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ENDER'S GAME STUDY GUIDE
The mood in the novel is one of seriousness. Even though the main characters are children, their lives are not like those typically portrayed. Peter is capable of evil acts, like torturing the squirrel, and gaining power, despite his youth. Up at the Battle School, there are few light-hearted moments, and the friendships that Ender does develop are all of a grave nature; at one point, Alai and Shen are jokingly reminiscing about the fight in the Battle Room, but Ender realizes that even then he is always to be treated as a commander. When there are fights, children get hurt and killed. Ender is even tricked into destroying the buggersí world, and the action weighs heavily on him. He goes through periods of intense emotional turmoil, as seen when he bit his own fist to the point of drawing blood in his sleep.
Even when things seem to be going well for Ender, he realizes what he feels is ďdespairĒ. The word choice here is emphasized, adding even more intensity behind it. Furthermore, a good portion of the novel is set in the Battle School, which, as a space environment, is relatively sterile, not much of a home environment where characters can be comfortable and relaxed. The overall effect of the mood, developed by the characters, plot, word choice, and setting, helps to further the seriousness of the themes of good versus evil, destruction, and manipulation.
AUTHOR INFORMATION - BIOGRAPHY
Orson Scott Card (1951-) is best known for Enderís Game and the other novels in the series, especially Speaker for the Dead, which have been recognized and awarded among science fiction circles. Card has also written in a variety of other genres, including plays, short stories, books on writing, the Homecoming series, other science fiction books, and nonfiction, such as articles on computer technology.
Enderís Game first appeared in abbreviated form in a magazine in 1977. Card later expanded it into a full-length novel, published in 1985, to better establish Ender as a character for Speaker for the Dead. There is a film based on the novel currently in the works.
Card himself was born and raised out in the western United States as a Mormon. As a youth, he read a good deal of fiction and history, and was exposed as a teenager to the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, which stuck with him. He had five children and now lives in Greensboro, North Carolina (featured in Enderís Game).
LITERARY / HISTORICAL INFORMATION
The main literary influence on Card was the Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov. The books are based on the idea that there are predictable cycles to history, and a psychohistorian uses these to predict the future in order to shorten a dark period; on a much smaller scale, Peter does this, when he influences events to prevent large-scale war from breaking out. Also in common with Enderís Game is the need to save mankind, and the spread of man through the universe. Fighting is seen as a last option, and trickery and deceit are often used.
The main historical influence would seem to be the Cold War. This manifests itself in the world polarization into two political spheres, Peterís monitoring of Russian troop movements and fear of war, and weapons that can destroy whole worlds. It is even possible that the Russian image of training kids demandingly for the future formed part of the basis of Cardís conception of Battle School. Throughout the book, Card also makes numerous historical allusions, to figures such as Locke, Demosthenes, Caesar, and Alexander. This serves to ground the novel more, to make it seem more as a possible future for Earth, by giving the reader identifiable points from which to project from.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version