be another prison that she would wriggle out? Wouldn’t your critical theory also be a prison?

    On a side note, you keep referring to the movie. Have you read the book?

  3. John Gregor
    March 29, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Read some Michel Foucalt, you will enjoy his work. Fun and practical.

  4. March 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I have read some, not a lot mind you, but some Foucault. It was required at the undergraduate school I went to for my B.A. in English Lit, as were a lot of other critical theorists.

    Mainly, at this point, I just wish the person who made the original comment would respond to my reply, especially the part where she asserts that Tris wriggles out of the critical/theoretical prisons that people have put her in because she’s divergent, and fails to realize that using Foucault is also another critical theory. If she can wriggle out of one, surely she can’t be categorized by his tropes either, no matter how much a Foucault or one of his philosophical followers would want her to.

  5. April 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Obviously when your professor taught you Foucault s/he did not emphasize that Foucault did not theorize. His work is NOT a theory. As he says, “it is a toolbox for thinking.” And the way of thinking is to squirm out of ALL theory by thinking genealogically. (Nietzsche’s influence on Foucault.)So reading Divergent through Foucault is an opening up rather than a prison.

    My problem with Foucault and the rest of the continental Philosophy thinking being taught in undergraduate is so that you can sound bite it when necessary or socially advantageous. It is not the same as learning how to think like Foucault, NOT AT ALL.

    On rereading my comment – thanks for forcing me to do that – I bit the fishing fly and got hooked. I mean force and consent being the oppositional choices presented by PC feminist ideology or should I say theology. FORCE belongs to the Symbolic Order: reversible: seduction, lust, violence, love, passion, risk, danger, life, death, Event driven world to mention some and CONSENT belongs to the Order of Production: irreversibility: survival, progressive, linearity as world ordering, marriage, pornography, provocation,legal law. This is feminist ideology framed in the Dominating Discourse of classical Hegelian dialectical thesis-antithesis-synthesis- thesis and when you fold those opposites together the concealed appears. The difference in Orders comes from Baudrillard and ideological destruction from thinking like Zizek. IF you are really interested in this then I recommend you check out GCAS – Global Center for Advanced Studies on facebook. Open enrollment, low fees AND the chance to study intimately online and residential with the greatest thinkers of our present time: Badiou; Zizek; Crockett; et al.

    Yesterday I sat at Barnes and Noble and previewed all of them. Divergent; Insurgent; Alligience (?) and was appalled at Roth’s writing. She simply swiped from Meyer all over the place and from Hunger Games. Her style is what I call “The Production of Stephanie Meyer’s Style” without any of Meyer’s charm and musicality and aphoristic writing. I am not saying Meyer is a great writer either but I have detailed that long ago elsewhere in my twilightirruption blog, so if you are interested…http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/?zx=e9ce7258530a07e1

    In the books Tris vacillates back and forth with Four on love but not as emotionally pure as Katniss ponders this with Peeta and Gale so she plays on this in HG

    I liked your perception of the “rape” simulation being itself a part of the simulation. The observation here that LeBlond missed is what Baudrillard regards as our greatest danger: Simulated Reality – when total then it becomes Virtual Reality.Then all truth vanishes, becomes speculation, credible but not true. This is what her mother Natalie warns her about when she says, “You can’t trust anyone.”

  6. April 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Sorry I am at the library and got shut out on comparing the book and the movie. I really intended just to see the movies but went through the books last evening and found them truly awful for what I have already said. She has the additional observation of Erudite through her brother. In the very beginning Caleb automatically helps a woman with packages and Beatrice says he’s a natural – meaning Abnegation – but she doesn’t fit in. She goes to see him at Erudite for help and now he has washed out all of his “natural” Abnegation responses and is now brainwashed by Erudite. Caleb takes on the camouflage of his environment and this gives Tris an additional faction to have observed. Why I included the conversation between Four and Tris is that seeing into someone else’s mind, knowing them, is intimacy. You say you just meant physical intimacy. And how do you propose to separate the physical and the psychological – the emotional – in sex, rushed or slow, ready or not here I come! To make a pun!

