Manipulation 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.
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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” […]