What’s Outside the Outside of Chicago: Allegiant Chapter 23

Posted on April 23, 2015 by

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Allegiant Chapter 23

The chapter opens with Fourbias reading a note from Nita asking him to meet her. I’m really not sure what Nita’s game is (or her purpose in the story – is it to serve as a potential threat to Tris/Fourbias? It is to take the book to new, even more boring heights?)

“I look at Tris’s cot. She’s sprawled on her back, and there is a piece of hair covering her nose and mouth that shifts with each exhale. I don’t want to wake her, but I feel strange, going to meet a girl in the middle of the night without telling her about it. Especially now that we’re trying so hard to be honest with each other.

I check my watch. It’s ten to eleven.

Nita’s just a friend. You can tell Tris tomorrow. It might be urgent.”

surejan

 

With that very convincing thought, Fourbias heads off to meet Nita. Who is his friend that he’s talked to all of two times.

Nita takes Fourbias to see the “Chicago family trees”, which is just an excuse for Fourbias to list minor characters and their family members. I can honestly say that in a book where fucking nothing is happening, this is one of the most useless things that could have been included. Why not also include a detailed blueprint of Tris’ old house in the Abnegation sector? I need details like where Tris’ toilet was in order to experience the full richness of this universe.

Fourbias points out that this is cool and all (it isn’t), but why was this so very urgent? Turns out Nita really wants to talk about the fact that she doesn’t think that just because they’re “damaged” doesn’t mean they should have limits. Given we still have yet to see how Fourbias and Nita are actually any fucking different than Tris (other than the fact that they’re just different people to begin with), this feels a lot like arguing that chocolate ice cream should have chocolate in it. NO SHIT.

“There are a lot of secrets in this place,” she says. “One of them is that, to them, a GD is expendable. Another is that some of us are not just going to sit back and take it.”

“What do you mean, expendable?” I say.

“The crimes they have committed against people like us are serious,” Nita says. “And hidden. I can show you evidence, but that will have to come later. For now, what I can tell you is that we’re working against the Bureau, for good reasons, and we want you with us.”

Nita wants to show Fourbias what it’s like outside the compound, but he can’t tell Tris. But why can’t Tris know about all this, you ask? Let this convoluted and confusing explanation mesmerize you:

“I’m not saying she isn’t trustworthy. It’s just that she doesn’t have the skill set we need, and we don’t want to put anyone at risk that we don’t have to. See, the Bureau doesn’t want us to organize. If we believe we’re not ‘damaged,’ then we’re saying that everything they’re doing—the experiments, the genetic alterations, all of it—is a waste of time. And no one wants to hear that their life’s work is a sham.”

Oh my god, I feel like the book is acknowledging the fact THAT THIS WHOLE SERIES IS A WASTE OF TIME. Maybe? Too hopeful, I think. But seriously, it does seem like these experiments are incredibly pointless.

As they head out to meet Nita’s mystery friends, she tries really hard to emotionally connect/flirt with Fourbias by talking about his fear landscape and time in Dauntless. I really get the sense she’s been watching Fourbias all this time and become obsessed with him. Creepy! I’m sure it’s not actually meant to be, though.

Nita’s friends live on the outskirts of society, and it’s because even though everyone has the same rights “on paper” life is a lot shittier for the genetically damaged folks. I’ll spare you a quote of the very heavy-handed symbolism. Instead, I give you this:

“We’re here to see Rafi,” she says. “We’re from the compound.”

“You can go in, but your knives stay here,” the man says. His voice is higher, lighter than I expected. He could be a gentle man, maybe, if this were a different kind of place. As it is, I see that he isn’t gentle, doesn’t even know what that means.

Even though I myself have discarded any kind of softness as useless, I find myself thinking that something important is lost if this man has been forced to deny his own nature.”

How in fuck’s name has Fourbias determined all of this from not only one sentence BUT HIS VOICE ITSELF? SORCERY!

Plus, you could make this argument for literally anyone. Like I feel like I should have been born a billionaire because I feel like I’m denying my luxurious nature by not living in a mansion. Something important has definitely been lost because I’ve been forced to deny my nature. You could immediately glean this information about me if you just listened to the pitch of my voice for 10 seconds, I assure you.

Four is introduced to Mary and Rafi who are leading one group involved in the uprising.

Fatigue, a weight behind my eyes, creeps up on me suddenly. I have been a part of too many uprisings in my short life. The factionless, and now this GD one, apparently.

I have to sympathise with Fourbias here, it is kind of getting ridiculous. He needs to just be like, “I don’t care anymore, please lead me to the most delicious food you have here on the outside.”

Fourbias thinks that this place outside the compound is actually horrible – he sees a man beaten to death, and one of the guards is like, “That happens like every day here.” – but Nita insists it’s totally better than in a city because they’re sort of freer here.

“The Bureau talks about this golden age of humanity before the genetic manipulations in which everyone was genetically pure and everything was peaceful,” Nita says. “But Rafi showed me old photographs of war.”

I wait a beat. “So?”

“So?” Nita demands, incredulous. “If genetically pure people caused war and total devastation in the past at the same magnitude that genetically damaged people supposedly do now, then what’s the basis for thinking that we need to spend so many resources and so much time working to correct genetic damage? What’s the use of the experiments at all, except to convince the right people that the government is doing something to make all our lives better, even though it’s not?”

Yes, we get it book, people will always find reasons to separate themselves into groups, to marginalize people, to grant one group better treatment and power even when the differences are lies or completely imagined. Do you want a cookie?

Tris and Nita can’t figure out exactly what the point of everything is, why the government wastes so many resources on something completely pointless. So I end this chapter in exactly the same position I started in, giving absolutely no fucks.

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Posted in: Allegiant