Analysis Of The Enders Game
- Card, Orson. Ender’s Game. New York: Tom Doherty Associates Book, 1991.
- 370 pages
It is called Ender’s Game because the main characters nickname is Ender. He ends the final game by winning the battle for Earth against the buggers. It is also called Ender’s Game because if they didn’t win everything was over for Earth. The human race was going to be extinct and the buggers were going to colonize Earth.
Ender is the protagonist and the main character of the story. Everything in the book and movie is based around him. Physically he is skinny, has a large head, and is not athletic. He is also portrayed as nice, but strict and a good leader.
Petra is a main character and one of Ender’s first female friends at battle school. She is athletic, fast, and strong. She is also nice, open minded, and a strong leader too.
Alai is Ender’s first friend straight out of the fresh group of Launchy’s. He is skinny, has a small head, and he is also not athletic. He is also kind, open minded to all, and a good group leader.
Dink is Enders second best friend while in Rat Army under command of Rose the Nose. He is athletic, fast, and strong. He is also commanding, a teacher, and a leader.
Graff is the Colonel of the International Fleet who first came to recruit Ender from his house back on Earth. He is fat, slow, and not athletic. However he is also smart, tricky, and a mental torturer.
Bean is Ender’s best friend while he was commanding Dragon Army. He is small, skinny, and athletic. He is also smart, quick minded, and a take charge person.
Major Anderson was in charge of all the battles that Ender’s army fought against other army’s. He is overweight, tall, and not athletic. He is also kind, outgoing, and a giver.
Valentine was the main lover in the book. She was Ender’s older sister who loved him with all her heart and he loved her with all his heart. She is athletic, tall, and skinny. She is also known as a lover, is open minded, and intelligent.
The main events take place on Eros at the command training center. The Protagonists childhood occurs on Earth through the age of 6. Eros is a dark and scary place where an alien species colony was murdered by the humans to make a space outpost. In the book, Earth is turned into a war zone between all the world’s leaders’ countries and are hungry for world control.
Chapter 1: Third
- The first chapter begins with Colonel Graff and Major Anderson having a conversation about if Ender Wiggin is the one to save the human race from the buggers. They also are debating whether he is the same as his brother or sister or a good mix of both.
- Graff and Anderson decide to see what Ender’s reaction would be to the kids at school if he were to have his monitor chip, in the back of his neck, removed. This same thing happened to his siblings, but not for the same reasons.
- Him losing his monitor chip creates others to hate him. A bully named Stilson was picking on Ender and pushing him around. Ender defended himself with a sharp object. Stilson fell to the ground and Ender began kicking him repeatedly. Friends of Stilson asked Ender to stop, so he did.
Chapter 2: Peter
- Chapter two begins with Colonel Graff approving of how Ender reacted to the beating of the school bully Stilson. They then start thinking that they don’t need to make Ender happy. They need to make it to where he’ll save the world for them.
- They start comparing Ender to Mazer Rackham who died in the second Invasion at Earth against the buggers. Mazer was a man who Ender grew up watching and studying on videos through his young ages.
Chapter 3: Graff
- Graff and Anderson talk about how they need Ender to come with them to battle school. But aren’t sure if he will love his sister. They had a very strong bond. So Graff goes to get Ender from his household.
- He first brings up the fight with Stilson as if they are there to punish him. Then they ask why he did it and Ender’s answer was, I wanted to end all the battles to come, not just that one. Then Graff’s reply was, Ender I would like to invite you to our Battle School.
Chapter 4: Launch
- Graff and another adult are deciding on what to do with Ender. They then decide that Ender must be isolated to become the soldier they want him to be. They want him to be a super smart genius and have authority and leadership skills.
- Ender’s first observation of the other children there is they act like kids, laughing and playing. He knows they are being watched by the adults and commanders. He decides he must be serious and show he is a leader.
- He begins to realize that the gravity will affect them differently in space than on Earth. He begins to think of how things look to people in space because of the foreign gravity to all the children. This are the kinds of things that make Ender stand out from the other children.
Chapter 5: Games
- Graff continues to insist that isolation is best for Ender. They want him to think no one will ever help him, in and out of a battle. Ender and his other launchies in his group are introduced to Dap who is going to be taking care of them.
- Ender then goes to the game room to get the feel of it. He then challenges an older student to best out of 3 matches. Ender loses the first by a lot. Then barely takes the victory the second time around. Then on the final game Ender sweeps the student making him furious and forcing that boy and his friends to remember the six year old Ender Wiggin.
Chapter 6: The Giant’s Drink
- At the start of this chapter Graff is discussing with another adult that Ender’s launchy group is split apart because there is a bully that dislikes Ender because they know how he is favored by Colonel Graff. Ender begins playing a video game called Fairy Land to escape from the others. This game messes with Ender’s head and makes him have suicidal thoughts. It had been known to do that.
- Ender and the other launchies take their first trip to the battle room to get a feel of null gravity. They aren’t used to the suits and how they feel. Ender and Alai quickly figure out how to rebound in null gravity and start experimenting with their freeze guns on themselves and other launchies.
Chapter 7: Salamander
- The chapter begins with Graff having a conversation with General Levy about Levy being concerned and having doubts about Ender being a kid. Graff is happy now that Ender got past the Giant’s Drink, an extremely difficult level on the game Fairy Land that Ender has been playing. Levy is concerned that none of the students at the battle school act like actual kids at all. Levy tells Graff not to hurt Ender any more than he has to.
- Ender ends up finding out later that not that he has been transferred to the Salamander Army under the command of Bonzo Madrid. Graff felt that it was time for Ender to leave as he was starting to see Ender get close to some of the other launchies, isolation was key to them.
- The salamander Army has a battle when Ender first arrives. Commander Bonzo informs Ender to stay back. Ender defies orders and goes in anyways and was the only soldier to be totally untouched.
Chapter 8: Rat
- Graff wants Anderson to set up unfair battle simulations for Ender’s army. So it challenges him and puts him to the limit. She objects, saying the school is based off the fairness of the battles.
- Ender is again transferred to Rat Army which is in command by Rose the Nose. Rose says he can’t sue his desk where he plays games and can’t practice with launchies anymore. But then a boy named Dink in the same army says Rose can’t do anything to stop him from doing either of those.
- They then have a battle against Centipede Army. Ender is sent out first just so he can get frozen. But before he is frozen he freezes a couple of the enemy players. He then talks to Dink and finds out he was promoted to commander twice, but denied the promotion every time. This is because he didn’t like bossing people around.
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
- Graff is enraged that the computer threw an image of Peter, Ender’s brother, into the game Ender plays. Graff asks a computer expert why it is doing this .He explains because the game is between the computer and Ender’s mind. He said the computer must think that it will help Ender in some way, shape, or form and that is the only reason.
- Ender’s 8th birthday arrives and Valentine is at home and lights a fire in honor of Ender who is up in space. While she is doing this, her brother Peter is torturing a squirrel. She asks why he would be doing that. He tells her to shut up or he will kill her too. Valentine knows that Peter will never actually kill her. This is because Peter only does things that are calculated to help what he needs, there is no reason to kill her. She thinks he is planning to do something bad very soon to Earth though.
- Peter convinces Valentine into making fake net profiles to try and gain control in government. Peter is Locke and Valentine is Demosthenes on the fake profiles.
Chapter 10: Dragon
- Graff issues the order to make Ender commander of a retired army called Dragon Army. The only catch is that Graff is picking the list of members in the army. Also Ender isn’t allowed to make any trades with other army’s.
- That day right after Ender meets all army members he takes them straight to the battle room to test their skill levels. Bean, who is a short dragon army member, asks to be a toon leader. Ender denies the request. He thinks about why he did that to Bean and realizes the same thing happened to him when Graff isolated him. He realizes that by doing to Bean, what the commanders have been doing to him all along, he will be a better platoon leader later on.
Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici
- Graff and Anderson discuss what they think of Dragon Army and how well they will do. This is because Anderson has scheduled a lot of battles for them, sometimes they will have three in a day instead of one.
Their first battle is an easy one for them they destroy their opponent Rat Army. Ender’s Army functions weirdly and different from others. Each of his five toons can work without the others help. Ender starts realizing that because of his successc Petra and Dink don’t seem like they are friends with him anymore. The next day Dragon Army beats Phoenix Army which Petra is commander of. Ender knows this didn’t make anything better for their friendship.
Chapter 12: Bonzo
- The chief of the I.F. police comes to see Graff because of a report saying that the battle school is an unsafe environment. That there is nothing stopping kids from fighting or bullying others. Graff says that Ender needs to stick up for himself because no one can help him against the buggers besides himself.
- Ender gets a warning from Petra about him being in real danger with Bonzo. Ender doesn’t care and goes to sleep. He later wakes up and goes to take a shower. While there he gets ganged up on by seven people including Bonzo. He convinces Bonzo to fight him alone without his back up to help him. Dink comes and tries to tell Bonzo not to fight him. Bonzo attacks anyways. Ender dodges and hits him in the face then hits him in the crotch, but notices that Bonzo is not moving once he fell. Dink takes him away before anything else could happen. Bonzo later dies, but Graff never told Ender that directly.
This incident makes Ender want to quit and leave school.
Chapter 13: Valentine
- This chapter starts with two officers talking about Peter and Valentine stirring trouble on the net. Graff tells them to leave the two alone. Valentine likes being her fake profile and her and Peter know that the world is preparing for war. They believe that a war is going to break out as soon as the buggers are defeated. They believe that no compromise can stop this event from occurring.
- Valentine is brought to see Ender who has been staying at a Lake House on Earth for two months. Graff believes that Valentine is the only person that can get through to Ender and get him to attend with him to command school. Graff tells her they need to prepare for the attack that is coming soon. Valentine goes out with Ender on the lake and goes for a swim. Her presence convinces Ender to return to school. They part ways and say goodbye while Ender goes to the shuttle take off station. They depart to Eros to command school.
