Enders Game Annotated Bibliography
The novel takes an omniscient perspective opening outward from Andrew Wiggin's (Ender's) perspective, but it is punctuated by conversations between characters who are at first unknown. As the novel opens, two characters are discussing a boy and his older siblings. One says, "I tell you, he's the one." The other voice is not as sure, but he acquiesces to the first's request to "take him," because they're "saving the world, after all." Already we learn of "the buggers," or Formics, the alien enemy.
Andrew (Ender) Wiggin has been wearing a "monitor" that permits the authorities to understand his experiences from the inside. He has it taken out on the day that the book begins. Ender is extremely smart for a young boy. For instance, he understands that the nurse is lying when she says that the removal of the monitor will not hurt. He is also very cynical about such things: "Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth." Ender turns to inner discourse about whether his brother Peter will stop hating him now that Ender is without the monitor. But Ender decides that Peter will never leave him alone.
During the monitor removal, Ender feels intense pain. He needs a shot to stop the pain and muscle spasms, and the doctor is angry that "they" left the monitor in for so long. Eventually, the drug wears off. Ender keeps looking around for something without remembering what he is looking for.
When Ender returns to class, the other kids whisper about the fact that his monitor has been removed. After school, several of the kids, including the lead bully, Stilson, taunt Ender. Soon they physically attack him, but Ender manages to manipulate Stilson into fighting him alone, playing off his pride and taunting, "it takes this many of you to fight one Third?" (Ender is the third child in the family, and Thirds are looked down upon.) When the others back off, Ender kicks Stilson, taking him by surprise, and drops him with the kick. Then, Ender walks up to him and kicks him several more times, making the point that he will win decisively so that no bullies will attack him again--the others will be far too afraid of Ender to try anything. After the fight, Ender sits down and cries until his bus comes, afraid that he is becoming vicious like Peter.
Chapter 2 also begins with two anonymous speakers. They seem like the same two from the first chapter, and they are again discussing Ender, the removal of his monitor, and his fight with Stilson. One compares Ender to Mazer Rackham, who will turn out to be the man who beat the "buggers" in their last invasion. He remarks that "in the judgment of the committee," Ender has passed some sort of test--so long as he deals with Peter correctly now that the monitor is off. The two people also acknowledge that they are a kind of "wicked witch. We promise gingerbread, but we eat the little bastards alive." Even so, one of them says that he likes Ender.
When Ender gets home, his sister Valentine tells him that she is sorry that his monitor was removed (it suggests that he did not pass). Ender is glad is is gone. When Peter walks into the room, he immediately gets angry at Ender. Valentine says that without the monitor Ender is "like us," but Peter denies the claim because Ender wore the monitor for so long. Peter's ruthlessness comes out when he realizes that "they" can't check up on Ender through the monitor anymore, and he suggests a game of "buggers and astronauts"--Ender is always the bugger and gets beaten up by Peter. Peter pushes Ender down and presses on his groin with his foot, and then he kneels on Ender and threatens to kill him--until Valentine tells Peter that she would tell everyone that he murdered his younger brother. Even when Peter lets up, he tells the others, "So. Not today. But someday you two won't be together. And there'll be an accident." And although Valentine has left a letter in the city library saying that Peter killed her--so that, in the event of her death, the secret will be revealed--Peter calmly states that some day, Ender and Valentine will forget that they had this conversation, or will decide that he was joking, and then when Ender is killed, Valentine will believe that it was just an accident and will keep silent. Finally, Peter says that he was joking after all and that Ender and Valentine are "just the biggest suckers on the planet earth." They do not believe him.
Ender realizes that Peter is the one he should have fought, not Stilson. Valentine keeps him from doing anything. But when Peter taunts Ender, Ender points to his shoe and says, "See there, on the toe? That's blood, Peter. It's not mine." Peter disregards this fact and mocks Ender more.