    In Four’s simulated fearscapes he has to shoot an innocent under orders who morphs into Tris, but so ambiguously I am not really sure, but really close anyway. He tells her he looks away closing his eyes. This is why when he really is going to shoot her maybe, she yells, “Look at me, look at me!” She is forcing him out of his personal simulation into the reality of shooting her and says, “It’s OK, I love you.” (After that she forces him to open his eyes and he comes out of his simulation. He’s Divergent you know. because the first shot didn’t get him.)

    I felt the screenplay was far superior to the book. The story was tighter and all that fluffy garbage was gone. We get Caleb’s character in just those two quick instances and we see him. Four destroys the transference Tris has layered on him by revealing his human personal failings and she sees him as a person not her teacher, master, ruler,etc.

    It can be inferred that her father and mother deliberately chose Abnegation instead of Dauntless (mother) and Erudite (father) and in doing this they deliberately chose selflessness as a higher Order of being.

    Jeanine is absolutely correct in knowing that subversion will come from Abnegation. This is Gandhi here BTW. Satyagraha in action. Only passive resistance is only effective if there is compassion, guilt, conflict etc among those ordered to put down the rebellion violently if required. (At the end of Gandhi’s life on his last fast for Pakistan, mobs were screaming , “Let him die! Let him starve himself to death!”) Jeanine is visionary and wishes to continue totalitarian control. she knows the Dauntless must be drugged mindless to function as an army with the exception of the sociopaths among them whom she puts in charge. (We see this today don’t we.)

    Tris and Four reading through Zizek reading through Lacan have “over-identified” with the ideology of Dauntless. This is how Zizekian. It is also Baudrillard’s way reading through Nietzsche of excess as the way of tearing it all down.

    Miley Cyrus was doing this with “Wrecking Ball” Ayn Rand did it with capitalism. in other words you put the teeth back into the ideology and the hypocrisy is laid bare. Tris does this immediately. First? Me. Her name is Prior meaning before, – before all others? A Lacanian reading perhaps – and she experiences elation in the jump and Four says “You were pushed?” And she says, “No.” Four also over-identifies with the ideology of Dauntless and this unites them.

    This is just so clear in the movie and so littered in the books because it is obvious this is all unconscious with Roth’s thinking, judging by the simple-minded way she writes; nevertheless, she has written something great, that when read through Twilight and Hunger Games reveals how marvelous all three of them are. all the reviewers are comparing and contrasting Divergent to Hunger Games, BUT if you read Divergent through Hunger Games and Hunger Games through Divergent, both trilogies are enhanced and made much richer.

    Rape has undergone changes of meaning drastically. We have classical rape – Yeats Leda and the Swan (which PC feminists castigate on blogs sometimes) meaning “forcing a woman to feel pleasure and hopefully conceive” and a way of controlling and dominating women and hurting them. This is because they FEAR them that they do this. Blyth in his treatise on zen details this relation of fear/hate. It is a relation in the Foucauldian Grid and Four tells this to Tris after the attack. and I was mistaken. The attack in the movie is to KILL HER! Throw her into the chasm. Murder her.

    In the pit the first morning Eric pairs her with the Last Jumper. Astute choice. The one most fearful of jumping from the heights is the one who will overcompensate (Jung now) by being fiercest with her fists and her physical courage. Tris from Abnegation will be punished for jumping first. A girl! And Eric hates girls/women he cannot seduce and control. Watch the scene when Christina gets beaten to a pulp by the same one and he takes a break, Tris watches his hand go around Christina’s waist and then he pushes her over the bridge and tortures her. He now has Tris’s friend under his control. He is isolating Tris also in doing this. does he know? IDK. But that’s what he is doing.

    Can’t wait to read what you have to say about all this. This seems like a good place to discuss this.

  7. April 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I wouldn’t say that my understanding of Foucault (or the lack that I have of it) relates to how well my professor emphasized one thing or another in his work. It was a class that delved into a wide variety of critical theory, and most of the work that I, personally, did for the class was in another area. I wouldn’t ever say that I know how to think like Foucault did.

    I haven’t read Twilight, so I can’t comment on how Veronica Roth may or may not have swiped from her throughout the series. (The third book is Allegiant, not Allegience by the way.) As for how Tris vacillates back and forth with Four on love vs. the way that Katniss does, it’s hard for me to compare as one being more “emotionally pure.” (Possibly because I’ve read the Divergent trilogy much more recently than HG, but it’s more than that as well.) I loved the way this aspect played out in HG. However, my sense while reading the Divergent trilogy was that Tris is just a very different type of character than Katniss. Tris thinks in more logical, rational ways, even when emotions are involved, which I thought was meant to be a representation of her Erudite tendencies. By contrast, Katniss’ decisions are always based on emotion and her PTSD; she ultimately chooses Peeta because Gale killed Prim. Since their characters are so different, I have a hard time faulting one for not deciding on her love live from a place of emotional purity. It’s not a fair comparison in my opinion.

