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How does the idea of “faction before blood” come into play throughout the book? Do you think this idea has a place in today’s society, or is it contrary to what most people believe? In our society, what ideas and beliefs are people loyal to in the way Tris’s society is loyal to the concept of the factions?
"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid
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And, I don't know whether this is part of the same phenomenon, but in modern America, I would say our concepts of loyalty to family are very basic, almost nonexistent. For example, parents are supposed to have no say in who their son or daughter marries. They are supposed to give teenagers "privacy" even about things that could potentially ruin their lives. On the other end of the spectrum, Mom and Dad are supposed to be able to make their own decisions about who they date, and "have their own lives" regardless of the effect it might have upon their kids.
So obviously, I am not a big fan of Faction Before Blood. That said, I realize there are going to be times when we need to put a principle, or someone who is non-family, ahead of family. "Blood Before Faction" would not be a practical slogan either. Both Faction and Blood are just too limited to be made the be-all and end-all that always trumps everything else. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the worst thing we can do is pick just one value out of the whole moral framework, and make that the one thing to which everything else must bow.
I would rather choose "truth before anything else", if there is such a category.
you were a writer
pen to paper.
just because you were not writing
does not mean you were not writing
― Nayyirah Waheed
"Faction before blood" is such a fuzzy concept as so many others who've posted before me have concluded. How do we define blood? Most will use the term "family" as the definition of blood, but then we're forced to answer the question on how to define family.
Some may take the literal interpretation - those individuals who share genetic traits with each other - but then you could isolate common elements (such as marriage) in that definition. More commonly, from where I come from at least, family is defined by those individuals who maintain a presence in our lives enough to influence our decisions and behaviors. While many will advocate that blood runs thicker than water, we as humans should readily admit that our initial desire is to gravitate towards like minded individuals (like the book club for example!). We find solace in being surrounded by people who understand our desires, thoughts, goals, joys, etc. Often times, those people are individuals you meet along the path of life - and its those people who you will often find yourself describing as being as close as a "<insert family member title here>."
Much like in the case of this book, the line between faction and blood becomes blurred. Roth accurately describes the torment we experience when trying to find the common ground between those who raised you and those who are able to help you continue your path of success. It's an initial struggle, one that each and every day we are challenged to overcome in society, but one nonetheless we can overcome. I don't think Roth meant that she had to turn her back for once and all on her mother & father. She needed to embrace the idea of the Dauntless in order to succeed in her chosen path, which required her to temporarily set aside the teachings of the Abnegation that she grew up with. I think most of us can identify with Tris as we watch her struggle with the guilt and grief she faces each day in her decision and the struggle to prepare for the war that is threatening her and everyone she loves.
Just as a side thought if we were to open the newspaper or turn on the news, we're bombarded with evidence every day that factions do indeed exist in this world!
I must say though the idea of faction before blood is not all that foreign either. Once many people are kicked out of the nest you will see them select new ways of life and new people who may treat them better than their biological family. In a way their new faction becomes their new "blood" so it is an odd concept to think about.