When the Wiggin parents get home, Mrs. Wiggin commiserates with Ender about the monitor being removed, and Mr. Wiggin goes on and on about how happy he is that they get to keep all three children, that "they still had a Third." Ender, however, feels like his father is lying, since he is an embarrassment to his parents now, because all three children will be at home with "no obvious explanation."
That night, when Peter leaves their bunk bed to go to the bathroom, he returns and stands over Ender. Ender expects him to smother him with a pillow, but instead, Peter leans over and whispers, "Ender, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know how it feels, I'm sorry, I'm your brother, I love you." When Peter gets back in bed and eventually falls asleep, Ender cries for the second time that day.
The manipulation of human beings is pervasive in this society of the future. It is exemplified best by the discussion about Ender in the initial conversation between the two adults. They agree to "take him" in order to save the world, and they thus are going to start to control all aspects of Ender's life. Their desperation to ensure that he succeeds as "the one" is clear, however, so their manipulation is set up as something to be excused because it is necessary. The conversations in the beginnings of many chapters, set in different type, act as an adult counterpoint to the focus on the children's lives through their own perspective.
From the beginning, Ender is an extremely bright but very cynical young boy. He understands that the nurse is lying when she says that the monitor removal will not hurt, realizing that every time an adult says that, it means that it really will hurt. From such experiences, he infers that lies are more dependable than the truth. This is a cynical point of view for anyone, but it is especially cynical for a boy that young. The author has presented a future in which many children are not carefree anymore; indeed, Ender and his siblings, and even his classmates, seem mature far beyond their years.
Ender's real name is Andrew Wiggin, but Ender is the name he chose for himself. All but his parents tend to use it. The nickname "Ender" is significant in that it foreshadows his eventual role in ending the bugger war. Moreover, Ender "ends" many other things in addition to (soon enough) the lives of several billion buggers: he kills Stilson and will kill Bonzo, acting decisively. He also ends other parts of his life beyond the war with the buggers: he will successfully complete all the tasks set for him.
Ender is caught between the characters of Valentine, who is too good to be "the one," and Peter, who is too evil. Ender is more good than bad. Instrumentally he also is extremely good, not only because he tends to make good decisions, but also because he makes up for mistakes. Ender is kind, fair, forgiving, and will make major sacrifices for the good of the world. Ender makes hard choices that include pain and suffering beyond what we might imagine Valentine to be able to stand. Peter, on the other hand, always acts out of his own self-interest, and he is willing to be violent to achieve his ends. Even though Peter's actions sometimes yield good results, he does them for the wrong reasons.
Part of Ender's maturity is that he "knew the unspoken rules of manly warfare." This is part of the vicious streak in Ender. He decides not to follow the "rule" against kicking an opponent while he is down. Even so, he does it for the purpose of ending the fight decisively: "now, and for all time, or I'll fight it every day and it will get worse and worse." After his attack on Stilson, Ender cries for several minutes, showing that while he did the calculated, smart thing in order to win decisively, he hated it. Thus, while ruthlessness is sometimes necessary, he tends to use it only when nothing else is available. In this he is somewhere between his two siblings in temperament.
After huring Stilson, Ender thinks, "I am just like Peter. Take the monitor away, and I am just like Peter." He will remain worried, throughout the book, that he will end up like his horrible older brother. Even so, the fact of his conscience seems to make him different from Peter, who displays little effort to stop himself, at least at the beginning of the book. Peter seldom shows remorse after doing the horrible things that he does.
Ender is a "Third," and although the designation is not fully explained in the first chapter, it becomes easy to conclude that being a "Third" means being the third child in a family. (It also reflects the idea of being a "third-class" citizen.) Since Ender's family has three children, his parents are breaking the population code (with permission) by having more than the allotted two children. The government authorized his parents to have a third child, but the other children, including his brother and the kids in his class at school, mock him anyway for being a Third. Thus, they have established a pattern of isolation of Ender, giving him an independence and a loneliness that pervades his character throughout the rest of the novel.
