'Divergent': An Introduction to the Dystopian World

THR breaks down the setting of the upcoming YA film based on Veronica Roth's hit novel.

Divergent, Summit's upcoming film based on Veronica Roth's popular YA novel, is set in a futuristic Chicago that has some major differences from the world we live in today.

Society has been broken up into five groups, called factions, and teens are tasked with making tough decisions about where they'll spend their future -- and if they'll ever see their families again.

Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, Divergent follows one teen's journey as she selects her faction and tries to survive initiation.

Ahead of the film's release on March 21, The Hollywood Reporter breaks down Roth's dystopian world for those who haven't read the books or would like a refresher before heading to theaters.

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1. Society is broken down into five groups, with each group holding one value above all others:

  • Abnegation for the selfless
  • Amity for the peaceful
  • Candor for the honest
  • Dauntless for the brave
  • Erudite for the knowledgeable

Each group contributes to society in a way that best uses their strength. Dauntless make up the military and protectors of the society, while Erudite produces most of the city's librarians, doctors, scientists and teachers. Amity farms the land, Candor runs the courts, and Abnegation does philanthropic work and runs the government.

Members of each group wear a different color of clothing. Abnegation wears grey, Amity wears yellow and red, Dauntless wears black, Erudite wears blue and Candor wears black and white.

Those who do not survive initiation are kicked out of their faction and become "factionless." They live on the outskirts of the city with the other factionless and struggle to survive.

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2. Each teen is put through a three-step process to determine what faction they will join for the rest of their lives.

  • The first step is the aptitude test. The teen is taken into a room, given a serum to drink and attached to electrodes. The serum causes them to undergo a simulation that puts them into certain dangerous situations. Their decisions in the simulation help to determine what faction they should join.
  • The next day, they go to the Choosing Ceremony. In front of their families, each teen is called by name and walks to the center of the room. He (or she) cuts his hand and drops his blood onto the item representing the faction he'll join. If he chooses a faction that is different than the one he was born into, he'll never see his family again.
  • After choosing his group, the teen is put through initiation in his new faction.

3. Some people don't fit into one group.

When Divergent's leading lady, Beatrice Prior (Woodley), takes the aptitude test, she fits into more than one faction, meaning she's Divergent. She's told she has to keep this a secret because Divergents are deemed dangerous to society. Born into a family of Abnegations, Beatrice chooses to join Dauntless.

Divergent opens in theaters on March 21.