Chapter 14: Ender’s Teacher
- An admiral greets Graff at command school when they arrive and wonders whether the 3 month trip vacation to Eros was good for Ender or not. Ender begins to spend his time all by himself or with Graff. The next morning Ender wakes to an old man waiting in his room on the floor. They begin to fight and Ender learns a valuable lesson from the man, that he isn’t always going to win.
- The man introduces himself as Mazer Rackham the pilot that supposedly died saving Earth in the second invasion. Ender begins to ask how he could be alive. In response Rackham shows him deleted footage of his cockpit cam of him ejecting right before he crashed into the mother ship.
- Ender begins to do simulations with his crew including all his once friends from battle school. They win every battle simulation once a day every day for months. Then they have their graduation simulation. They succeed on destroying all the buggers’ ships. They then use the biggest and newest little doctor, a machine that tears apart molecules and turns it to dust. It destroys the entire planet, setting off a chain reaction destroying all the buggers. However, it also destroy all the I.F. military ships, including all the human men on board. They were sacrificed, but the Ender’s army did not know this at the time. They always thought the battles were simulations.
- Afterwards all the high ranking officials come and thank Ender and his commanders. Ender is confused on why they are so happy. They tell him that all the battles were never simulations, but actual battles. Then that hits Ender. He just then realized that he killed off an entire race and thousands of Earth’s soldiers. They trank him so he doesn’t overreact.
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
- Ender awakes to find out that he is being prosecuted for murder against Stilson and Bonzo. Ender stays in Eros through all of the trials. The court finally comes to the verdict not guilty because they found it to be self-defense both times.
- Ender wants to return home, but can’t according to Valentine. Valentine claims that she made it to where Ender can never go back to earth. Her and Peter had made a pact with all of the government officials on Earth to not allow Ender to ever come back to Earth for his own safety.
- He stays on Eros and starts the first outer space colony for the humans. He also begins to search the universe for a colony spot for the Bugger’s final queen egg to hatch.
- Ender was the only one that knew that the queen egg was never actually destroyed. He looks for a long time to find the right place. He realizes now that they meant no harm to the humans. So he feels that is his duty to do this for them as payment for what he did.
The first symbol is Peter as a reminder to Ender to never to purposely become a bully and a killer like him. One instance is when Ender retaliated against Stilson for picking on him. Another example, is when Ender got ganged up on by Bonzo in the showers. Ender didn’t want to harm them, in fact, he didn’t want to fight them at all. He only did in self-defense. He always thought of his brother as a reminder of how he did not want to become. The second symbol is Valentine who represents love and family and someone that will always be there for Ender. One main example of this is when Valentine creates the pact to never allow Ender to return to earth. She loved her brother so much that she couldn’t risk him coming back to be harmed, even if that meant sacrificing being with him again. Another example is how Valentine was always there to support Ender, she always had a strong love for her brother and it showed.
I think that the message to be learned from Ender’s Game is that love and compassion conquers all. I feel this theme was present through a lot of the book. For example: Ender’s sister Valentine risked having her brother ever returning home to be with her. This was done out of love for her brother and his best well-being. Another example, is the compassion that Ender showed the Queen Bugger at the end of the story. He understood that they didn’t want to harm the humans and they didn’t need to fight anymore. He was compassionate by finding a safe place for the queen’s egg to hatch, so it would not be found. I believe the author’s purpose for telling the story was to show the hardships a young boy faced. He encountered isolation, hate, murder, and war. However, in the end all Ender wanted was love and compassion for all. For all humans and non-humans to love one another.
- Movie and Book difference description:
In the book Ender goes from Salamander Army to Rat Army then to command of Dragon Army. But in the movie he went from Salamander Army to command of Dragon Army. In the book he met Dink in Rat Army. In the movie he meets him in Salamander Army. In the movie Ender goes by himself to discover the queen Bugger egg. In the book he goes with a little boy from his colony on Eros. In the movie he discovers the egg then leaves right away in the book he consults with Valentine about leaving with him. Also in the movie Valentine never travels to Eros with the first colony. In the book she comes to Eros to see Ender and help him with the colony. Those were the major differences between the book and movie.
The Setting Of The Enders Game Book
The setting of a book tells a story in itself, allowing the reader to see a new reality and world. The setting of Ender’s Game takes place mostly on an spaceship, attending an academy created strictly for training and educating soldiers. The academy is full of rowdy children and teens, making the entire ship feel lively and resemble that of a school.
The younger children are often picked on by the older kids who liked the aspect of being better. The setting of Ender’s Game highly relates to aspects of the book. Some would say that the setting has no relation, because It is simply there to support that the enemies were aliens, but the setting also supports other points of the book The setting relates to the events of the plot, the characters, and built suspense.
To begin, the setting relates to the plot in the sense that the over all story is set in space, with an end goal to defeat the enemy aliens. The entire goal of the army school is to train kids to fight these buggers that have attacked before. As one of the higher ranking adults states, We’re trying to save the world, not heal the wounded heart (Card page 100, paragraph 1). This promotes the idea that the school in space is specifically to fight enemies in space, as the plot promotes. The setting relates to the plot because the plot is based around the idea of being in space.
Moreover, the setting relates to the characters in the sense that the characters are training to become soldiers in a space war. The children, specifically Ender, are learning to kill aliens, while the story is based in space. Ender slowly learns how to be a soldier at the battle school, even creating his own after hours training group (page 120, paragraph 3). The action shows he is becoming more of a soldier, showing discipline in extra training, just as the school wants from him. The boy learns from those around him and grows smarter as his time at the school passes. The setting relates to the characters in the sense that the battle school is teaching the characters to become better soldiers.
Finally, the setting relates to the suspense by the ominousness of space. The characters getting ready for war are doing so in space, where they don’t know when the enemies will attack, or where they even are. In the same sense, space is always ominous in some way, dark and void of light and oxygen. Dink, a fellow soldier, says, Listen, Ender, if the buggers were coming back to get us, they’d be here (page 146, paragraph 3). This shows that the idea of not knowing when the enemy will arrive has affected the children into wondering if they will ever show up. Nobody really knows when the buggers will reach the, which has a different outcome on all of the students. The setting relates to the suspense in the sense that no when knows when the enemies will attack, while out in space preparing for the fight.
To conclude, defeating aliens, the training of soldiers, and the empty vacuum of space all relate to the setting of the book. The setting relates to the suspense, characters, and plot of the book in different ways. Ender’s Game has a great deal of suspense and character development throughout, helping it create a vast and intricate world. The setting is an important part of the book, showing when and where the book takes place and how it all takes place.
Importance Of Individualism In Ender's Game
In the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, one of the main character’s greatest fears is that he would become like his brother, Peter. While on earth, Ender was physically afraid of Peter due to threats that he would kill him. But, when Ender was taken to battle school, he no longer had to be afraid of peter in that way.
While at Battle School, Ender had a small, but recurring fear, reinforced by the Battle School computer, of becoming like Peter. Peter is the boy that traps squirrels and skins them until they die. As Major Imbu of Battle school said His brother (Peter) was rejected from this program because he’s one of the most ruthless and unreliable human beings we’ve ever laid hands on. (Card 186 par. 4). Ender has the ability to win in every situation and hates himself for it because he doesn’t want to be the ruthless killing machine that he feared for over half his life. Ender is reminded of this when a fantasy game he plays at battle school shows him in a mirror with a reflection of peter’s face, as his own. Ender’s inner struggle is inside him throughout battle school and beyond and he is reminded of it constantly.
Ender’s fear started out as physical danger. While he knew Peter would do nothing that would make himself get into trouble (due to the monitor), Peter would disguise it as a game so that Ender would get hurt, but never too much. While Ender’s sister, Valentine, knows how brutal and cruel Peter can be, she is helpless to stop it because their parents have no idea who Peter really is away from them. When Ender finally got the monitor off, Peter suggested they play, and they do, but this time Peter threatens to kill Ender and Valentine. He would want to but will have to find a better way to do it. Ender’s comfort during the day is based on the fact that Peter will never disrupt his image in front of anyone except Ender and Valentine. Peter would often verbally abuse Ender, and say things that Ender hated the most. The fact that he was a third and the fact that even though Ender is younger than him he is better, the only reason he’s alive is because Peter was so good. Peter had the ability to find his opponents worst fear, then exploit it in the worst way possible. Ender had a similar skill, where he could totally and completely understand his opponents and beat them. In his mind this made him like Peter, a mindless killing machine with no love or compassion.
When Ender moves to battle school the reader gets the impression that they’ll neither have to see nor worry about Peter ever again. Then the fantasy game comes into play. In the game the player must pass an impossible challenge, in this case it is a giant who offers you a choice that will always be wrong. Ender finds a way to kill the giant by attacking him instead of choosing. It was not the intended result by ends up killing him anyway. This makes Ender think of all the times where he has been helpless to Peter. Later in the fantasy game Ender encounters a mirror where shows Ender’s character, and in the mirror it shows Peter as Ender. This embodies Ender’s internal struggles and fears. By the computer showing him as Peter, it embodies his belief that he isn’t any better than Peter, that his birth was a failure and how he hates himself for not just defeating his enemies but destroying them. Ender is brought to command his own army in the game at battle school. While playing this game Ender is never given an advantage only detriments. Less training time, uneven stages, back to back battles, two in one day, even two armies against his. He wins every single one, not just barley as most armies would do, but would win with little to no losses of team members. For Ender this personifies the awareness of his suspicion that he could be an even better killer than Peter could, and that its what Graff and all required to defeat the buggers.