The two voices again begin Chapter 2, and we still do not know who is who. Still, we learn a little more about them, and the important name Mazer Rackham is brought up. The first passage of Chapter 2 is important because it shows the extremes to which they are going in order to develop Ender into the "one" they want, if they can. Despite possible affection for Ender, they will do whatever it takes, even "screw him up." Interestingly, however, we still do not know what they actually need Ender for, or why he is so important to them.
Ender's reaction to Peter's "joke" about killing his siblings is interesting. Although just several hours earlier, he cried for several minutes about having to beat up Stilson, now he decides that Peter actually deserves a beating. Ender's switching back and forth between feeling remorse at his actions and wanting to recreate them is worth noting as a sign of character. He seems to be hovering between two entirely different personalities, again in between Valentine and Peter. Does Ender's personality actually switch between the two extremes, or can it survive the tension as a hybrid personality?
Up to the end of Chapter 2, Peter has only been portrayed as completely heartless. Yet, he tells Ender, when he thinks his brother is asleep, that he loves Ender and that he is so sorry that Ender's monitor was removed. This complete reversal of Peter's character gives Peter a bit of moderation in his personality. We are led to wonder if Valentine has something belligerent in her own sweet personality.
Chapter 2 introduces the first war game as a reflection of reality, the common "buggers and astronauts." Although games are often separated from reality, in Ender's Game they are completely interconnected. Many important ideas and interpreted and discovered through the games, and strategies are learned for the later real battles against the buggers. In the final battles, the boundary between game and reality is completely removed for those who have manipulated Ender. The difference between reality and games is unclear even in "buggers and astronauts"; although Peter makes it sound harmless, he intends actually to hurt Ender, and the game originated in Peter's very real jealousy and hatred of his younger brother. This hatred also reflects a reality in which much of humanity seems to hate the buggers.
The battle between good and evil is also represented in "buggers and astronauts," with Ender's bugger representing good and Peter's astronaut representing evil. This is an ironic reversal in that Ender is actually the good one, while Peter plays the human. Once again, we see the fine line that separates good and evil, in personalities as well as in actions. Peter, Ender, and Valentine will be too complex as characters to be simply good or evil in many of their actions. Ender will kill billions, but Peter probably never kills a person (though he will kill animals brutally).
Finally, the battle between good and evil is closely interconnected with the motif of sibling rivalry among the three pairs Ender and Peter, Peter and Valentine, and Ender and Valentine. Readers are led to wonder if there is some sort of sibling rivalry, rather than simple belligerence, between the humans and the buggers.
Ender's GameMark, (8th Grade)
This book named Ender's Game is a science fiction book about a single boy. The author of this science fiction book is Orson Scott Card. Mr. Card has written four novels in a series about Ender and the story of his life. The publisher of Ender's Game is a big company known as Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. This novel is easy reading and is only 324 pages long. This book starts when Ender is only 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, Valentine and one brother named Peter. Ender loves Valentine very much and does not like his brother because he was very mean to Ender. All children wear a device on their neck that allows people to monitor their actions and intelligence. People do this because they want to get the smartest of all the children and make them into perfect soldiers and commanders. This is done because an alien race attacked the human race over fifty years ago, and humans want to be ready when the alien race named the buggers attack again. Will Ender be the only hope for the human race?
The protagonist of this story is Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin. Ender ages from 6 to 22 during this book, but in the last few sentences it becomes vague as to the time. He goes to school for six years training, at least that is what he thinks. Ender is a scrawny little, short and thin boy. Ender is a very confident and smart boy, smarter than all the other boys that he knows. He is afraid of his brother and some bullies at school, but he is fully aware that if he does not stand up to them he will keep being tortured. Ender is a very loving boy that loves his sister and loves his parents. He hates being called a third, but the name is given to him because people are only supposed to have two children, but the Wiggins were allowed three. He does not like being called a third, or any name at that matter, but he tolerates it. He does seem to be happy when he is around Valentine, but he is not overly happy all of the other time. Most of all, Ender hates being like Peter in any way because Peter is such a mean and bad child.
