In literature there are generally considered to be two main types of conflict: external and internal conflicts. External conflicts are issues that happen between the main character and outside forces; internal conflicts occur within the character. While this book certainly contains a lot of action, it is the internal conflict that gives it staying power. Here are a few conflicts of each type.
- Ender's efforts to remain safe from bullies. This includes Bonzo, Peter, and other characters.
- The human race and its war with the Formics. This is the war that becomes the central external conflict of the novel.
- Ender's struggle to make friends despite his commanders' attempts to isolate him.
- Ender's struggle to win battles and progress through battle school.
- Ender's fight to remain a child and hold onto his innocence after all the violence and conflict he endures.
- Ender's struggle to remain a good and caring person while also defending himself. He worries that all the fighting will force him into becoming more like Peter.
- Ender's struggle to forgive himself for what he is forced to do to the Bugger species.