Ender has also experienced some traumatic ordeals that made him feel extremely close to Peter. One of these experiences occurred when Ender was only 6 years old and still on Earth. A boy called Stilson, for unknown reasons, hates Ender for being to smart for his age and for being a third child. He is a bully who traps him in the hallway the day Ender gets his monitor off. Since Stilson knows that the government is no longer watching Ender he proceeds to fight him. Ender fights hard, too hard. He beats stilson and while he is still on the floor ender proceeds to kick him again and again so neither stilson or any of his friends would ever bother him again. After the fight Ender sits by a wall and cries while saying I am just like Peter. Take my monitor away, and I am just like Peter.(Card 143 par. 3) Another boy also fought Ender, but took it more seriously and was intent on killing Ender. The boy’s name was Bonzo Madrid, and while Ender was in his army at battle school, Ender disrespected him and Bonzo took it as a serious insult that Ender was even placed in his army and never let go of his animosity. In the fight Ender hits him so hard that Bonzo dosen’t come back up. After the fight Ender was helped by his friend, who was glad he was safe and was saying bad things about Bonzo when Ender breaks out crying and when asked if he is okay answers, I didn’t want to hurt him! Why didn’t he just leave me alone!(Card 304 par. 2) In both of these fights it would be the boy’s last act to fight Ender. What ender dosen’t realize is that having a multidimensional personality makes him individualized from Peter. When Peter is fighting with someone he just focuses on exposing their weaknesses, while ender is understanding his opponents and feeling compassion for them while simultaneously demolishing them. In the end of the book Ender is tricked into destroying an alien race known as buggers. After he realizes what he has done, Ender goes into a coma-like state and dosen’t wake up. This was the price he paid to learn his lesson of being individual and not being afraid of becoming Peter.
Ender’s internal struggle was based off the fear that he was no better than or just like Peter. However after destroying the buggers and being deceived, he understands and loved the buggers. Through the journey of his many experiences Ender comes to realize that the source of his self doubt, that he was like Peter and destroyed without compassion, was false and deceptive. While in reality his compassion and understanding of his foes differentiated him from Peter which gives him his unique personality and mentality. While his physical fear of Peter evolved into something else his fear of becoming Peter never went away. Even at the place where no one was ever better than he was, Peter followed and haunted him throughout battle school. After he killed all the buggers, ender went into a comma where he had horrible dreams while he continued to think, I never wanted to kill anybody. Nobody ever asked me if I ever wanted to kill anybody. In these dreams, he sees all the things that he has done that made him feel like Peter, in real life and in the fantasy game. When Ender finally wakes up all his friends are there to help and congratulate him, and he almost kills one of his friends when he goes to wake him up. It is then that he finally realizes that he is a killer and can’t change that, so he decides that he won’t be like Peter and will have compassion and the mere fact that he has empathy makes him completely different from Peter. In conclusion, Ender shows us an important lesson of individualism and being who you are and not being someone else.
Ender's Game: A Military-Dystopian Novel
In the military-dystopian novel, Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, Ender, the younger brother of Peter and Valentine, goes through many difficulties during the story. Due to the fact that he still has his monitor residing in his neck, he gets bullied a lot. Most kids his age don’t have their monitors because they are not fit to be accepted as leaders by the government, but because Ender still has his monitor, so he is considered different.
Although he is viewed as a weak person because he is bullied, his growing character stood out to me the most. Throughout the book, Ender’s most important character traits that helped him through tough times or just complimented his personality was his persistence, adaptiveness, and his empathy. With these character traits, he grows into a stronger individual, which eventually had a greater effect in the end.
Ender’s persistence allows him to overpower the challenge of isolation throughout his stay at Battle School. His trainer, Colonel Graff, isolates him to avoid distractions including other people so that he will learn how to encourage him to rely on his own strengths and intelligence. The fear stayed, all through dinner as no one sat by him in the mess hall. The other boys were talking about things – the big scoreboard on one wall, the food, the bigger kids. Ender could only watch in isolation.(Card 31) Because of Ender’s persistence, he tries to form allies and build friendships ceaselessly, successfully displaying his persistent personality. They [Shen and Ender] laughed together, and two other launchies joined them. Ender’s isolation was over.(Card 39) Even when Ender joins a brand new group filled with older kids who detest him, he continues to persist and eventually finds a way to train and learn the abilities he needs to achieve success.
Ender Wiggin’s adaptive character personality helps him adapt to a variety of circumstances which allows him to get through many obstacles. At first, he struggles to perform properly without his monitor. However, when he fights Stilson, he proves that he can defend himself without the monitor. Even though there are kids who resent Ender, he is able to learn throughout his stay at Battle School and Command School which clearly portrays his adaptability. Ender manages to work with a brand new team when his teacher transfers him to Salamander Army. even though he’s seen as a competition by the team, particularly its leader Bonzo, thanks to his strong capabilities as a launchy, he’s still able to adapt to his discouraging team, Bonzo’s rules and also the unpleasant surroundings. Since Bonzo had ordered him not to draw his weapon, Ender continued to drift, not moving his head or arms, as if they had been frozen too.(Card 125) As an inexperienced and young member of the Battle school, Ender effectively adapts to being a leader when he’s promoted to lead an army of his own. At the end of the week Dragon Army had fought seven battles in seven days. The score stood 7 wins and 0 losses.(Card 224) Despite the fact that Ender is still very young, colonel Graff exhausts his army by putting them in multiple battles nearly every day. Again, this shows Ender’s adaptability when he has to adapt to different circumstances in order to become a successful leader.
Ender’s empathic abilities are evident throughout the entire book as he communicates with other characters. Near the beginning of the book, when Ender plays Buggers and Astronauts with his brother, he puts himself into the buggers position; making an attempt to sense what they feel, think, and the way they would move. He put on the mask. It closed him in like a hand pressed tight against his face. but this isn’t how it feels a bugger, thought Ender On their home worlds, do the buggers put on human masks, and play?(Card 8) And then in the end, Ender greatly displays his empathy for the buggers. Ender chooses to listen to the Bugger Queen’s words. This is something that no one else would be able to do since the Bugger Queen had attacked earth. From this, Ender learns from the Bugger Queen that they didn’t intend to hurt the human race. In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.(Card 168) With the help of Ender’s empathy, peace is created between the him and the buggers and he starts to appreciate the ones who were once called the “enemy.”
The boy that was once bullied because he was different, became a very independent and developed character. From being a character of no importance, Orson Scott Card shows us Ender’s developed character and his most important traits which includes his persistence, adaptiveness, and his empathy. Throughout the story, Ender was able to get through thick and thin, displaying how much his character grew. If it weren’t for Ender’s persistence, adaptiveness, and empathy, he wouldn’t have made out alive from Battle School and there would’ve also been new problems with the Bugger Queen. These character traits of Ender truly made his character stand out to me in this book, showing me the character development it ended up having.
My Impressions From Ender's Game
Although this book is based on a futuristic image this book Ender’s Game is one of its kind. It’s a science fiction book written by Orson Scott Card. The reason why I choose this book because it gives a display of memories of what a heroic image is. The memories gave a rooted understanding on moral issues, making personal sacrifices and imposing self-discipline. Card wrote four novels in a series about Ender and the story of his life. The publisher of Ender’s Game is a company called Tom Doherty Associates. Card was born on 24 August, 1951. He is an American author, critic, public speaker, essayist and political activist. He wrote books in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. Card novel “Ender’s Game” and its sequel “Speaker for the Dead”1986 both won Hugo and Nebula Awards.
The setting of Ender’s Game was generally on earth and the school in space. The season based on when he came back to earth was summer based on the description of the time by the heat and sunburns that Ender got. The time of the whole event seemed to take place probably in the twenty-second century. This is shown through the advanced technology: the monitor, battleships, Dr. Device and other things such as computers. Most of the book took place inside of the Battle School, a school for young elites and intelligent children.
The list of the description of characters are consist of:
Ender – The younger brother of Peter and Valentine, six year old Ender is chosen by Colonel Graff to help save the earth from the buggers. Ender has a strong fear of his brother and loves his sister. Ender has a strong mind and learns to overcome situations by the age of nine he is given his own army to command. Ender held an anger towards the people who manipulated him throughout the novel.
Valentine Valentine is Ender’s older sister. She became his protector especially from their older brother Peter. Valentine grew a strong interest in the world’s political views and began to spark influence over the growing situation.
Peter – Ender’s older brother Peter is gifted and very manipulative. He has a similar strength towards the only difference is that he acts without no remorse. Colonel Graff – Graff has a strong faith in Ender although he manipulates him, he also loved him for who he was. Graff is the head of the Battle School until Ender left. He is one of the few characters who actually allowed Ender to be his child like self and also demanded him to be better. He was also put under trial after the war for the deaths of Stilson and Bonzo.
Mazer Rackham Rackham is one of Ender’s last teachers. Rackham is also one of those who misled Ender into thinking he is causing confusion and explains to him that no one but a child could have won the war.
Major Anderson – Second in command to Colonel Graff at the Battle School, Major Anderson main responsibility is to setup the battle room scenarios.
Bean – Ender’s last friend at Battle School, Bean is very intelligent and unique in his own way. Bean helps Ender throughout the time with the Dragon Army and hold on to humanity. He became one of Ender’s commanders against the buggers.
Alai As the story continues Alai became Ender’s best friend and helped him gained popularity among the other recruits.
Dink Meeker – Ender’s platoon leader in Rat Army, Dink has a very great mind when came to strategy.
Petra Arkanian – Petra taught Ender how to fight in the battle room. Through the book they remained acquaintances and became one of Ender’s commanders for the battle against the buggers.
Bonzo Madrid – Bonzo is an enemy of Ender’s and the commander of Salamander Army. He faced a man to man battle with Ender’ which also brought him to his death.
StilsonStilson is an enemy of Ender’s and usually would gang him at the time before battle school. Later on in the book he also died from a battle from Ender.
Crazy Tom Crazy Tom one of Ender’s toon leaders in Dragon Army. He is very persistent in the way he thinks and quickly look at situation.
The book starts off when Ender was six years old. Ender’s real name is Andrew Wiggin, but he was given the name of Ender as a nickname. Ender has one sister called Valentine and one brother named Peter. Ender had a strong bond between Valentines because they both exchange a very like-minded approach towards their political views. All the children in the school wore a device on their neck that allows people to monitor their every actions. The leaders did this because they wanted to select the smartest of all the children handpicked to create a battle team of soldiers and commanders. This concept was done because an alien race attacked the earth over fifty years ago, So the humans strategized themselves to be ready for the next attack.