    In any case, my favorite Dystopian YA series is neither HG nor Divergent (though I love them both), but Patrick Ness’ The Chaos Walking series. In case you haven’t read that series, it includes: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men.

  8. April 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Ugh…was responding to you and everything I wrote got deleted somehow. Frustrating.

    You’re right that there is a minor amount of Erudite observation through how Caleb has changed, but I think it seems like a bigger deal in the movie because so much less time is spent on Dauntless training that this scene has, comparatively, more screen time in the movie than it had in the book. I do like your analogy that Caleb takes on the camouflage of his environment because he does seem to have a chameleon-like personality. However, I’d also argue that part of his Abnegation selflessness would really be a reflection of how Erudite he is. The more we learn about Caleb, the more we realize that he’s anything but selfless, but while in Abnegation, he used his intellect to give the outward appearance of fitting into his faction. Also, he appears to fit in so well because Tris sees him that way in the first book, but she wasn’t seeing everything about him.

    Yes, it’s true that Tris and Four’s conversation shows emotional intimacy and Tris’ fear of it, too. However, you have to keep in mind that she isn’t afraid of knowing Four. She’s afraid of sharing her mind and the intimacy therein with anyone else. It’s part of the reason that she’s always withholding information from / lying to Four in Insurgent.

    In Four’s simulated fearscape, he does shoot the innocent who turns into Tris in the movie. In the book, his fearscape changes to reflect Tris being in it, but not while they’re both exploring it together. In the book, he goes into his fearscape again later and this is when he notices a change in his fearscape for the first time since he was an initiate and it’s caused by their increasing physical and emotional relationship and shared intimacy. For this reason, I think that some of your observations about the final scene are wrong. Yes, she tells him “Look at me, look at me!” because he told her he can only shoot an innocent person if he looks away. However, if you meant that she says “Look at me” because he’d closed his eyes. (Yes, I know he’s Divergent, too, since I’ve read all three books, and this is stated in the first book finally. Also, it’s obvious in the movie because he’s not under simulation with the rest of the Dauntless army.

    As for the screenplay, it may have been tighter, but I felt like it went, too quickly, from one major scene to another, such as when Tris is asked if she wants to come to the Dauntless-born initiation right after the capture the flag game. Also, the movie isn’t the only point at which Tris goes into Four’s fearscape, this happens in the book, too, so I’m not sure how that means the screenplay is superior.

    Tris’ mom explicitly states that she went to Abnegation because she thought that Dauntless would be too hard and Natalie and Tris’ grandmother both knew that she was Divergent as well. Not sure why Tris’ father defected from Erudite, maybe it’s explained but I’ve forgotten, but it could be for the reason that you’ve stated, that they hold selflessness to a higher order.

    Jeanine does want totalitarian control, but she doesn’t have it at the beginning of the novel. The Abnegation are the ruling government because they’re ability to hold selflessness as the ideal is great because it suggests that they would never put themselves before the good of the whole community. Jeanine is attempting to remove the Abnegation from power and take their place. (I agree it’s very Gandhi, but I don’t think that Jeanine knows for certain that the Divergent come from that faction. If anything, she would have made an educated guess about it with the help of the data collected on the results from each faction on choosing day and whether they end dead or not.

    I haven’t read / compared Divergent with HG. I love them both, but my absolute favorite Dystopian YA series is Patrick Ness’ The Chaos Walking series, or The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men.

  9. April 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I think the reason Tris doesn’t answer Caleb is simple. She’s been told that she can’t address any, rather than play in the snow. She wouldn’t be able to trust her if ht weren’t done

  10. April 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Yes she does realize that Erudite controls his mind now just as Abnegation used to control it. He was a “natural” remember in the first scene about. It doesn’t matter what her reason is her tendency is to invert almost every question asked of her. It is her particular linguistic trope.

    Four: Why are you lying to me?
    Tris: Why would I lie to you?

