1. to refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.); reject; renounce.
Sit quietly and wait. Bow heads, a sign of respect, when greeting each other. Not manipulative, but not forthright.
Clothing is all grey and simple. The only adornment allowed is a watch. Female Abnegation typically wear their hair in a bun/knot. Men cut their hair short.
Rivals with the Erudite Faction
No official leader; led by governmental council including Abnegation member Marcus Eaton
Abnegation is one of the five factions in the world of Divergent, being the one and only faction dedicated to selflessness and forgetting oneself for the sake of others. Their substance in the Choosing Ceremony are grey stones.
Abnegation was formed by those who blamed selfishness for human nature's errors. They believe in selfless actions and attaining peace through the elimination of selfishness. By doing so, they choose to completely forget themselves and only serve others.
Abnegation is the faction that the main protagonist, Tris, was born into. As such, it holds importance to the novel's plot. Four is also Divergent. The selflessness the protagonist was brought up with is what gave her strength in her new faction. During the end of the novel, Abnegation was overthrown by an alliance between Erudite and Dauntless causing a collapse of the government. Most of its leaders, as well as the majority of its people, were killed during the initial confrontation while few were able to flee to Amity.
However, the Abnegation's main leader, Marcus Eaton, was not killed by the genocide. After the war, the remaining Abnegation left and stayed with other factions, like Candor and Amity, or became Factionless.
Abnegation value the virtue of selflessness over any other. Abnegation initiates upon attaining membership are forced to reject a life of vanity and self-indulgence, protecting themselves from greed and envy which are considered forms of selfishness. Gossiping, using the mirror for long periods of time and buying luxury items are forbidden. As an Abnegation, the focus of their lives will be in serving others instead of themselves, anything done for self-enjoyment is thereby discouraged. Abnegations are usually very quiet as they don't like to call attention to themselves and they find joy in helping others.
Members are expected to be compliant to others at all times, even if that person is in Abnegation as well. They take the stairs and allow the elevators to be used by others. It is not unnatural for strangers on the streets to see an Abnegation helping them with anything such as carrying their groceries or treating their injury. Immoral actions are not a trait of an Abnegation such as the usage of guns for violence. The faction mandates that guns be only used for self-defense. Their morally incorruptible quality makes them the only reasonable faction to be able to govern the city as political leaders. Because of their apparent submissive nature, it oftentimes allow other factions to think of them as weak.
City leaders are typically hand-picked from Abnegation, as it is generally believed that the faction's desire to put others before themselves are the key factors for true leadership that renders a ruling government incorruptible.
The main goal of Abnegation is to forget yourself and serve others, so they wear gray to be less noticeable. Abnegation clothes are very baggy. Gray robes are also common among members and children. Women usuallypin up their hair and men have their hair cut short. Abnegations cut their hair every three months and every six months pick up a stack of nearly identical clothes. The only adornment they are allowed is a simple gray watch. They greet each other by formally bowing heads, as physical contact is more or less discouraged and therefore, feared. Physical displays of affection are forbidden and even kissing in public is seen as disgusting.
Abnegation, despite being seen as peaceful, neutral, and calm, have a fierce ongoing rivalry with the Erudite. Abnegation is in charge of the government, and the Erudite, who seek power, believe that they are in fact selfish people who only provide for their own faction. It is very rare for a child born into Abnegation transfer to Erudite and vice-versa, though it has been seen before, for example, Caleb Prior switched to Erudite. This means that parents and family of the Abnegation who switched to Erudite cannot visit their children, as Erudite have banned the Abnegation from entering their compound.
Stiff is slang for Abnegation, and is commonly used by the Dauntless to describe those from Abnegation. Abnegation transfers to Dauntless are rare, so Beatrice Prior's choice was a fairly radical one. The Dauntless have little respect for the peace and seeming weakness and cowardice of the Abnegation; the Abnegation would likely have little to do with the Dauntless, as their faction provides the defense and military for all the factions, and the Abnegation do not approve of violence or weapons, as weapons, even used for self-defense, are self-serving.
Abnegation was discovered to be on good terms with Amity in the past. This make sense, since both are the only factions that harbor and share traits that do not "stand out" like the others, and are equally passive at most.
Abnegation's relationship with Candor is more or less unknown.
- Beatrice Prior (transferred to Dauntless)
- Caleb Prior (transferred to Erudite)
- Tobias Eaton (transferred to Dauntless)
- Robert Black (transferred to Amity)
- Evelyn Johnson (became Factionless)
"I will be my undoing If I become my obsession.
I will forget the ones I love If I do not serve them.
I will war with others If I refuse to see them.
Therefore I choose to turn away from my reflection,
To rely not on myself
But on my brothers and sisters,
To project always outward
Until I disappear."
- Some members add a final line: “And only God remains.” That is at the discretion of each member, and is not compulsory.
Abnegation's initiation ceremony is a quiet affair. The initiates, who spend thirty days performing community service before they can become full members, sit side by side on a bench. One of the older members reads the Abnegation manifesto, then all of the older members wash the initiates feet. Then they all share a meal, each person serving food to the person on his left. It is known in Insurgent that Abnegation has the least or close to none of initiates who fail their initiation.
- Members bow heads when greeting as a form of respect to one another.
- Members are only allowed to stand in front of the mirror on the second day of every third month for a haircut.
- Families move together in harmony, after dinner parties everyone in attendance help to clean-up afterwards.
- The houses in the Abnegation sector are all the same size and shape.
- Not every family is religious, but some are.
- Taught that physical contact is powerful, displayed affection is rare.
- Children aren't supposed to speak at the dinner table unless their parents ask them a direct question. Their listening ears are a gift to their parents, and then after dinner their parents give them the gift of their listening ears in the living room.
- Co-eds never sleep in the same room.
- Don’t believe in decorating rooms. They see art as impractical, and its appreciation is time that could be spent serving others.
- Don’t form real friendships because it is hard to do when no one feels like they can accept help or talk about themselves.
- On visiting day, initiates are allowed to visit their families and to visit with them as adults for the first time. They don’t need permission to speak, and are allowed to ask questions at the dinner table.
- Their funerals are a somber occasion. Everyone gathers to support the family of the deceased. There is no laughter, shouting, or joking.
- Most of what they eat is frozen or canned because the farms are far away.
- Eat dinner at the table. They always pass food to the right and wait to eat until everyone has been served.
- Eat plain food and don't drink alcohol.
- Believe kisses are not meant to be shared in public.
- View suicide as an act of selfishness because someone who is truly selfless does not think of himself often enough to desire death.
- Guilt is used as a tool, rather than a weapon against the self. They use it to remind themselves to do better the next time.
- They don't celebrate birthdays because it would be self-indulgent.
- In Dauntless slang, they are called "Stiffs".