Ender losing the monitor placed on his neck, a device which gave access to the government to see and hear whatever he feels. The device was later remove separating him from his pairs. He is the third child of his family which led him to be subjected to scorn and derision.Valentine his older sister grew to become his protector, As Peter continue to grow in envy to brutalize them both. Colonial Hyrum Graff convinced Ender to accompany him to Battle School. At the battle school he will train to fight the Buggers, the aliens that invaded the earth almost fifty years ago and almost destroyed mankind.
In the conclusion of it all Ender’s Game is a fiction book which gives an insight and reflection of the real world we live today. Making personal sacrifices and day to day adjustments I will definitely recommend this book to anyone.
How Manipulation Functions in Ender’s Game
The Ender’s Game, written by Orson Scott Card, presents a futuristic setting where the government selectively chooses, controls and trains young prodigies to win the endless battles against the “buggers” or aliens. Ender, the main character of this novel, is a six-year-old prodigy who lives with two siblings, Peter and Valentine who both underwent government monitoring. The government forces Ender to act the way they would like by monitoring him constantly, and tricks Ender into being a part of the International Fleet to fight against the buggers. Ender skips some ranks in the battle schools as he quickly learns the war techniques and skills. The teachers isolate and manipulate Ender on purpose to bring out Ender’s inner killer instinct like his older brother, Peter. Due to the officials’ strict control of Ender’s life and his time in battle schools Ender undergoes a series of challenges and faces a social isolation. How the government controlled Ender was inhumane, and the officials’ lack of recognition and reluctance on this issue eventually cause mental and emotional distress as well as depression.
In chapter one, Card portrays how the government manipulates Ender through the monitor. “‘We were connected directly to your brain. We heard all that you heard, whether you were listening carefully or not. Whether you understood or not. We understand’” (Card 23). The conversation shows that the officials have closely monitored Ender, even before he started battle school and took his privacy away. It also gave the government the capability to have an early manipulation on him. The government has invaded Ender’s privacy, even before he was mature enough to consider any contracts between him and someone else. The government took advantage of Ender’s ignorance in his childhood, taking away his privacy and manipulating him.
The officials isolate Ender socially to help him concentrate on his training, so that he would quickly be ready to fight the buggers. “With Ender, we have to strike a delicate balance. Isolate him enough that he remains creative – otherwise he’ll adopt the system here and we’ll lose him‘’”(Card 27). The conversation between the officials depicts what they are going to do to Ender – to isolate him so that he won’t have any friends that might “distract” him from being a commander to win the war with buggers. Also, the officials made Ender become brutal to other people, turning him into a murderer. Card manifests another social isolation by quoting, “The fear stayed, all through dinner as no one sat by him in the mess hall. The other boys were talking about things – the big scoreboard on one wall, the food, the bigger kids. Ender could only watch in isolation”(41). Card carefully describes the isolation of Ender in the dining hall, and his description shows that the officials have successfully isolated Ender. As a result, Ender becomes socially isolated, which made Ender emotionally and mentally distressed.
After the final game between Mazer Rackham and Ender, Colonel Graff reveals to Ender that the officials had manipulated him into killing the buggers, instead of playing war simulation games with Mazer Rackham. Colonel Graff quotes, “‘Of course we tricked you into it. That’s the whole point … You had to become a weapon, Ender. Like a gun, like the Little Doctor, functioning perfectly but not knowing what you were aimed at’”(Card 298). It is clear that the officials had manipulated Ender through feeding him endless lies and going against Ender’s actual desire. Ender didn’t want to be a killer or murderer, but the officials had deceived Ender to win the war. The government’s control and manipulation affected Ender emotionally, since Ender didn’t want to “become Peter” after decimating the enemies. The government’s lies to Ender were wrong, and they need to be responsible for affecting Ender’s emotion negatively, since Ender especially felt regretful for killing the buggers.
The government’s enforcement of abusive manipulation on Ender has affected his mental and emotional states. After all, the government initiated manipulation on Ender through the monitor, socially isolated Ender, and fed Ender endless lies to achieve what they wanted at the end. As a victim in the government’s devious plan, Ender underwent a great depression, both emotionally and mentally. However, the government did not even bother to help Ender out in the least bit. These events show the government officials’ cruelty and inhmane treatment towards Ender. What the government did to Ender to achieve what they want was inhumane, and their manipulation must stop so people like Ender and other prodigies can make their own decisions for more growth and independence.
Maturity in Ender’s Game: A State of Mind, Not a Physical Quality
When a person is referred to as ‘mature’, it does not necessarily mean that he/she must be an adult. In Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, maturity is a recurring theme. Yet, the main characters are mainly comprised of children. This brings forth the idea that age cannot be the deciding factor when judging one’s maturity. The characteristics that typically make up maturity are only presumed to come with age. Shown throughout the novel Ender’s Game, maturity is a state of mind developed by experience rather than a characteristic that only develops with age.
In Ender’s Game, the main protagonist is a young boy named Andrew, or Ender, Wiggin. As the reader will find out right from the beginning, Ender is different from the other kids. However, there is one trait that he and his fellow students share: none of them are childish. “Ender’s Game is one novel brave enough to really look at children without making them childish” (Kelly 112). The children in the novel do not act like typical children their ages. In fact, they are shown to be quite mature for their ages, especially Ender. Ender is constantly bullied by the other boys he goes to school with. But when the reader sees how he reacts to it, it is not in the way that one would expect from a child as young as him. “Ender’s response to the other boys’ bullying is more intelligent and calculating, as everything Ender does is, and Card uses it to show another aspect of childhood, the struggle between intellect and fear” (Kelly 113). Normally, a child may cry and run away, or act completely on impulse, but not Ender. He seems to know what he’s doing. He is able to plan things out in his head efficiently. This assists in differentiating him from other kids, showing that he is smarter and thinks differently than them. This, of course, only makes him a target for more bullying. “Yet he possesses a genius and mature assuredness that makes him a target for abuse by peergroup bullies and adults who are in control” (Kelly 112). When Ender is involved in these types of situations, it is his quick wit and “mature assuredness” that gets him out mostly unharmed. He reacts almost as if he already has experience in these situations because he is able to calculate the results of his possible actions. This starts to bring up an underlying tone of maturity. Ender’s thought processes early on show that he is advanced and make him seem mature to the reader even though he is only a young child.
Although Ender seems to be the one character most obviously showing development of maturity, he is not the only one to act in this way. One of these characters who seems to already be grown up is Ender’s brother, Peter. “Peter…seems patterned on evil geniuses…but never does he show a hint of a child’s mental formation. He is fully grown from the start—an adult” (Kelly 114). As soon as the reader is introduced to Peter, it is evident that he is a very aggressive and violent character. While getting to know Peter as a character, the reader realizes that although Peter is technically a child, he shows no aspects of being childish. He also seems to have already developed his personality, which is not something that is common in a child. Peter’s multiple cruel actions are not impulsive, either, like a troubled child’s may be. For example, when Peter makes Ender play “buggers and astronauts” with him, he kneels on Ender’s torso, making it hard for him to breath: “‘I could kill you like this,’ Peter whispered. ‘Just press and press until you’re dead. And I could say that I didn’t know it would hurt you, that we were just playing, and they’d believe me, and everything would be fine. And you’d be dead. Everything would be fine’” (Card 12). Everything he does is thought out and planned, and he is fully aware of what he is doing. He is often shown to be smarter than the average adult. Because Peter is represented in this way – an “evil genius” – it is like he never had to grow up; he is already an adult in every way except age. This demonstrates the idea that maturity does not rely solely on age for development. Another portrayal of this idea is the character Valentine, the sister of Peter and Ender. Valentine is like Peter in the way that she calculates things. When the two siblings decide to cooperate in order to communicate their ideas with the world over the internet, the only things holding them back are their legal ages. “The only thing separating Peter and Valentine from adulthood…is the fact that the world can see that they are children and therefore discriminates against them for it” (Kelly 114). Once they are able to get on the nets appearing as adults, they are able to speak without being disputed. The recurring question of what effect age truly has regarding maturity is once again raised in the novel. Although children may have the same ideas as adults, they are often not taken seriously simply because they are children. Even if their personalities have already been developed, the world still sees them as nothing other than children. The character Bean is another example of the common theme of already being grown up. “He was a soldier, and if anyone had asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he wouldn’t have known what they meant” (Card 224). Bean, although technically a child, knows what he is in life: a soldier. This not something typical of a child, but rather something an adult might feel. This also hints at the repeated idea of not needing to grow up. Bean already knows who he is and does not need to grow up to figure it out. It is also possible that Bean feels grown up by this time – maybe not physically, but mentally. And maturity is predominantly a mental quality, meaning that Bean is already mature because of his obvious lack of needing to grow up, similar to Peter and Valentine. Maturity is constantly being represented as something that is figurative rather than literal, because the most mature people in the book are the children.