The antagonist of Ender's Game was the government. The government was in control of Ender from his childhood up to age twelve. The government tracked Ender using a device called a monitor which would allow the government to see and hear all the things that Ender does. Then, he was put to a test and he accomplished the test without even knowing about it. He was then taken to a school where the government taught the children and also had mock battles in zero gravity. In this Battle School the government tried to isolate him and kept moving him from group to group so he had to work to get recognized. The government then moved Ender to Command School where they lied to him. They said to Ender that this was just practice, but the game was actually real. The government believes that they are doing the right thing by isolating and lying to Ender.
The setting of Ender's Game varies greatly, because Ender Wiggin was on Earth, then he went to a school in space, then back to Earth, to another school in space and last of all to a distant world once occupied by the buggers. The season was not recognizable in Ender's Game, until Ender came back to Earth. It was summer or just around summer, this was shown by the heat and by sunburns that Ender got. The time was very vague, but it 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 Battle School, a very large school for very elite, young and smart children. The part of the book that took place outside was when he returned to Earth, and he stayed at a very large house, but the actual place was very vague.
The first rising action of this book is when Ender, after being taunted by a school, bully beats him up very badly over the monitor that was taken off of Ender. After the bully dies from the beating, the government keeps this from Ender so he believes that he is not a killer. Ender is then visited by a man from a military corporation, the International Fleet, named Colonel Graff. Colonel Graff convinces Ender to go with him to Battle School so Ender can be a soldier and help win the war when the Buggers, the alien race, comes. Ender goes with him, although unhappy to leave his sister Valentine whom he loves, and is also the person who protects Ender from Peter, his brother. When Ender is on the shuttle going to Battle School, which is in space, he is hit constantly by a boy named Bernard. In reaction Ender caught the boy's hand and threw him. Not aware of the absence of gravity, the boy flew across the room, hit a wall the wrong way, and broke his arm. Then, after the boy was taken away, the shuttle docked, and all the boys got out of the shuttle and they then had artificial gravity. Ender and the other boys were given all the information about Battle School and were put into groups. Ender was put into the same group as Bernard and Alai, a friend of Bernard's. During his time in this group he was the best and smartest of all the children in his group. During this time, they also had a game in the battleroom that was a war game involving two teams against each other. They played in null gravity with flash suits that when shot with a gun would freeze up the part of the suit that was hit. All the children also had a desk which had a computer in it. Ender used the computer to play a fantasy game. Through his whole time at Battle School he played that game, he had killed a giant, and gone to a place called the End of the World where he went into a tower of a castle and could never beat that castle. Through many months, Ender made a friend of Alai and almost of Bernard. He was then moved to another group, but he was promoted, thus he was with children that were nearly ten years old while he was only seven. He had a leader of this army named Bonzo. Bonzo did not like Ender, one reason for this was that Ender had practices with Alai and many other children on his off time, which Bonzo did not like. Ender met a girl named Petra who was his only friend in that army; she also helped Ender with his shooting skills in the battleroom game. Ender was later traded to another army where he was put in a toon, or a small group within a group with a leader named Dink. Dink also helped Ender with his skills, but Ender was still in his practice sessions with Alai and some other children. After a while in that group Ender was given an army group. His group had a little boy like him named Bean. He soon turned his untrained group into a group that never lost. After a long time, he was in a battle with twice as many children. He used a tactic to just win by entering the gate, which was the real way to win. After the battle, he went to sleep and after waking up he went to shower, but it was lunchtime so no one was there. During the middle of his shower many boys come in led by his old commander, Bonzo. Ender and Bonzo fought, Bonzo never even hit Ender, but Ender beat Bonzo very much, and after the fight, Bonzo was on the ground bleeding and unconscious. Once again, Ender killed a boy, but he never knew of this. During that whole time at Battle School, he was attacked many times because he was the best. A few days later, Colonel Graff entered his room after Bean had entered. Graff explained to him that he would go to Command School right away. Ender had been at Battle School for four years, two years earlier than all other children. After entering the shuttle with Colonel Graff, they go to Earth, much to Ender's amazement. Ender is on Earth for two months, during that time he rests and meets with his sister Valentine, whom he loves very much.
