I think of the motto I read in my Faction History textbook: Faction before blood. More than family, our factions are where we belong. Can that possibly be right?
Tris has this thought early in the book while listening to Marcus’s opening speech at the Choosing Ceremony. He has just explained that the factions were created to eliminate particular personality traits that each faction believes are the cause of evil in the world. Amity blames aggression; Candor blames dishonesty; Dauntless, cowardice; Erudite, ignorance; and Abnegation, selfishness. He goes on to say that the faction distinctions allow everyone to fulfill important social roles, slotting them into jobs that align with their faction identities. Finally, he asserts that the factions give everyone’s lives meaning and purpose. “Faction before blood,” the motto from Tris’s textbook, echoes the philosophy that people should be loyal to those who share their beliefs and values, not necessarily to those who raised them. At this early point in the book, Tris’s questioning thought indicates that she is struggling with the idea of leaving her family behind to join Dauntless. Up until now, she’s leaned toward staying in Abnegation purely because she’s devoted to her family. But faction teachings edge her slightly closer to choosing Dauntless, the group she’s always been drawn to on a gut level. Of course, when she asks herself whether she can actually believe the maxim “faction before blood,” she doesn’t yet know that she’ll soon be questioning the logic of the entire faction system.