The way it is illustrated in Ender’s Game, maturity is something that is forced upon the children if they have not yet developed it. One case of this is when the gifted children chosen for Battle School are introduced to the reader. “Children must also possess an ability to adapt quickly to new situations; empathy, or the ability to understand and care for others, is also a valuable character trait” (“Ender’s Game” 107). If they have not yet started to display certain characteristics, they are essentially forced into quickly developing their personalities to fit the military system. This is basically forced maturity. An example of this is when the adults that run Battle School are talking about Ender, after he has arrived: “‘His isolation can’t be broken. He can never come to believe that anyone will come to help him out, ever’” (Card 38). In this quote, it can be seen that the adults already have a plan to develop Ender to their liking. The Battle School system is specifically meant to take advanced children and make it so that they develop themselves even faster for the benefit of society. “The military is purposefully structured to be unjust, breaking those who cannot rise above injustice fast enough” (Blackmore 115). Those who run the military know what they are doing, and use unfairness to their advantage. If only the ‘strong’ children who are able to develop quickly can move on, then the system is kept at its most efficient. Yet, being able to deal with injustice effectively is generally something adults are faced with, and this time it relates to children. This shows that it is possible for children to be mature, because if it wasn’t, then the entire foundation of Battle School would fail. One of the tools that the adults of Battle School use to mold the kids – especially Ender – to their liking is isolation. “Isolation makes dependence on others impossible; Ender is forced to fall back on and develop his own resources” (Blackmore 117). Since Battle School is up in space, the children are extremely far away from their families down on Earth. This forces them to rely on themselves for their own well-being. “Parental authority is replaced by dependence on the self” (Blackmore 117). These kids no longer have their parents to guide them and tell them what to do. The only orders they’ll receive are those from their commanding officers. That is not something that children are used to; rather, it is something characteristic of adults. But in Battle School, that is what they come to expect and are forced to adapt to. So, in a way, it is like the children in Battle School are not really children. One of the characters who is a kid in Battle School, Dink, has been taking note of this fact during his time at the school. “‘…I’ve got a pretty good idea what children are, and we aren’t children. Children can lose sometimes and nobody cares. Children aren’t in armies, they aren’t commanders, they don’t rule over forty other kids, it’s more than anybody can take and not get crazy’” (Card 108). Dink acknowledges that the kids in Battle School aren’t really children, because of the thing that they are made to do – not normal ‘kid things’. When the children are put into severe situations more commonly associated with adults, it makes them seem less and less like actual children. This again illustrates the forced maturity brought onto the children when they are chosen for the school. The characteristics that make up what most people think of as maturity are also able to be seen in the children in Battle School. “‘That’s right, we never cry…Nobody ever cries. We really are trying to be adults’” (Card 109). Dink says this to Ender when he sees that Ender was starting to tear up after something he said but told Dink he was fine. Not crying is typically a stereotype of adults. Yet, the children in Battle School learn not to cry because it shows weakness, and weakness is the core thing that the adults at Battle School want to beat out of the kids. The children who are ‘weak’ do not make it up to becoming commanders. Most clearly evident in Battle School, the adults are forcing the children to ‘grow up’, but since they cannot literally age quicker, they must mature, once again showing that it is a state of mind.
When maturity is described in Ender’s Game, age is generally the last thing that comes to mind. Going back to the time when Peter is trying to convince Valentine to go on the internet with him to share their ideas with the world, they have the following dialogue exchange:
“Peter, you’re twelve.”
“Not on the nets I’m not. On the nets I can name myself anything I want, and so can you” (Card 129).
Peter is telling Valentine that he can create a fake representation of himself on the nets; he does not have to be 12-year-old Peter. This shows that Peter may literally be a child, but he is not in other aspects, such as his way of thinking. On the nets, people will believe he is an adult if he is listed as one because of the way he thinks and articulates his ideas. The contrasting viewpoints in the Ender’s Game also help to show the overarching similarities between the adults and the children. “Card forces the reader to move between two viewpoints: that of the suspicious, manipulated child and that of the paranoid, utilitarian machine worker” (Blackmore 116). There is a common understanding of the injustices at Battle School between the adults and most of the children. The “machine worker” refers to the adults of the military system, and a number of children know that they are being fooled by them. They are being tricked into believing that they are individuals at Battle School and they all have a chance at greatness. But there are a few of the kids who know that they are only being used collectively by the adults to attempt to save society. They know what the true intentions of the adults are. Dink is one of these kids. “‘I can’t believe you haven’t seen through all this crap yet, Ender. But I guess you’re young’” (Card 107). He says this to Ender after explaining that the corruption of the military system is what kept him from accepting promotions to become a commander. He doesn’t want to be manipulated anymore by the teachers. Dink’s reasoning for why Ender is still alright with the military system is that he is young. Being young usually means that one is naïve due to a lack of experience in the world. Dink realizes that because Ender is young, he is also naïve, and so he hasn’t yet come to see all of the corruption that goes on at Battle School. At this moment, Dink is shown to have an obvious sense of maturity because of his ability to recognize corruption, which is typically something that adults would do. The children and the adults in Ender’s Game are definitely not the same, but it is not their levels of maturity that separate them from one another.
Card has a discreet way of separating his child characters from his adult characters and making his child characters actually believable as children. Fear is often used in the novel to show the difference between the children and the grown-ups. It is a lot easier for fear to take over the minds of children. “Fear pushing intellect into the back seat is a reasonable characterization of childhood” (Kelly 114). Fear can be very powerful in people, most notably in children. This fact is used to portray many of the children’s emotions in Ender’s Game, as subtle as it may be. Feelings of fear and anxiety can cause rational thinking to be side-stepped, making reasonable thoughts hard to come by and resulting in impulsive actions, especially in fast-paced situations. “Insecurity is unavoidable in new situations, and in childhood everything is a new situation—maturity is just a matter of recognizing repeating patterns, and without comforting recognition, all these kids have to protect themselves with is violence” (Kelly 112-113). Most prevalent in Battle School, the children are shown to be insecure with their surroundings. This is one of the most contributing factors in differentiating between the kids and the adults. The adults who run the military system are obviously very familiar with what they are doing. The children, however, have no experience in this whatsoever. They are away from their homes and families, and being put in situations with other kids, such as simulated battles, that they have never been in before. So, in order to establish some sense of control, they tend to resort to violence. This ‘control’ would, of course, only be over other students at Battle School. The adults are the ones with the ultimate power and control in the military system. “…reviewers especially applauded Card’s compelling portrayal of Ender as an innocent child being manipulated by controlling adults” (“Ender’s Game 111). Throughout most of the novel, Ender is known as the child who is younger and smaller than everyone else. Even when he has become the top commander in school, he is still the “little boy” out of all of his fellow commanders. “They couldn’t beat him in the battle room, and they knew it—so instead they would attack him where it was safe, where he was not a giant but just a little boy” (Card 187). This portrayal causes the reader to feel sympathy for him, something that is not felt when the reader is introduced to the adults of the book. This also separates the adults and the children in the reader’s mind. However, even though there are these small differences between the two groups, there are much more noticeable similarities. “…no distinction is made between a child’s insatiable ego and the evil genius’s power-hunger” (Kelly 114). Adult characteristics, such as “power-hunger”, are combined with things that represent children, like naivety, almost making it seem like there is no difference between the two. This implies that is quite possible for children to be mature, even though it is not traditional. There is a fine line separating the children from the adults in Ender’s Game, which again suggests that it is completely plausible that children can be mature, just as adults are.
The mature way in children are characterized in Ender’s Game is fitting for the story, and, in a way, justifies how similar they can be to adults. If the kids in the novel had been like stereotypical young children, the plot would fail and nothing would make sense. Card feels this way about his portrayal of his child characters: “…considering it an innovation, as if the only alternative would be having the cadets in the Battle School play marbles and talk baby talk” (Kelly 112). He considers it a positive addition to the story. Card’s opinion is again evidenced in the novel, when Colonel Graff and Major Anderson are having a conversation about the way the children in Battle School act:
“Does it ever seem to you that these boys aren’t children? I look at what they do, the way they talk, and they don’t seem like little kids.”
“They’re the most brilliant children in the world, each in his own way.”
“But shouldn’t they still act like children? They aren’t normal. They act like-history. Napoleon and Wellington. Caesar and Brutus” (Card 66-67).
It would seem rather foolish if the children in the book acted how people may expect them to as typical children considering the extreme circumstances they are involved in. Having the children show adult characteristics is a large part of the story and helps it to progress. Not only does this characterization of children work very well with the story, but it also provides the reader with an honest perspective of children. “…they are not any more vicious than kids are in real life, or could be” (Kelly 112). The kids in Ender’s Game are made more relatable to the reader because Card is truly being honest about them. “…they praise Card for his unflinching honesty about the cunning and cruelty, the wisdom and humanity, of children” (Kelly 112). He is providing a correct interpretation of who children really are and how they behave in reality, rather than using the stereotypical child archetype. Most of the children in Ender’s Game are gifted children. They are more advanced, so of course they are going to seem more mature. The level of maturity demonstrated by children in the novel only makes their characters more fitting for the story and believable to readers because it shows that children can indeed be mature, just like how they may act in real life.
Blackmore, Tim. “Ender’s Game.” Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 115-118. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1994. Print.
“Ender’s Game.” Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 99-121. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.
Kelly, David J. “Ender’s Game.” Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 112-115. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.
The Use of Perception of Reality: A Close Reading of Ender’s Game
“Real. Not a game. Ender’s mind was too tired to cope with it all. They weren’t just points of light in the air, they were real ships that he had fought with and real ships he had destroyed. And a real world that he had blasted into oblivion…” (Page 229)
This passage is quoted from the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card — a narrative depicting a young boy’s isolated struggle whilst training to save the world from an approaching war with an insect-like alien species known as the buggers. Through the displayed example of Ender’s perception of reality being altered, Card uses symbolism to demonstrate the thematic concept of games vs. reality. When faced with factors such as Bonzo, and restrictions, Ender must be willing to do what benefits the greater good — carrying these skills over when faced to the Third invasion. Through the Fantasy Game, Ender is able to live through scenarios that directly reflect Ender’s life, and mind through symbolism. This can be exemplified by Ender seeing his own siblings in the game. When Ender dreams of the “End of the World,” he is able to replay the final chapter of his Command School life in order to cope with how he feels he is similar to Peter, due to his unintentional destructive nature and demise of the bugger world. This, as a whole, exemplifies a deeper emotional connection to the factors pressing on him outside of the game after he learns the game was merely the war in disguise. Through all three concepts, Ender’s game becomes his reality as time progresses.
