Activity Overview

Divergent’s story structure falls into the classic pattern of the hero’s journey. First articulated by mythologist Joseph Campbell, the hero’s journey is a recurring pattern of stages found in many heroic epics throughout varied cultures and historical periods. As the hero in the Divergent series, Tris Prior lives out the 12 fundamental steps outlined in the chart below. To help students visualize this pattern, have them use a storyboard to break down Divergent’s structure and identify the twelve stages of Tris’s heroic journey.

Divergent Hero’s Journey Example

Ordinary World Beatrice Prior lives with her parents and brother in the Abnegation faction. She and the rest of her faction spend their time trying to be selfless and help others.
Call to Adventure In her aptitude test, Beatrice learns that she is divergent. This knowledge leads her to consider leaving the Abnegation faction.
Refusal Beatrice struggles with the idea of switching factions. It breaks her heart to leave her family forever.
Mentor/Helper Beatrice has several mentors. Her mother and Tori help her early on. After she crosses the threshold, Four becomes her main mentor.
Cross the Threshold Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless faction at the Choosing Ceremony. In her new faction, she becomes Tris.
Tests / Allies / Enemies The Dauntless initiation provides many tests for Tris. She makes friends who help protect her, including Four, Christina, Will, and Uriah. She also makes dangerous enemies, such as Peter, Edward, and Al, who try to kill her out of jealousy. Meanwhile, the ruthless Erudite leader, Jeanine Matthews, begins to suspect she is divergent.
Approach With the help of Four, Tris works to improve her physical and mental preparedness, so she can successfully finish initiation without revealing her divergence.
Ordeal Tris must complete the Dauntless initiation by successfully making it through her fear landscape. If her score is not high enough, she could fail initiation and become factionless.
Reward Tris successfully completes initiation and is rewarded by a #1 ranking.
Road Back Tris's time in Dauntless doesn't last long. When Jeanine, the Erudite leader uses a serum to force the Dauntless to attack Abnegation, Tris returns to Abnegation to defend her former faction.
Atonement Tris loses her mother and father, and is almost killed by Jeanine. Finally, she faces Four in the Dauntless control room and helps him break free of the mind-control serum. Four stops the simulation, and the Erudite coup ends.
Return Tris, Four, and the others leave the Dauntless compound and head to a new life. They cannot return to Abnegation, but will meet the surviving Dauntless and Abnegation in the Amity compound.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Use the story of Divergent and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  3. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/3] Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/5] Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/6] Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Heroic Journey Rubric
20 Points
17 Points
13 Points
Try Again
10 Points
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are exemplary and applied to the hero clearly, precisely, and correctly.
  • Knowledge and examples of the archetypal hero are evident.
  • Abundant examples are used to support claims.
  • Most stages and steps of the hero's journey are accurately applied to the hero.
  • Strong knowledge of the archetypal hero is apparent, and some traits, but not all, are applied.
  • Many examples are used to support claims.
  • Some stages and steps of the hero's journey are accurately applied to their hero.
  • Some knowledge of the archetypal hero is evident and has been applied, but is not sufficient.
  • Some examples are used to support claims.
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are inaccurately applied to their hero, or not enough stages are incorporated.
  • A little knowledge of the archetypal hero is evident.
  • Few to no examples are used to support claims.
  • Organization
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are in a logical order
  • Elements are clearly labeled
  • Images are used and convey the idea perfectly
  • Many stages and steps of the hero's journey are in proper order.
  • Most picture panels are accurately labeled.
  • Some images may not be clear or complete representations
  • Some stages or steps of the hero's journey are out of order.
  • Many panels have NOT been labeled with the appropriate element of the journey.
  • Images are missing, unclear, or require explanation.
  • Many stages and steps of the hero's journey are confused or completely out of order.
  • Storyboard pictures have not been labeled with the elements of the journey.
  • Few images are used, or storyboard is disorganized.
  • Visual Elements
    All pictures demonstrate effort, are attention-grabbing, and clearly communicate visually the corresponding element of the hero's journey.
    Many pictures show effort and clearly communicate how an element of the hero's journey is present in the story.
    Some pictures appear rushed, or are uninteresting. Connections to elements of the hero's journey are non-obvious, or unclear.
    Few pictures appear. The storyboard appears rushed, or unfinished. The connections and elements are very unclear.
    There are only minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage, if any.
    There are few errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage.
    There are many errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage.
    There are abundant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage that detract from the work.
    This Storyboard could be used as an exemplary model, and is one of the most outstanding projects produced.
    Creativity is evident, and the finished product is admirable.
    Creativity and effort are lacking. Extra help was needed.
    Creativity and effort are lacking. Extra help was needed.

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