MBTI: Divergent and Special Snowflake Syndrome


I get a lot of people asking me to type characters from Divergent or the different groups in the series. Maybe I would have more readers if I obliged but some stuff I just can’t do. I can direct you to some sites that would but even then I can’t guarantee that those are right.

But I wouldn’t do the Divergent series justice because I hate it. Let me be clear as I always have to be in real life that I don’t hate you for reading the books or watching the movies nor do I look down on you in a way that matters, I just hate them. And relating it to MBTI as well as the fact that the sequel Insurgent is releasing today, I’ll tell you why.

You know what the story is about. In a post-apocalyptic future, several factions have been made that, at a certain age, each kid has to choose which one of five groups to join. Each group has its strengths and while there’s the “correct” choice, you can go against that and choose whichever you like. But if you can’t hack it in that group, you’re excommunicated from society. Tris is unique and special though, because while she was raised in one group, she chooses another, yet secretly she’s a “divergent.” Meaning she doesn’t actually fit into any category.

There’s more to it but here’s the trailer for the first movie in the series in case my description wasn’t enough and I’ll just shut up here it is-

Also, let me point out that while I most certainly hate the movie, I haven’t read the books so I’m not hating on author Veronica Roth’s writing style. I’m not familiar with it. I hate the feeling of laziness within the film, the generic Young Adult adaptions taking over the screen, and the overall story. So anything that’s in the film taken from the book I also hate, but as mentioned, I haven’t read the books. Which is not to say that I’d like them.

So now that we’re all clear on what this movie is about and disclaimers are out of the way, I’ll get back to why I hate it.

Tris is boring as boring gets. I don’t even have an analogy for how boring she is, I just wanted to fall asleep anytime she was on screen. Imagine how you might get watching a video of someone constantly nodding off with their mouth open, only to jerk back up at the last second to do it again. I’m you and the person sleeping is Tris.

I’m not talking about the actress Shailene Woodley either. I’m not one of those people who can’t separate reality from fiction and begins to really hate an actress just for taking a role that sucked. If I hated somebody for playing a part, it would be Sharon Stone in Casino because she played that part too well.

Sharo- I mean, Ginger, you cheating skank!

Sharo- I mean, Ginger, you cheating skank!

But the character of Tris does nothing. Absolutely nothing to stand out in any way yet she keeps being told she’s different and special. Every single character in the movie has more personality than she does yet for some reason, she defies all category and if discovered, she could bring the whole system down! Why Kate Winslet and her team of societal overlords don’t just make a separate category for divergents and let the world keep on spinning is beyond me. If they just grouped divergents together, you’ve got a separate group rather than a bunch of people that know they’re more powerful (somehow) than everyone else. These geniuses set up a system that gives them reason to rebel.

But I digress.

I’ve read that Roth was inspired to write the series after taking a bunch of personality tests and not feeling like the results fit her at all. I couldn’t help think of the people who say the same of MBTI. I would link you to a quote of Roth saying so, but I can’t find it and I’m too lazy to look any harder. This isn’t really about Roth’s inspiration either, but what I got from the movie itself. When watching it I was thinking, “This story seems like it was written from the perspective of those people who use MBTI to justify how special they are without actually doing anything with themselves.”

I’m serious, that’s what I got from it. Tris herself, as I’ve said, is dull and lifeless. I get that she’s kind of supposed to be the connecting point between the audience and the Divergent world, but I need to see her in action and/or just cut out all the times somebody tells her how unique and special she is so I’m not let down by how lame she is. It gets even worse when she does something because the applause is deafening. Even if it’s just from a character smiling in pride that Tris accomplished something. Somehow other people performing the same tasks don’t mean as much. It has to come from the girl who looks like she may have had narcolepsy for the first hour of the film.

Oh yeah, there's the other look- "Vaguely cringing."

Oh yeah, there’s the other look- “Vaguely cringing.” For all your YA Female leads.

But bringing this into MBTI, I keep thinking that this is the same way people treat it. They don’t want to see the similarities and differences between each other. They don’t want to recognize weaknesses and better themselves. They don’t want to analyze relationships and how things can be made better by changing something about themselves.

Nah, let’s just find a way to justify what we do and why we do it, giving ourselves all the leeway and feeling free to dismiss other people. Let’s just figure out the best way to distance ourselves from the rest of society because now you can put words to how amazing you are and why everybody else sucks.

Seems too many people get interested in MBTI just to validate themselves. People will do this with anything but the whole point of MBTI is to figure yourself out, figure others out, and why not have fun while you’re at it. Instead, we get a bunch of crap about how a character is the same type as the user because “they relate” as if that’s any kind of evidence. We get people acting like jackasses only to justify it because that’s how they interpret their type to be as if that even makes sense.

I also hate that people claim to love MBTI but hate how “It boxes you in” or that “the descriptions are WAY off.” Somebody explain to me how you would get into MBTI after reading your results and feeling they’re inaccurate? Isn’t that where you start? Am I missing something? That’s like a new kid playing basketball, not understanding the rules but then going around telling all the other players what they should do on the court.

This post isn’t meant to be a “Shame on you! I’m pointing fingers at ALL of you!” I really just felt the need to write about how much I hate Divergent. But when I think about why I hate it, it comes back to MBTI and how obsessed people are with themselves- “I was born special unlike the rest of you. I’m destined for great things…If I feel like doing it. I’ve got the potential and that’s all I need to know.”