    Four: I know exactly who you are?
    Tris: Sure about that?

    I would not have picked up on it if I hadn’t read back by precession to see how many times she did it. It is a linguistic trope of hers that takes her out of the Dominating Discourse frame. Foucault names it dominating because its intention is to dominate. This is Tabloid Discourse that has gone mainstream. Opposites are opposed to each other to trap us and pull us into the Dominating Discourse so we can be dominated in our words, our thinking, our feelings, our writing, our actions.

    Yes she feels that “faction before blood” has been internalized by Caleb so there is no point in arguing further. It is an aphorism revealing and concealing many levels of meaning. Let’s not go there now.

  11. April 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Yes Erudite does play a strong role in Tris’s thinking. But her over-identification with Dauntless overrides just about everything. Last night in thinking more about this:

    Tris – and four – over-identify with the ideology of Dauntless.

    Ordinary acts of bravery etc AND “never give up.”

    In contrast with the ideology is the practice of training. It is to PRODUCE obedient warriors. The training is in the Order of Production which contradicts the ideology of Dauntless. The ideology lies in the Symbolic Order of Seduction. When the hypocrisy is exposed – as in Tris speaking out in the knife throwing scene – Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance is revealed in the minds of the rest who say nothing. This is why she is cheered when she returns to her friends. Eric does not miss this discrepancy. He is planning to support Erudite’s takeover and as he says he wants no rebels, just obedience. All of this is in Foucault’s Discipline and Punish which I see is in pdf for download. It is a horrifying genealogy of this topic. Do read it as you really cannot understand what is going on now politically unless you are familiar with it. It is a dangerous book.

    I am really more interested in film than YA fiction. Some of the fanfic is better written and more perceptive. I would like to see what they do with Divergent. Tris is also what is known in therapy as a “negatively suggestible” person. She tends to want the opposite, to defy, to expose hypocrisy in Dauntless. When she was in Abnegation she swallowed her words all the time and often her brother spoke for her. The film dialogue is clear about this which is why I like it so much. And when she did express the negative it came out sullenly as when she says to Jeanine at their introduction: “but that’s not what you really want, is it?” (another Q) which is hostile and not appropriate to the social occasion. Also it is not going to do anything to change anything.

  12. April 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Lalonde is missing DESIRE! Reading through Lacan Desire/Lack is a relation. Without lack there is no desire; they are inseparable. When Tris doesn’t want to go too fast, she is saying “I want to linger in ‘desire’ for awhile.” She has been surprised by his kiss, and she responds hard, a sign indicating to him that she wants more but the “floating sign” has masked its denial that she wants to wait. consistent with her linguistic tropes.

    Chastity is the great aphrodisiac. Waiting. Longing. Lack/Desire.

    As Winslet’s character says in Labor Day as she is having a sex talk with her early pubescent son who says he knows all that from school: “But they don’t tell you about the longing, the desire, how it feels!” Tris in the film just wants to feel it to the max. I realize Roth messes it all up in the skimming I did with the books, but the screenplay doesn’t. Yet.

  13. April 3, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Yes, it is Tris’ linguistic trop, and I see how it relates to Foucault’s dominating discourse in the way you’ve described it. And I would even say that she is stating through these inversions that Four is wrong, that he can’t know her, that she’ll always be shifting/changing in ways that he can’t foresee. At the same time, it relates to her fear of intimacy because not only is pulled /pulling herself out of that discourse, but also she is withholding information intentionally. If she doesn’t tell Four something or if she purposefully lies or omits something, then she can limit their intimate relationship both the emotional and physical aspects of it.

    I like the way you described Caleb having internalized the “faction before blood” concept.

  14. April 3, 2014 at 4:59 am

    One thing to note about the “ordinary acts of bravery” bit. Yes, this is a Dauntless tenant. Or at least it was. The movie conflates the present Dauntless leaders’ practices with those of the past, but in the book, the concept of “ordinary acts of bravery” is something that Four tells Tris about, it’s the ideal that Dauntless used to strive toward, whereas now they’re just brutal in every way. The movie makes it seem like both Tris and Four have over identified with Dauntless through that concept, but in reality, it’s a rebellion to the current leadership to think that way. In fact, I would argue that Tris’ decision for stand in for Al during the knife throwing scene and in the movie, when she attempts to stand up to Peter before the aptitude test when he’s accusing the Abnegation of stealing food for themselves are themselves examples of ordinary acts of bravery (though Caleb tells her, “Don’t Beatrice”), but are more indicative of her Abnegation tendencies than her Dauntless ones. In the book, the knife scene suggests this even more because Four taunts her in order…in his mind…to remind her that if she backs down, if she fails, then Al will be forced to stand in her place again.