When living in a society where the responsibility to save the world falls upon those of children, it can be assumed that the level of maturity would be sped up to adapt with the task at hand. However, there is irony in the fact that Bonzo Madrid, commander of the Salamander army, feels a strike in his pride when someone inferior to him appears to be better than him. Due to this, Bonzo tries his best to restrict Ender from having the opportunity to better himself; going as far as to restrict his free time. “You’ll do what I tell you, you little bastard. That’s right, sir. I’ll follow all the orders that you’re authorized to give. But free play is free. No assignments can be given. None. By anyone. While you’re in Salamander Army, you’ll obey me. If you try to control my free play, I can get you iced.” (Page 69) In this instance, Bonzo believes he can fully overthrow Ender, as he is perceived as someone who can be easily pushed over due to his age. However, when threatened to be removed from command at the cost of Ender’s free time, Bonzo switches his strategy to simply waiting to trade Ender out, and in the meantime, restricting all his authorized orders. When placed against the Leopard army, Ender exemplifies his dilemma of bettering himself versus following the rules; choosing to better himself by slowing slipping through the gate, into the game. “Everyone in Leopard Army assumed that it bad been a strategy of Bonzo’s, to leave a man till the last minute. It didn’t occur to them that little Ender had fired against orders. But Salamander Army knew. Bonzo knew, and Ender could see from the way the commander looked at him that Bouzo hated him for rescuing him from total defeat. I don’t care, Ender told himself. It will just make me easier to trade away, and in the meantime you won’t drop so far in the standings.” (Page 74) Through this conflict, along with many others, Ender is able to learn that the games can’t always be solved by the stereotypical strategies. These experiences allow for Ender to enhance his willingness to new ideas, due to the fact that he believes there will be minimal consequences. Even when taken to command school, Ender is able to apply the skills learned from Battle School and especially Bonzo because the perception of the game allows Ender to take risks that he wouldn’t have if he were to know it was real.
In the eyes of Ender Wiggin, going to Battle School was seen as a blessing to move away from his older brother Peter’s sadistic nature. However, while this came as an advantage, it also didn’t fully work out in his favor due to the fact that Ender had leave behind the only person who ever loved him: Valentine. Before Ender’s departure to Battle School, both his siblings had represented two varying things in his mind: compassion, and ruthlessness. Valentine was perceived as his protector, while Peter was seen as his abuser. “I could kill you like this,” Peter whispered. “Just press and press until you’re dead. And I could say that I didn’t know it would hurt you, that we were just playing, and they’d believe me, and everything would be fine. And you’d be dead. Everything would be fine.” Ender could not speak; the breath was being forced from his lungs. Peter might mean it. Probably didn’t mean it, but then he might. “I’ll tell,” Valentine said… “Oh, yes,” said Valentine. “They’ll believe that. ‘I didn’t know it would kill Andrew. And when he was dead, I didn’t know it would kill Valentine too.'” The pressure let up a little.” (Page 10) However, while Ender left both his siblings on Earth behind, they both lived in his mind, as well as in the Fantasy Game. Although, Ender holds compassion in his heart, and uses violence for reasons of self defense, he always believes that when he inflicts violence on others, he has liven up to the nature of Peter. After a battle strikes out between the Launchies, and older boys, Ender ends up hurting four people, resulting in an “ACCIDENTAL COLLISION IN NULL G.” (Page 91) Shortly after, Ender logs onto the Fantasy Game, and sees himself as Peter in the mirror, thus reflecting the events that happened prior. “He stepped on the head of the snake and crushed it under his foot. It writhed and twisted under him, and in response he twisted and ground it deeper into the stone floor. Finally it was still. Ender picked it up and shook it, until it unwove itself and the pattern in the rug was gone. Then, still dragging the snake behind him, he began to look for a way out. Instead, he found a mirror. And in the mirror he saw a face that he easily recognized. It was Peter, with blood dripping down his chin and a snake’s tail protruding from a corner of his mouth. Ender shouted and thrust his desk from him.” (Page 91) However, Peter does not only appear in the Fantasy Game, Valentine does as well. “This time he caught it in his hands, knelt before it, and gently, so gently, brought the snake’s gaping mouth to his lips. And kissed. And the snake in his hands thickened and bent into another shape. A human shape. It was Valentine, and she kissed him again…She arose from the floor of the tower room and walked to the mirror. Ender made his figure also rise and go with her. They stood before the mirror, where instead of Peter’s cruel reflection there stood a dragon and a unicorn…Tears filled his eyes, tears of relief that at last he had broken free of the End of the World. And because of the tears, he didn’t notice that every member of the multitude wore Peter’s face. He only knew that wherever he went in this world, Valentine was with him.” (Page 118) After many trials of facing the snake to only die as Peter, Ender ends up kissing the snake, thus transforming into Valentine. While Ender constantly views himself as Peter in the game, he realizes that with the use of compassion in the game, and in reality, there will always be a part of him that is Valentine. Through seeing a unicorn in the mirror, the symbolism of positive change in the world is shown through, being that Ender realizes there is an ounce of Valentine in him, and that he is not purely Peter. The ability of seeing he is capable of having both parts Peter and Valentine in himself allows for Ender to see that within himself, there is no dominant portion between the two, thus reflecting his ability to reflect his life, and mind.
To cope with unintentionally destroying an entire race without any knowledge of doing so, Ender begins to experience dreams about the buggers and the “End of the World.” In his thoughts, Ender leaps from a cliff and is brought to the bugger world, to repeatedly witness the destruction of the bugger world he had caused. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to kill anybody. But the forest laughed at him. And when he leapt from the cliff at the End of the World, sometimes it was not clouds that caught him, but a fighter that carried him to a vantage point near the surface of the buggers’ world, so he could watch, over and over, the eruption of death when Dr. Device set off a reaction on the planet’s face; then closer and closer, until he could watch individual buggers explode, turn to light, then collapse into a pile of dirt before his eyes.” (Page 231) The “End of the World,” essentially allows Ender to replay his last recollection of the Third Invasion, as he is tricked into ending the war. Not only does Ender feel remorse for his actions against the buggers, but upset at Rackham and Graff for using him. In addition to this, Ender being traumatized from a young age, as well as through the Fantasy Game is perceived to believe that he is the mere reflection of Peter. For Ender to be tricked into destroying an entire species without any knowledge, allows for Ender to draw a similarity to his brother, whom he never would want to be remotely compared to.
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game depicts the distinction between games and reality; mainly exemplified through the willingness to disobey the rules to benefit the overall goal of saving the world, Fantasy Game, and the“End of the World,”. With the of willingness to benefit the overall goal of saving the world, Ender is depicted as being able to enhance his inclination to new ideas, due to the fact that he believes there will be no consequences. His experience with Bonzo further enhances this skill by examining his own moral compass as to what the most beneficial action he could do would be, such as disobeying orders to better himself, as well as the entire team. This carries over to his time in Command School because not only does it further his strategy to win the stimulation, but the overall Third Invasion.
With the Fantasy Game, Ender is able to live in the game with symbols that directly reflect Ender’s life, and mind. Through the game, Anderson and Graff are able to monitor this, and are able to detect Ender’s feelings, as well as what he is thinking whilst training at Battle School. Examples of this would be seeing Peter and Valentine implemented into the game, both symbolizing different images in Ender’s perception. In regard to the “End of the World,” Ender is able to replay the final chapter of his Command School life in order to cope with how he feels he is similar to Peter, due to his unintentional destructive nature and demise of the bugger world. While Card tackles many different themes and concepts throughout the novel, his most powerful literary elements are symbolism, and the theme of perception of reality which he exhibits through a variety of characters, and concepts.
The Mark of Isolation in Adolescence
Adolescence marks a time for social interaction. Between school, sports and other activities, these social settings are the platform for peer groups to form and either accept a child or create an outcast. “The peer group has been defined as the constellation of associates of similar age and interest” (Lombardi 307). When a child is simply different, they fall outside of this constellation of interest, and therefore, fall outside of the peer group as well. Depending on the stage of development, “peer group influence can be a most significant factor,” ranging from their effect on academic performance to the development of emotional intelligence in youth (Lombardi 308). In Mark Haddon’s “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, Christopher Boone clearly differs from other youth, and his disinterest in associating with others is readily apparent as well. While Ender Wiggin from Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” also differs from other youth, he maintains an interest in forming bonds with others, and views them as useful for his personal development. This essay argues that even though both characters are isolated and considerable outcasts in their respective peer groups, in contrast to Ender Wiggins who despises his state of isolation and longs for the support of his friends and family, Christopher Boone does not comprehend or desire interactions with others due to his Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis.
As the first person narrator of “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, Christopher Boone’s Asperger’s syndrome becomes apparent because of his disregard for social norms and desire for isolation from peer groups and society. He begins by explaining the mystery of the murder of Wellington, the neighbor’s dog. He fails to introduce himself as a character until after he explains Wellington in chapter one, thus displaying his pre-occupation with the subject matter, and failing to follow social norms where one would typically introduce himself first. When he finally introduces himself in chapter three, it is almost as if he is following a script starting with “my name is Christopher John Francis Boone” (Haddon 2). He proceeds to explain his interests as if he is answering a question before someone has the opportunity to ask it: “I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7057” (2). These facts are as important to Christopher as his identity; they are the same to him. Christopher goes on to display pictures of smiley faces with differing expressions, explaining how he understands happiness and sadness, but cannot recognize the others. Christopher has significant difficulty recognizing emotions in others where “if [he does not] know what someone is saying, [he asks] them what they mean or [he walks] away” (3). These are the reader’s first hints at Christopher’s features of Asperger’s syndrome where he exhibits “difficulty in communicating, difficulty in social relationships, and often a lack of creativity” (Dosani 33). Although Christopher cannot express or understand his desires, he is “subject to the same hopes and feelings as the rest of us, but [finds] it difficult to learn our ‘social’ ropes” (McClure 1247). One can also assume an individual with Asperger’s syndrome lacks emotional intelligence, which Salovey defines as “viewing emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment” (281). Christopher’s lack of emotional intelligence hinders his ability to establish relationships with peers, as he cannot relate to or even recognize emotions in others.