Sure, everybody will say they recognize this but can you acknowledge it if you do it?

Not everybody does it the same way either. NT types act intellectually superior, NF types think they’re everything to everyone, SJ types aren’t even online though I know enough to say that they just think they’re fully knowledgeable of whatever interest they’ve taken at the moment, and SP types have some obsession with pretending they’re all a bunch of carefree, partying Kanye Wests as if it’s cool to act like Richie Rich with brain damage.

Anyway, Divergent sucks. You’ve got to do or say something interesting to actually stick out to anybody and just being your lazy self doesn’t cut it, Snowflake. Unless you’re hanging out in post-apocalyptic Chicago with a guy named Four. FOUR is the supporting male character’s name.

Also maybe I’m jealous that this chick’s book was picked up before she even graduated college and MAN, LIKE WHERE’S MY BOOK DEAL? Maybe that’s part of it.


13 Responses to “MBTI: Divergent and Special Snowflake Syndrome”

  1. amiegibbons15 Says:

    In defense of Roth, the books were better (not great but not bad) But I’m with you on that last line. 🙂 Every time anyone mentions Twilight, they get a ten minute rant ending with, “And it pisses me off because these books are shit and yet are popular and I’m not even published yet!”

    • Taylor Says:

      Yeah I figured I’d throw that in there just for levity. I don’t want to be a heckler on the sidelines or something, never adding anything of my own. I don’t hate these authors out of jealousy but I still think it’s good to acknowledge that jealousy might be there.

  2. Kristen Says:

    It’s about time someone wrote an article like this. Oh and

    >SP types have some obsession with pretending they’re all a bunch of carefree, partying Kanye Wests as if it’s cool to act like Richie Rich with brain damage.

    That’s because we are, and it is.

  3. fatalfuryguu Says:

    I was born special unlike the rest of you. I’m destined for great things…If I feel like doing it. I’ve got the potential and that’s all I need to know.”

  4. bruce jenner Says:

    M83 has music in all the films, so i like them!

  5. Hated the books, hated the movie. It’s just another YA story where there’s one special girl who has superpowers and is infinitely better than everyone yet doesn’t know it. She meets a guy, at first they don’t like each other but then they do, yadda yadda. Society is dysfunctional and only she can fix it. Oh, and Tris dies in the end.

    Hate the writing style as well, I completely regret buying the book.

  6. Are you an INFJ? I know you are. The one who wrote this, is an infj one. Am I right, or my evaluating skills are rusted and way out of sight? just trolling, in a harmless way, and wasting this precious time of mine. say that I am right? so this ego of mine will rise. 😀 anyway, nice article. quite cynical in a good way. What’s your mbti? INFJ or INTP?

    • Taylor Says:

      I could say INFJ but I’d be lying to make you feel better and that just wouldn’t be good for either of us. ENTP.

  7. Rohit Barman Says:

    It’s very obvious you are an ENTP after watching your video. As a writer for INFJ content, I can say I’m really impressed by your analysis of the types. Sure they are extreme and sure we are not always like this but you touched upon some key aspects that make us often difficult to tolerate.

  8. I know this is 5 years old but I have to weigh in. I read the Divergent books, all 3 of them, and they were just as vacuous as the movie. But the concept of Divergent had potential.

    Roth was TRYING to write about a corrupt society which boxes people in and represses their individuality for the convenience of leaders at the top. A society which simplifies everyone’s personalities into a set number of categories so they can be good cogs in the machine. A society which lashes out at people who don’t fit the confines of their assigned Type.

    Sound familiar? Well it rings true to my experience at least. Your article ignores the side of the MBTI community which learns about MBTI then thinks they’re qualified to be a therapist. These people are far more insidious than the “don’t box me in” crowd if you ask me. I’d rather someone cringey than someone tyrannical. I’ve seen people bully / harass those who they believe have mistyped themselves, saying it’s “for their own good”. Some people are so dogmatic about their interpretations of MBTI that they accuse you of having mental illnesses if you question their typings of you and in extreme cases, they stalk you or harass you for disagreeing. They are hypocrites who think they have all the answers to everyone’s problems via this framework even though they haven’t solved their own. People in this community have caricatures of each type, they come up with reasons why you are x type, and they beat you into accepting it so that you can act like the caricature they’ve made for you. For them, MBTI is not about observing and understanding people, it’s about controlling people. It’s about molding people into who they want them to be.

    Now imagine if these people had political power. They absolutely WOULD use the MBTI system to organize society according to their typings and oppress people who don’t act like their assigned Type. Why they’re doing it is irrelevant… they are doing it now within the community and they would do it on a macro scale if they could.

    Divergent was supposed to explore what would happen if these people got political power. But….

    Roth ruined any depth her story could’ve had by making Tris a special snowflake. What could’ve been a unique story about psychological-political oppression… turned out to be Roth’s sex fantasy and nothing more. The dystopian world Tris and Tobias live in functions as an edgy backdrop to their romantic soap opera, rather than being the focus of the story. Hence why the world is full of plot-holes and it would never function as a real society. But do not lose sight of the real message Divergent was trying to send.


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