Ender's Game Questions and Answers
by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game book cover
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What are some of the most important themes of Ender's Game? I'm going to write an essay on one of the themes.

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are many themes that run throughout Ender's Game. One of the main ones is the underdog idea. In the story, Ender is frequently the underdog in fights—his brother Peter is older and stronger than him, as are many of the students he fights with, both in school on Earth and at Battle School. Ender, however, frequently prevails, even when he is assigned a ragtag team for Dragon Army.

Strategy is perhaps the biggest theme throughout the novel, as Ender uses innovative new ideas to succeed in combat, often observing things from a different perspective or being willing to make tough sacrifices for victory. This helps him in the final battle, where he chooses to sacrifice the members of his squadron in its entirety to finish defeating the Formic planet.

Alienation and loneliness are also themes in the novel, as Ender is intentionally separated from his peers and forced to be alone without strong attachments. This is echoed in his relationship with the last surviving Queen at the end of the novel, and his isolation is frequently used to toughen him up or help him make difficult decisions.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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ALIENATION.  Ender is deliberately segregated from humans and possible friendships from an early age. By doing so, he learns to become self-sufficient and reliant on no one but himself.

GOOD VS. EVIL.  There is a fine line between good and evil in Ender's Game. Ender kills children when necessary and wipes out an entire species, yet he is considered a hero and savior to humankind.

PUNISHMENT.  Not only do the leaders often protect Ender from punishment for his misdeeds, he is often never told when he has committed them. In order to create the perfect leader, mistakes are sometimes allowed to go without consequences.

INTELLIGENCE.  Only the children with the highest IQs are sent to Battle School, but Ender displays greater flexibility in reactioning and interacting than his classmates.

ETHICS.  Ender does feel guilt for many of his actions, but he does not learn of his true function for many years. But it is Ender's empathy which his leaders earmark as a trait for leadership since it will help him to better understand his foes.

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