Beatrice arrives home five minutes early and waits for Caleb to return. She thinks about how all the houses in Abnegation are the same to prevent vanity, pride, and envy among faction members. When Caleb arrives with their friends Robert and Susan, Beatrice lies about her early return, saying the test made her sick. Though Caleb doesn’t believe her, she tells him she can’t discuss what happened. After the others leave, the siblings cook dinner together, and Beatrice feels irritated with Caleb’s natural unselfishness.
Their parents arrive home, and as the family sits down to eat, their mother mentions she heard there was a problem with one aptitude test. Meanwhile, their father, a politician, is angry about Erudite’s accusations against his colleague, a fellow Abnegation leader named Marcus. Jeanine, the Erudite representative, has released a report saying Marcus’ son, Tobias, left Abnegation for Dauntless because Marcus was violent and cruel. Beatrice’s father refuses to believe the report. He sees Marcus’s son’s departure as a betrayal, and thinks the Erudite are seeking power for themselves. On their way to bed, Caleb surprises Beatrice by telling her they need to think about themselves when they choose a faction, not just their families. She notices a stack of books on his desk and wishes she could ask him for help with her decision.
Beatrice and her family arrive at the Hub for the Choosing Ceremony. After giving up their space in the elevator to make room for others, they climb twenty flights of stairs to the ceremony room. All the sixteen-year-olds stand in a large circle, inside of which sits a ring of chairs for family members. In the center are five large metal bowls containing substances representing each faction: stones for Abnegation, water for Erudite, earth for Amity, coals for Dauntless, and glass for Candor.
Beatrice knows her father expects both children to stay in Abnegation, and is surprised when her mother says she’ll love her no matter what she chooses. Then Marcus gives a speech explaining the “democratic philosophy” that underpins the factions. The divisions are meant to eradicate evil human impulses, including ignorance, duplicity, and selfishness, and the system has led to years of peaceful civilization. The initiates’ names are called in reverse alphabetical order. When called, each person cuts his or her hand with a knife and sprinkles blood into the bowl representing their chosen faction. Beatrice and the other Abnegation members are shocked when Caleb chooses Erudite, since the two factions have become enemies. Feeling obligated to her family, Beatrice nearly chooses her home faction, but after a few agonizing moments, she picks Dauntless.
Beatrice leaves the Hub with the other Dauntless initiates. On her way out, she sneaks a look at her parents. Her father is upset, but her mother is smiling. In contrast to her quiet ascent with the Abnegation faction, she and her fellow initiates run loudly down the stairs. She enjoys the feeling of freedom and is exhilarated as she jumps onto a train for the first time. After another initiate helps pull her in, she sees a boy who didn’t make it onto the train recede into the distance. The girl who helped Beatrice into the train introduces herself as Christina, a Candor transfer.
When the train arrives at Dauntless headquarters, the initiates jump onto its roof. Beatrice, Christina, and several others make it safely, but one girl falls to her death. A Dauntless leader named Max tells them to jump into the compound entrance at the center of the building, a giant hole seven stories deep. Irked by the taunts of a Candor boy named Peter, Beatrice decides to jump first. She takes off her outer shirt, revealing skin for the first time, and throws it at Peter. She jumps, and after a long fall, lands heavily in a net. A young man with dark blue eyes helps her onto a platform. He and another Dauntless girl, Lauren, are impressed that the first jumper is from Abnegation. Feeling like her name doesn’t fit her new faction, she tells them her name is Tris. She learns that the boy’s name is Four, and he welcomes her to Dauntless.