How does Ender's character change throughout the novel, Ender's Game?

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Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ender is an outlier of his surroundings throughout the novel. When readers are introduced to him, we are quickly told that he is the third child in the family. That's not normal. He remains an outlier all through Battle School as well. He does develop friendships, but they are always kept at a distance. Despite the previous information, Ender does change during the story. He gains confidence in himself and his knowledge bit by bit throughout the novel.

He is quite intimidated by the other commanding students when he first arrives at the space school; however, Ender eventually embraces the fact that he will never fit in, so he stops trying to. This allows him to begin thinking very creatively. Ender will eventually gain so much confidence in himself that he even starts to gain some control over Graff. Ender knows that they need him, and he isn't afraid to leverage that every once in awhile. Finally, his refusal to completely destroy the Buggers shows Ender's growth in understanding and learning to love his enemy.

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wordprof eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As in any Bildungsroman, the main character, Ender Wiggin, matures in his understanding of the way his society works. His virtual imprisonment inside the training facility gives him a view of the “military” regiment that decreases his “obedience, and gives him the freedom to try new tactics outside his handlers’ expectations, thereby increasing his creativity and his ability to “think outside the box”, in this case the naturally human instincts to do the expected (in the final decision of the book—his saving the Bugger’s nascent colony, we see the culmination of this growth. The other growth he experiences is his similarity to his brother Peter in his potential for violenc, if not cruelty. In the final analysis, Ender undergoes social changes but not physical change. His ”character” becomes more creative, more individualistic, and more complex.

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