    It’s also funny that you bring up Eric because in the book, Tris realizes at one point that he’s not as sadistic as he often appears. She realizes that he’s actually an Erudite personality type, but who is always presenting a calculated, logical act of brutal Dauntless behaviour. So I think this is a connecting point, which supports both of our understandings that Eric supports the Erudite take over, who wants no rebels, even if…in a way, he’s rebelling from the initial Dauntless tenants.

    Agreed – the hostility she shows is poorly chosen, and can’t affect change. Although she doesn’t have an aptitude for Candor, these type of statements almost suggest a Candor, say whatever is on your mind type of attitude. Once she’s in Dauntless, she has to become smarter faster.

  15. April 3, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Yes, Lacan’s Desire/Lack is the aspect of my critical theory class that I spent the most time focusing on personally, and I agree that it’s something that Lalonde is missing from her argument, about how desire/lack relates à la Lacan.

    I haven’t read or scene the movie Labor Day yet, but I have the book on my TBR. Want to read it before seeing the movie. One question though, is that an awkward thing for Winslet’s character to say to her son? Out of context it seems awkward to me, but having seen the movie, you’d have a better understanding of how it played out.

  16. April 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    It’s a wonderful movie. Not awkward at all. She has a relationship with her son that is adult/adult which you find in Transactional Analysis. Not parent/child.

    Read to p 155 last night in Divergent more carefully. Very descriptive and not all full of bad dialogue but really still too much. The screenplay is much better in its understanding of character and something that takes 2 pages in the book is done with a look in the movie. Some reviewer thought there was no explanation why Four paid her so much attention so fast. Well the first shot in which he sees her she has landed in the net. Like Venus from the sea or a mermaid. She is thrilled and exhilarated lying there before he grabs her and takes her out. He is very open to her in this first scene and we have seen the moment he falls in love whether he knows it or not.

    Another thing I really like about him is that he is an authority figure, he projects authority, but he is not authoritarian at all. A subtle but very important difference. Listen get yourself to GCAS to do courses on this stuff there. To learn to think like Foucault is like having your mind turn into a racing car engine.

  17. April 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    You are falling into the trap of interpretation which Foucault has put to bed with the dinosaurs. Interpretation can go back and forth like a game of ping-pong forever and ever. It is Hegelian Discourse, the Dominating Discourse at the present time that is crumbling fast. (Watch David Cody on Glen Beck – 15 min – on his free software download printout of a part of a gun that anyone can make.Congress was supposed to address gun laws in their last session and the only one they prohibited was THAT! Talk about hypocrisy.

    Thinking last night Tris speaking up at the knife throwing is an example of parrhesia (Snowden also) fearless speech that Foucault was working on in CA at the time of his death.Her speech there to Eric meets all the requirements of parrhesia. So does her act of taking Al’s place. From what you just wrote the movie did it better.

    The problem with Hunger Games is that the “revolution” simply reinstated the same system. (Shades of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.) When Katniss shoots her she gets rid of future games but basically nothing much changes.

    In Divergent you have the act of an EVENT that destroys the system. I am guessing Roth did not know what to do after that and didn’t know that she had followed Nietzsche / Baudrillard.

    “Don’t get me wrong. There is beauty in your resistance but we cannot afford that beauty.” This would be Foucault. Wherever there is power, there is resistance. But Nietzsche and Baudrillard are not after fixing in the Order of Production, that which cannot be fixed because it is irreversible. Slowed but not stopped, ended.

    Read this through Snowden and so much more is revealed.

    Candor in the movie and the book is NOT truth telling. The dialogue is simply hostility cloaked in “truthtelling.”

    Christina: Four, like the number.
    Four: Yes just like the number
    C: Were one,two and three already used. (paraphrasing here.)
    4: And then we get 4 responding to the intent of the question and not the content. The intent being to be provocative, attention getting, I’m really smart and clever so notice me, etc. That was not candor either from C. So Roth is confused here as well as almost everywhere else.