In contrast to Christopher’s inability to read others, Ender has an extraordinary ability to sense his opponent’s weaknesses and extort them when necessary. Ender understands that “no one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do…Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong” (Card 263). When Stilson begins to bully Ender, he evaluates the escalating situation where “anything [he says] will make it worse. So [he] will say nothing” (7). Stilson refuses to stop, and even though his entourage releases their grip, Ender takes them by surprise and “[kicks] out high and hard, catching Stilson square in the breastbone. He [drops]” (7). Ender realises he has to “win this now, and for all time, or [he] will fight it every day and it will get worse and worse” (7). Ender is able to evaluate that by taking his opponents by surprise, their strengths are insignificant. To win this, Ender “[walks] to Stilson’s supine body and [kicks] him again, viciously, in the ribs…Ender [walks] around him and [kicks] him again, in the crotch” (7). By shocking his opponents, Ender reduces the possibility of future retaliation by urging them to “remember what [he does] to people who try to hurt [him]” (7). In contrast to Christopher, Ender not only recognizes, but also uses emotions to his advantage. In combat, Ender must completely understand his opponent in order to win; he predicts the emotional responses of others and plans accordingly. The reader notices that Christopher struggles to comprehend the subjects of his investigation, which subsequently suffers. While the consequences of losing are significantly more serious for Ender, Christopher would not be able to accomplish the same emotional understanding even under the pressure of Battle School.
In the highly competitive and dangerous environment at Battle School, Ender’s desire for the support of friends and family is readily apparent while he faces bullying and isolation. Ender’s relationship with his sister, Valentine, remains important to him even in Battle School. Valentine acts as Ender’s protection at home, where if his brother, Peter, bullies him, she diffuses the situation and defends Ender. Although Peter bullies Ender relentlessly, Ender still desires love and acceptance from Peter. He believes that once the monitor is gone, “Peter won’t hate [him] anymore” since that would mean Ender “[did not] make it either” and is “just be a normal kid now, like him” (2). Ender clearly desires acceptance from his brother and others, even at the cost of Battle School. When Ender enters Battle School, he understands his family is not present, but he still “[feels] his family around him, as they always [have] been” (43). But, not even Valentine can defend or support him there, and “the fear [stays], all through dinner as no one [sits] by him in the mess hall. The other boys [are] talking about things…Ender [can] only watch in isolation” (41). As Bernard assembles a group of bullies, Ender begins to recognize that isolation in Battle School not only equates with loneliness, but vulnerability as well. Ender’s inability to fit in on Earth and Battle School puts him in numerous vulnerable positions. His fight with Stilson bears a resemblance to his one-on-eight fight with Bonzo and his friends where “[Bonzo] meant to kill [Ender]” could have ended differently if Ender had more support (Card 212). Maybe the fight would not have happened at all or more people would have been present to break it up. Dink stands by and watches the event unfold, but does not feel comfortable enough with Ender to actually stop the fight. Regardless, Ender’s forced isolation results in Bonzo’s physical injury and Ender’s emotional damage. At least on Earth, Ender has the support of Valentine. At Battle School, Graff prevents Ender’s relationships with his peers resulting in complete isolation. Like Christopher, Ender does not feel like he belongs anywhere; he views Earth “as a planet, like any other, not particularly his own” (Card 30). Christopher and Ender do not have a specific place to call home where they feel they belong.
While Ender desires the acceptance of his friends, family and Battle School associates, Christopher willingly places himself in isolation in order to feel calm and safe. By placing himself in isolation, Christopher avoids the stress of social interaction. He sometimes goes “into the airing cupboard in the bathroom and [slides] in beside the boiler and [pulls] the door behind [him] and [sits] there and [thinks] for hours and it makes [him] feel very calm” (Haddon 50). The reader is offered insight “not only into what makes Christopher tick, but also what makes him afraid, what comforts him and what gives him hope” (Dosani 33). He finds it easier to remain alone where he can “walk up and down the street and pretend that [he is] the only person in the world” (Haddon 2). The notion of being the only person in the world is a recurring idea for Christopher where no one judges him or considers him different. He desires a world where “nearly everyone on earth is dead, because they have caught a virus. But [it is] not like a normal virus…people catch it because of the meaning of something an infected person says and the meaning of what they do with their faces when they say it” (Haddon 198). This type of virus would leave Christopher and others like Christopher immune, then the remaining population would be “people who [do not] look at other people’s faces and who [do not] know what these pictures [of faces] mean and these people are all special people like [Christopher]” (Haddon 198-9). While Christopher clearly desires isolation, this also shows a kinship with others like him and his resentment of his social disorder. In his dream world, he “can go anywhere in the world and [know] that no one is going to talk to [him] or touch [him] or ask [him] a question” (Haddon 199). Christopher can do whatever he wants because no one is alive to stop him. This concerning and morbid perspective on society is due to Christopher’s desire to escape the judgement he faces from his peers. This feeling is common among those with Asperger’s syndrome, where “someone speaks to [him], but [he cannot] listen, unless [he avoids] eye contact. If [he looks] at them, [he cannot] ‘read’ their face. [He cannot] control [his] own, so [he looks] bored when [he is] interested” (McClure 1247). The stress of social interaction forces Christopher to resort to coping strategies, which soothe his anxiety.
While Ender and Christopher differ in many ways, they both excel with and rely on mathematics and numbers in times of anxiety and isolation. Mathematics represents logic and order. When Ender finds himself in times of stress, counting soothes his anxiety. When Peter torments him, “Ender [does] what he always [does]…He [begins] to count doubles” (Card 44). The pattern of numbers removes his focus from the current stressor and places it on an attainable goal, counting doubles. Numbers have a cathartic effect for Ender, providing with a sense of control in an uncontrollable environment. From a young age, Ender focuses on mathematics where “Valentine had taught him arithmetic when he was three” (Card 5). His ability to critically analyze situations results from his focus on difficult math problems from such a young age. He is able to see various angles from which he can solve the problem. For both Christopher and Ender, their mathematical and analytical abilities relate to success in society. Christopher equates his intelligence and mathematical strengths with the ability to “get a job and earn lots of money”, then he “will be able to pay someone who can look after [him] and cook [his] meals and wash [his] clothes” (Haddon 45). Christopher’s perception of success includes paying others to support him rather than struggling to maintain emotional relationships. He also poses that he could “get a lady to marry [him] and be [his] wife and she can look after [him] so [he] can have company and not be on [his] own” (Haddon 45). Rather than marry for love as most attempt to do, Christopher views marriage as a business transaction; if he provides her with A, she must provide him with B. He understands he cannot be alone, but simultaneously lacks the ability to sustain emotional relationships. In contrast to Christopher whose superior math abilities result from the disorder which isolates him, Ender’s isolation becomes the means of preserving his creativity since “isolation is––the optimum environment for creativity” (Card 149). Graff struggles with the balance between Ender’s creative and analytical abilities, deciding to “isolate him enough that he remains creative…At the same time…make sure he keeps a strong ability to lead” (Card 27).
Mathematics and numbers represent a source of sensibility and reliability unlike human interaction, which is unpredictable and requires the intuition that Christopher does not possess. Numbers are analytical rather than creative; they remain unchanged by emotion or opinion; one can always assume that two comes after one, unlike social interaction where Christopher cannot assume all of the possible meanings of a peer’s words. His obsession with prime numbers carries through “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” as Haddon only uses prime numbers for the chapters. Christopher notes that “prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away…prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them” (Haddon 12). While numbers remain consistent, Christopher also notes patterns, which he does not comprehend. This is his comparison between numbers and social interaction, where there are obvious patterns present, but Christopher cannot decipher them. Prime numbers are not only a symbol for Christopher’s minimal understanding of society, but also him as an individual. Wolfram MathWorld defines a prime number as “a positive integer having exactly one positive divisor other than [one], meaning it is a number that cannot be factored.” Mathematics recognizes prime numbers as different from composite numbers; if Christopher identifies with prime number, he recognizes his difference and separation from his peers. Furthermore, significant debate remains over the number one and whether it is prime or not. Wolfram MathWorld defines the number one as “a special case which is considered neither prime nor composite”; one remains in isolation as the only number of its kind, it cannot identify with prime or composite numbers. While Christopher desires this number one position, seeking isolation is space as an astronaut, he currently represents a prime number amongst composites, where he notes the existence of other primes like himself, but they do not interact. In contrast to Ender, Christopher does not have the option of going to space, even though he wishes to be an astronaut where he would be alone. Even though he “would have to talk to other people” he “would do that through a radio linkup and a TV monitor, so they [would not] be like real people who are strangers, but it would be like playing a computer game” (Haddon 51). Ender understands that computer games can be more realistic than one would expect. While Ender is not an astronaut, Graff chooses him to leave his family and attend Battle School in space, where he practices for battle with computer games and also represents a prime among composites. Graff relentlessly struggles between maintaining Ender’s leadership qualities and creativity. His leadership requires interaction with peers, while “Graff [has] deliberately set him up to be separate from the others boys, made it impossible for him to be close to them…It [makes] him a better soldier than he would ever [be] otherwise. It also [makes] him lonely, afraid, angry, untrusting” (Card 167-8). Ender clearly has no option in the matter, even if he attempts to make friends; Graff stops him at every turn. His helplessness in this situation reminds the reader of his adolescence.
Whether by choice or by force, the isolation of both Christopher and Ender has a significant impact on their individual development. While Christopher does not understand social interactions, the reader can sense his desire to understand and have “company and not be on [his] own” (Haddon 45). He inadvertently expresses dislike for his Asperger’s syndrome, which forces his isolation. While he knows his limits with social interaction, he does attempt to further his knowledge and ask others what they mean. Asperger’s syndrome has definitely hindered Christopher’s ability to flourish as a child. Mark Haddon allows the reader to enter the mind of a child with Asperger’s syndrome and we can sense the frustration. The scattered thoughts and images throughout the novel make it difficult to follow, but that is entirely the point. On the other hand, Ender Wiggin strives for friendships, especially while attending Battle School, but Graff prevents these bonds from forming. While Ender flourishes as a solider, his psyche suffers significantly. He not only misses his sister, Valentine, but also bounces back and forth between leadership roles and isolation in Battle School. Friendships and bonds typically form at school, but Ender does not have the same experience as most children due to his gifted status. Both of these children lead far from average lives as Christopher struggles with Asperger’s syndrome and Ender remains a child prodigy. While adolescence marks a time for social interaction, it also marks a time for self-discovery.
