Like most dystopian stories, the world has suffered from some devastating event or string of events and the survivors have devised a plan to restructure society in an attempt to avoid the sort of wars and violence that brought them to the brink of destruction. In Divergent, Beatrice Prior has grown up in a society that has ordered itself according to five certain virtues, with each virtue being represented by a faction of people: Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace), Erudite (intellectual curiosity), and Candor (truth). It's somewhat reminiscent of The Giver by Lois Lowry, with children being sorted into the different factions which will come to dominate their lives, especially should they join factions other than those of their families. "Faction before blood" after all! Of course which faction a person joins is completely voluntary, but even after that choice is made, the person must complete their faction's initiation and be installed as members. Otherwise, they will be doomed to live on the streets among the other factionless, only surviving because of the kindness of the Abnegation.