In Enders Game, government authorities steal talented children from their homes and force them to attend a military academy. Parents and other family members are not permitted to visit and the academy administrators edit out parts of the letters the children receive. In time, the children lose all attachment to their former lives. This isolation prepares them to accept the propagandistic videos, lectures and history lessons that their teachers use to indoctrinate them. The students also must play military games to prepare themselves for an impending intergalactic war.
The culture of the school is hierarchical and competitive. Students are ranked according to their performance in the military games. Lower-ranking students suffer physical and emotional abuse from both the adults and the higher-ranking students. Despite this environment, students sometimes form strong emotional bonds of friendship and protection.