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Ender's Game Free Online Study Guide/Book Notes Summary
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ENDER'S GAME BY ORSON SCOTT CARD

KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel starts off on Earth, with scenes at the school and the Wiggin home. Little attention is given to the details of this setting, not even the name of the city, and so it comes across as a standard American neighborhood. The shuttle ride introduces Ender to space environments. This involves a degree of disorientation, and it is on the shuttle that Ender learns how to change his perspective as to which direction is up in his setting.

Battle School is composed of army barracks with rows of bunk beds; dining halls one for soldiers and one for commanders, with scoreboards decorating both; the game room, with various video games for the children to play; battlerooms, where the children have practice and battles in zero gravity; and a gym with shower rooms, where Ender and Bonzo fight. There is also an area for teachersí quarters, which the children never go to, but it is presumably in this vicinity where the conversations between Graff and other adults takes place. Although the Battle School is a very controlled setting, Ender comes to realize that the adults will use this control to put him through trials, not to prevent violence and conflict.

Back on Earth, the Wiggin family has moved out to the country in North Carolina. It is in these woods where Valentine comes across a squirrel that Peter tortured to death, and where the two have their discussion, leading to the creation of the Locke and Demosthenes identities. Hence, what goes on in the woods is seen as removed from what is normally expected in a society. There is also a scene when Graff comes to Valentineís school, with the school serving as a place which reestablishes authority over the children, as seen in Valentineís consent to write the letter to Ender even though she regrets it.

When Ender returns to Earth on leave before going to Command School, he too goes to North Carolina. There, secluded in the wilderness, is a large house, overlooking lakes on either side. Although there are wasps that Ender says will sting without provocation, the setting is peaceful, allowing Ender the mental recovery and relaxation he needs. Though at first, the sunlight, different gravity, and ground (which did not curve upwards like at Battle School) feel unfamiliar to him, it is here that Ender learns to love Earth.

The shuttle ride to Eros, where Command School is located, is long and Ender and Graff begin to feel enclosed and tired of the space. Eros, built by the buggers, is not much better; the low ceilings, narrow passages, downward-sloping floor, and lower gravity make Ender uncomfortable. The focus of activity here is in the simulation rooms, where, it turns out, Ender is actually commanding the real fleets.

When he leaves Eros, it is not for Earth, but for the first human colony, on a former bugger world, which will become known as Enderís World. While looking for a location for another group of colonists, Ender discovers a landscape mimicking that in the fantasy game he played at Battle School. The setting here is used by the buggers to communicate with Ender and lead him to the discovery of their hive queen.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Ender

Ender is a small boy, only six years old when the novel begins, and not much older than ten years old when he defeats the buggers. He is a Third, but permitted by the government to be born because he has the superior intelligence of the Wiggin children and a disposition that is kinder than Peterís, but not as sensitive as Valentine. As such, Ender is able to do well in Battle School and go on to successfully command the human mission to the bugger home world in Command School, but he regrets the deaths he has caused, and is glad for the chance the hive queen presents of trying to redeem himself.

Valentine

The sister of Ender, she consistently comes to his defense, whether it be when Peter threatens him, or when she feels that Graff is suggesting that Ender is mentally similar to Peter. Although she agrees to go along with Peterís plan for keeping the world united by taking on the identity of Demosthenes in her writings on the nets, she believes that her ability to persuade by flattery along with her other strengths (such as equal mental abilities) will, in the end, make her stronger than Peter. She is able to use that power to keep Ender from going back to Earth, where she is sure that he would fall under Peterís control, and instead takes him to the colony, where she writes a history of the war.

Peter

The oldest of the Wiggin children, Peter uses threats and violence in order to control those around him. Despite having tortured a squirrel in the woods, he admits that he fears becoming evil, and takes on the identity of Locke in order to influence events. When the bugger war ends, he ends the fighting on Earth through the Locke Proposal, and becomes Hegemon, basically ruling the world.


Graff

Although the character appears only at the beginning of the chapters and then sporadically through the events, he is the main adult character in the novel. It is Graff who decides what will be done to Ender in order to shape him into a commander, and although he knows that this will put Ender through a lot of difficult situations, he says that, in the end, he will be Enderís friend.

Minor Characters

buggers

Little is known about them throughout the novel, even though they are presented as the threat to humankind. Because they are unable to communicate with humans, they are unable to explain the misunderstanding that resulted in them fighting against the humans in the previous two wars, and to avert the third one. Their home world is destroyed when Ender uses the device on it, but they create a landscape mimicking the one in the fantasy game in order to lead Ender to the hive queen, who explains the situation, leading to Enderís promise to find a new world for the buggers.

Mazer Rackham

Rackham had been the commander who had won the previous bugger war, by taking out the ship with the queen on it. The old man becomes Enderís teacher when he comes to Command School, and Ender believes it is him he is fighting on the simulator; Mazer is also the one who tells Ender after the war that this is not the case, that Ender has been fighting the buggers all along. He pilots the ship to the first colony on a bugger homeworld.

Stilson

Stilson is the bully at Enderís school at the start of the novel. He picks on Ender along with a group of other boys and when Ender talks him into fighting one-on-one, Ender kills him. Although the character is thus physically absent from the rest of the novel, Ender thinks about him throughout, as the first time he killed.

Battle School children (Alai, Bonzo, Petra, Dink, Bean, etc.)

The children at the Battle School are unlike typical children, in that they all feel the pressure of commanding in order to one day defeat the buggers. Alai is Enderís first and strongest friendship, Petra helps train him when he is not able to practice with the army, and Dink allows him to develop his skills at the game as well as warning him when he is in danger from Bonzo and his gang; Bean is similar to Ender, in that he is young and quite talented at the game. Most of his friends from Battle School end up fighting alongside Ender at Command School against the buggers, but the relationship of a commander to his subordinates remains strong.

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