Homophobia in Ender’s Game
Ender’s Game, a novel by Orson Scott Card, is a form of anti-homosexual propaganda. The essay “Kill the Bugger: Ender’s Game and the Question of Heteronormativity” by James Campbell goes in depth regarding the ways in which Orson Scott Card’s thoughts on heteronormativity are reflected through structural subtleties in the novel. The 2013 film adaptation of Ender’s Game also includes an emphasis on the element of heterosexuality, which further enforces Card’s distaste toward homosexuality. Card’s anti-homosexual thoughts are expressed through the underlying analogies in the novel that Campbell mentions. His opinions are emphasized in specific scenes throughout the novel, as well as through Card’s production choice, to increase the significance of heterosexual relationships in the film. In the article “Kill the Bugger: Ender’s Game and the Question of Heteronormativity,” author James Campbell mentions several subtleties that, when read closely, point to Card’s continued insults towards homosexuals. Ender’s Game tells the story of Ender Wiggin, a six-year-old boy who is recruited to attend Battle School to train to command an army to attack a foreign planet. He is instructed to save Earth from the aliens who inhabit it, called the “buggers.” Implied by the title of the response article, the term “bugger” is perhaps the most obvious of signs. The word “bugger” is a British slang term for either a male homosexual or a practice of sodomy. Ender is instructed to violently murder all of these buggers, which implies Card’s desire to eliminate all homosexuals. As quoted in “Kill the Bugger,” literary analyst Norma Spinrad said, “It is difficult to believe that Card was unaware of the obvious sexual connotations when he named the aliens the ‘buggers’” (493). Card also likely included the buggers in the story to serve as a political scapegoat. According to Campbell, “the bugger menace is a propaganda ploy of the powers that be in order to frighten the populace, ‘because as long as people are afraid of the buggers, the I.F. can stay in power, certain countries can keep their hegemony’ (Card 110)” (500). As long as people are unsure of how to understand and react to homosexuals, the politically advantaged are able to stay in power. Card writes the story in such a way that the enemy defines the accepted community, which corresponds with a quote from an article Card published titled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality”: “[Gays] must, in other words, obey the rules that define what that community is. Those who are not willing or able to obey the rules should honestly admit the fact and withdraw from membership” (Card par. 14). Similarly, Card expresses his feelings about homosexuals’ true purpose through Mazer Rackham’s monologue about strategies to kill the hives of buggers: “Murder’s no big deal to them. Only queen-killing, really, is murder, because only queen-killing closes off a genetic path” (Card 270). According to Campbell, “to Card, genetic potential is synonymous with real life” (503). By employing this viewpoint, Card is implying that homosexuals are worthless because they provide no pro-creational benefit. By stating that the buggers’ murder would be insignificant, he is once again expressing his belief on the worthlessness of homosexuals.There are also several characters whose traits reflect Card’s beliefs. According to Campbell, Orson Scott Card created the character Bonzo to represent the convergence of “homosexual desire and homophobic violence,” (496). Ender points out his physical attractiveness: “A boy stood there, tall and slender, with beautiful black eyes and slender hips that hinted at refinement. I would follow such beauty anywhere, said something inside Ender” (Card 76). When Ender is transferred from Battle School to the Commander School, Bonzo angrily says, “I’ll have your ass someday” (Card 88), which Campbell interprets as a sodomy reference by Card. When Bonzo enters the bathroom with his sidekicks to attack Ender, he chooses a time and place when Ender is most vulnerable: the shower. Campbell equates this scene to a prison shower fight or gang rape: “such acts have a violent and sexual component” (Campbell 496). Ender ends Bonzo’s life by kicking him in the groin, which Campbell sees as a further anti-homosexual symbol from Card. It is also arguable that because Bonzo dies shortly after making a violent homosexual advance on Ender, he is killed. This could be Card’s way of subliminally pointing out that homosexuals have an inevitable end, should they choose to act on their sexuality. Campbell also draws a parallel between the physical structures in the novel to homosexual innuendos. Campbell compares the layout of the battle room to sodomy, stating that this “may represent the biggest nudge and wink in the novel, the battleroom itself” (Campbell 497), continuing to explain that “it doesn’t take an unusually perverse reader to detect a sexual underpinning: the armies struggle until the stronger team penetrates the opponent’s corridor” (Campbell 497). Each player strives to shoot the other players to freeze them, and stop them from penetrating the opponent’s corridor. Campbell argues that this is a subliminal message from Card, implying that the common goal amongst humans should be to end sodomical practices. The players’ desperate attempts to stop the opposing team from penetrating their corridor could symbolize Card’s wishes that all homosexuals would stop engaging in such relations. In addition to the underlying analogies throughout the novel that Campbell mentions, there are several distinct scenes where Orson Scott Card’s negative feelings on homosexuality surface. When Ender transfers to the Rat Army commanded by Rose the Nose, he is told by Rose not to “screw around with his desk [computer]” (Card 101). All the other children then laugh, and Ender realizes it is because Rose “programmed his desk to display and animate a bigger-than-life-size picture of male genitals, which waggled back and forth as Rose held the desk on his naked lap” (Card 101). This scene makes the homosocial relations in the novel more literal. Rose uses his computer to show his masculine power, while explicitly telling Ender not to “screw” with his genitalia. Card writes this homosexual reference in a way that has the other children laughing at Rose’s phallic display, which pokes fun at homosexuality in a potentially offensive way. There are several other clear moments in the story where homosexuality is portrayed in a negative manner. Ender sends an anonymous message as “God” directed at Bernard over the communication system: “Cover your butt. Bernard is watching” (Card 55). This is a clear expression of Card’s opinion of the unnaturalness of sodomy. Since the message came from “God,” we can assume that Card finds it divinely wrong and inappropriate on the highest level. Ender responds to this message with “I love your butt. Let me kiss it,” (Card 55) sent from the name “Bernard.” This message angers Bernard and he sees it as a challenge to his sexuality, and more deeply, his superiority: “Bernard’s attempt to be ruler of the room was broken. Only a few stayed with him now” (Card 85). This demonstrates that the quickest way to undercut an enemy in this story is to accuse him of being homosexual. Card’s beliefs on homosexuality are expressed through the effectiveness of this method of attack, by implying that being homosexual is a diminishing quality. A third direct reference to the prohibited nature of homosexuality is demonstrated through another character interaction. When Alai sends Ender off to the Salamander Army, “Alai suddenly kisse[s] Ender on the cheek and whispered in his ear. ‘Salaam’” (Card 69). The word “salaam” means peace, which should bring a positive reaction to Ender. However, Ender feels oppositely about this interaction: “Ender guessed that the kiss and the word were somehow forbidden” (Card 69). Even though there is no direct disapproval from any bystanders, Ender feels deeply disconcerted about Alai’s display of friendship. Card is once again demonstrating that any same-sex affection, whether a sign of peace, sexual attraction, or friendship, is wrong and should not be tolerated.The film adaptation of Ender’s Game, directed by Gavin Hood, increases the role of heterosexual relationships – suggesting that heterosexuality is dominant over homosexuality. The sexual tension between Ender and his friend Petra in the Salamander Army is so prevalent in the film, and yet hardly noticeable in the book. When Ender enters the Salamander Army, Petra coaches him to bring him up to par with the other members of their team in the battle room. There is a lot of dramatic physical contact between Ender and Petra, and their eye contact is cinematically emphasized as well. Through these intentional, yet awkward interactions, Ender and Petra’s relationship is highly sexualized, and a strong emphasis is placed on heterosexual values. Even though this romance was not written as a significant part of the novel, Orson Scott Card was credited as a producer for the film, so it is likely that he either initiated or approved this insertion. Particularly because the characters are so young—especially too young to be engaging in romantic relationships— this romance feels forced, and likely has a different purpose than to add to the storyline. By emphasizing the value and importance of heterosexual relationships, Card is expressing his opinion of the superiority of heterosexuality over homosexuality, without being offensive. Since this was a multi-million dollar film, it is understandable that Card would not want to scare away his audience with blatant anti-homosexual references on screen.Many people are still against the film regardless. There is a campaign called “Skip Ender’s Game”, consisting of LGBT protestors trying to urge people against seeing the film adaptation in theaters, to prevent Card from earning more money. Their message on the front page of their website states, “Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card is more than an ‘opponent’ of marriage equality. As a writer, he has spread degrading lies about LGBT people, calling us sexual deviants and criminals. As an activist, he sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and campaigned against our civil rights. Now he’s a producer on the Ender’s Game movie. Do not let your box office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda.” Card indeed does have a history of fighting against homosexuality that likely influenced his writing. In 1990, he advocated the criminalization of homosexuality, arguing, “those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.” In 2004, when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, Card responded by saying the following: “So if [gays] insist on calling what they do ‘marriage,’ they are not turning their relationship into what my wife and I have created, because no court has the power to change what their relationship actually is. Instead they are attempting to strike a death blow against the well-earned protected status of our, and every other, real marriage. They steal from me what I treasure most, and gain for themselves nothing at all. They won’t be married. They’ll just be playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes.” In 2008 he stated, “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.” He was a member of the National Organization for Marriage from 2009 to 2013, and gave his support to a group tied directly to anti-equality activism around the country. These numerous actions that Card has taken against gay rights clearly demonstrate his honest feelings about homosexuality. His continued financial support to anti-gay activist groups proves that his support has not dwindled, despite his revocation of some of his stronger anti-gay remarks and his step down from his position on the board of the National Organization for Marriage anti-gay hate group. These politically strategic moves were conveniently timed to the release of his film, perhaps trying to minimize the bad press from the LGBT community. The “Skip Ender’s Game” campaign saw through these moves, and continued to discourage support from fans.The anti-homosexual references in Ender’s Game are congruent with Card’s history of activism, so it is doubtful that they were unintentional. As Campbell pointed out, there are many underlying negative homosexual references throughout the novel, but Card’s beliefs are also indicated through the distinct scenes mentioned here. Ultimately reinforced by the heterosexual relationships in the film adaptations, Card blatantly expresses his anti-gay beliefs.