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Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Ender's Game reflects many fears and concerns prominent in today's society: the effects of forced birth control, unbridled military power, governmental secret-keeping in the name of national security, lack of moral standards, and the abuse of innocent children.

1. Ender is brought up in a nonreligious household, and his ethical training is left to educators. Do you think that this was a mistake on his parents' part? How do you think Ender's character would have been changed if his parents had chosen to give their children private moral instruction?

2. Ender's parents are easily manipulated because of their guilt at leaving their religions and their families to gain the benefits of a two-child society. What result do you think that forced birth control would produce in society? What type of pressure do you think a two-child society would put on non-conforming couples?

3. Clearly, the military men are convinced that their end justifies the means, even though they are aware that the Battle School engages in mental and physical abuse of children aged 6 to 16. How do you think that their outlook would change if they were forced to disclose this abuse instead of cloaking it in terms of "national security"?

4. The military men in Ender's Game are clearly keeping secrets, sometimes simply because they are conditioned not to tell. When, if ever, is a government justified in keeping secrets from its people? What type of information do you think should be classified? How long should material remain classified? Should potentially embarrassing material be exempt from disclosure?