The climax of Ender's Game starts off with his meeting with Mazer Rackham, the one man who had won battles against the buggers. Mazer has stayed alive by keeping in a sort of hyperspace which only lets a few years go by inside the ship while the Earth ages many years. Ender learns more about the buggers and how they only have drones and a queen like a bee hive. Ender was also told about a new weapon called Dr. Device which would hit a ship then spread apart the atoms, then do the same to something that was close and keep doing so. Ender is put in a room where he will play a new game with ships and he is the commander. After a while, he is introduced to people that he will be playing with. The people are Alai, Petra, Bean, Tom, Shen, Molo and Carn Carby. They were all his friends that he had met at Battle School. They were assigned as toon leaders like in Battle School. During many months these children under the command of Ender fought and won every battle. When Ender woke up one day he was told that the last game, which will be centered on the buggers home planet is ready to go. When he got there, many people were at his room where he commanded everybody. The odds like in his last game at Battle School were totally unfair, but like in Battle School, Ender used the all attack at once in a bullet shaped form. He then deployed the Dr. Device on the bugger's home planet, which caused a chain reaction which destroyed the planet and all the bugger ships around the planet. Everybody started cheering, and Ender was told then that the game was actually real life. He was very distraught because he knew that he had killed many buggers on many planets and had let some humans die at the same time. Ender was so distraught that he slept for almost two days.
The falling actions started with Ender watching what he did, including the killing of Bonzo and Stilson. The second falling action was that Valentine; Ender's sister, was at battle school. Valentine made a proposal to Ender to go to one of the deserted Bugger planets to start a colony, with Ender as mayor. Ender had some doubts such as everyone he knew would be gone, because everything around the ship that he would go in would age fifty years while the people in the ship only aged two years. Although, he was unsure, he went with his sister to the new planet. After many years, when Ender was about 22 years old, he went out with a small boy on the new planet to look for more land. When Ender got out of the helicopter a little while away from the original colony, he saw something that looked like the skeleton of a giant. Then he went farther he saw a cliff and a castle tower, just like in the game at battle school. He figured out then that the buggers read his mind and made this place like that so he would see it He went inside the tower where psychically the dead buggers communicated with him. They said that they were sorry for attacking Earth, and they knew that humans would rebel, but they were sorry. They also said that they had left a cocoon that had a queen bugger in it, and they wanted Ender to find a safe place somewhere to let the cocoon hatch. Ender left with Valentine and the cocoon to start looking for planets to put the egg.
The protagonist has changed greatly over the course of sixteen years. Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin was a small boy when he came to Battle School. He tried very hard, gained confidence and became a great leader and tactician. Ender became much more self reliant in this time at Battle School. In Command School he learned even more, gained more confidence, and became even better at the art of war. When he won the war he was very mad at himself for letting many humans and buggers die. When he went away with his sister he became much more loving and was much happier. He loved his life at that time. Ender changed into a man that was loving and that learned to be more social. The antagonist, the government, changed very little through Ender's life. The antagonist changed very little because it is such a major corporation. They only changed by exterminating the buggers. After the war that was the biggest change, they went from a full on offensive to an end of an intergalactic war, and they were very happy.
The theme of the story can be interpreted many ways, and the author of Ender's Game believes that there is no theme. One theme of this book is that the government can control your whole life without anyone even knowing that they are doing so. This is shown through how the government pushes Ender to go to School. The government then changes the rules just for Ender to make it hard for him. Then when Ender goes to Command School they tell him that the game that he is playing is not real, but at the end of the school he is told that it was a real game. The government then keeps Ender against his will at the Command School. Ender, through all of this starts, to learn this, but only when he is told that Command School was not a game does he really figure out that he does not control his own destiny.
[Copyright © Mark, (8th Grade), 2001. Reprinted with permission.]