In Ender's Game is Ender born a hero or made a hero? Give three examples why.

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mbjohnse eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that Ender is made a hero. Here are three simple examples of why.

1:  His decision to defend himself from bullies in school

Graff and the others force Ender to be bullied so that he can learn to isolate and defend himself. The first example of this comes when they trick him into believing he has failed the selection process by removing his monitor. When an older kid bullies him he not only defends himself but savagely beats the other boy with the understanding that if he doesn't do so now the boy will continue to come back for him again and again. While his genetic traits might give him tactical aptitude, it is a lifetime of bullying from this boy and Peter that has taught him the reality of bullies. 

2: His deception in playing 'the game'

In the final battle where Ender's army defeats the Buggers, he is unaware that he is commanding a real battle. This is because if he knew these were real people he was controlling he would be too afraid or sympathetic to do what he does. This is because on his own Ender does not have personality to be the brutal hero humanity needs. He can defend himself, but sacrificing others so easily is beyond his ability. He has to be made to do it through deception.

3: His decision to save the Bugger species by rescuing a queen

Up to this point, most of Ender's decisions have been a result of people above him pulling strings. This is the first courageous and risky decision he makes on his own accord. After destroying an entire civilization, he risk his own life to save his enemy. This act of mercy and redemption shows that the trials of the novel have made Ender into a more compassionate person than the weapon the they wanted him to be. No one is born with this kind of courage. He has learned it from experience. His victories in battle are only victories of skill. This is a victory of character and it is the moment that makes him a true hero.