  18. April 3, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks for the info re: Labor Day. I look forward to checking it out, but as I said before, I want to read the book first.

    I understand your point, but that is the difference – always – with visual media vs. printed media. There’s a reason that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a cliché: it’s because in a lot of ways, it’s true. I would say the same can be said for sounds, such as the kind that are used heavily in the horror film genre. Sometimes a sound will give the viewer a visceral reaction that without it would be lost, and by blending the two in a movie through the visual display and the soundtrack, it’s a one-two punch. I think also it’s important to not that the book focuses on Tris’ perspective vs. the movie is more neutral and gives viewers a better understanding into what Four would be thinking in a given moment.

    Yes, this is very true. In fact, he’s rejected being a member of the leadership of Dauntless several times, where he would know being authoritarian would be required.

  19. April 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Yes, that is an issue in The Hunger Games, and it’s part of the reason that I think the ending of Mockingjay is hard to agree about. I liked it, but many people didn’t. That said, I’d rather have a book where it’s not perfect, difficult, and maybe even goes to the same thing under different leadership than one that gives an HEA out of no where.

    Agreed about Candor not being truth telling, but just a type of hostility. Get ready for some events in Insurgent that relate to Candor. I don’t know how they’ll be able to portray the nuance that I think Roth achieves in the book with Four and Tris in a few key scenes in a movie format, but I look forward to seeing how they do it.

  20. April 4, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I am thinking by making Tris 16 and flat chested and four 18 that she has imposed a kind of self-censorship on the legalities of age here and now. That way she can try to keep the burn growing but it is artificial. She also puts God in the first sentence of her list of thank you’s which sends a signal on that. The movie has pared Four down to his essence and left much to intuition of the viewer. Too much explanation so far in the book Divergent which I am reading at Barnes and Noble. Roth’s style is fanfic and she is committing the same sin. After the burn in fanfic and after sexual consummation the rest just is mediocre fluff as they don’t have anything more to say. Same with Meyer as they go downhill after Twilight and so do the movies. It is the problem with Courtly Love based on passion and chastity. My take on Catching Fire was that it began to be just another action CGI flick. Everyone was great but there was no mystery, no tension as you knew what was going to happen.

    As to the ending in Hunger Games it was simply not a sentimental ending. Yaaay for Collins in avoiding that cliche. Gale is a playa and Peeta is clearly an artist who does not promote himself and Katniss is damaged but still real.

  21. April 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Ha! Yes, she’s definitely religious, and I think that did play a role in why Tris wanted to take things slowly. At the same time, I think that there are teens that age, who do legitimately want to take it slow, whether because they are religious or they just aren’t ready for sex. Whether it’s the movie or the book, they have to appeal to the 13+ audience guidelines, and the only YA film adaptation that I’ve seen where the kids have sex was rated-R. Somehow it seems that books can show that content at a younger age, but the movie version is always more censored.

    I liked that Katniss was still damaged. The PTSD she experiences is much more real to me than characters in other action movies that doesn’t seem to be affected at all by these type of circumstances. To me, that’s just not realistic. Similarly, in the attempted rape scene in Divergent, it seems odd to me that when she really sees Four next, there isn’t an uncomfortable moment whatsoever. How could she be unaffected by that fear?

  22. April 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    In the simulated rape scene with Four, he comes at her like a “thing” a commodity, not a loved person. This is not their relationship at all. Yes kick his balls of course. If in real life he would morph into that kind of person she wouldn’t want him. The essence of his character which the screenplay brings out – not the book – is that he projects authority but is not authoritarian. We don’t get to see this often. We are watching the “performance” of the masculine of the future in Four. What men can be like for us. It is only the screenplay that clarifies this. Have you read any of Tupitsyn’s blog on movies. She is great. It’s called Love Dog. Now it’s a book but it keeps evolving. She is wonderful on love.

  23. April 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    If you don’t take things slowly you miss the “burn.” But I think Roth gets everything from fanfic. She is not as well read as Meyer nor as savvy as Collins. Collins gave her readers a real ending, without illusion. And not a HE either even tho she and Peeta are together. Roth bails out for the end as she can’t pull it off any other way. She will never write another book that sells. Even Rowling can’t pull it off and she is well read and creative but she can’t write a good sentence to save her life.

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