Ender Wiggin is born as the third child. He enters a world that honors only two children born to every family. The love of one sibling and the vicious hatred of another mark his earliest years. These experiences grow intensely when it is realized that Ender has uniquely special mental powers. This genius, as others call him, is filled with fear and uncertainty but agrees to the government's request for his training and preparation for a monumental task - to save the world from aliens known as "buggers".
Power is what plagues this young boy called to do a man's job. The reader is carried into Ender's training which is basically composed of "games" on computers and against teams on the training spaceship which is never expected to return to Earth. You, the reader, will feel the fright, the intensity, the hatred, the joy, and finally the confusion experienced by this magnificent young man. This book is oh so rightfully considered a "classic", one that was awarded both the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards. To say it is deserving would be the understatement of the new century!
The plot is rivetting with its twists and turns, the main characters are complex, and the complex issues Ender must resolve, both with and without assistance, will leave you remembering this engaging creative work for years to come!
Attached to the Reading Guide for this novel is some vocabulary definitions for young adult readers who will perhaps not wish to wrestle while they furiously turn the pages of this captivating story.
Reader's Discussion Guide:
1. What does it mean to "submerge himself in someone else's will?
2. Explain the statement, "Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth." After you explain it, tell whether you agree or disagree with the statement and give reasons to support your answer.
3. Explain what it seems to mean for Ender to be born a "Third". Show whether this is a negative or positive fact to:
a. - his parents
b. - his brother, Peter
c. - his sister, Valentine
d. - his classmates
1. Explain the following quote from Chapter 4 of Ender's Game: "Isolate him enough that he remains creative - otherwise he'll adopt the system here and we'll lose him." Your answer should include the terms: isolation, creative, adopt, lose.
2. We are told that "breaking geniuses" makes them better people. Do you see this as true or false? Explain your answer.
3. We are told that being homesick is not acceptable, because the boys leaving are supposed to be seen as "heroes". Does this mean that "heroes" are not supposed to have the same feelings as other people or be beyond them? Explain your answer.
4. Competition and praising Ender's skills are meant to set him apart from the others. For what purpose is this being done and what are the possible types of consequences of these actions?
5. Explain the following quote in relation to this story and to your own life: "Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive."
6. We are told Ender can have friends but not parents. Do you think the outcome of this attitude will be good for Ender or not? What happens to children who do not have parents or good parental role models?
7. Ender works hard to express his feelings in private and not show homesickness in front of any other person. Is it healthy for him or not? What is positive and what is negative about showing feelings? What is positive and what is negative about not showing feelings?
8. Ender sets up a file for a nonexistent student called God. Is this Orson Scott Card's comment on the personality and behavior of God in religion or not? Explain your answer.
9. List the different coping mechanisms (ways of dealing with difficulties) Ender shows. For each one describe whether the overall result of each is helpful or harmful to Ender.
10. How do Ender and his new friends deal with prejudice? Is it successful or not and why?
11. What is the purpose of the "Giant's" Game? How should Ender evaluate his success at this game? Is he a murderer?
Chapter 7 - end
1. We learn in this chapter that there is a question of whether it is OK to sacrifice the well-being of a child in order to save the world. What exactly is Ender having to sacrifice? How do you think he is being trained to save the world?
2. We see that there are some traces or left- over signs of religion and "holiness". What are these? Why have they become forbidden? What does it mean that some still secretly practice these signs despite their being illegal or forbidden?
3. How does Ender react to conflicts? What are his reactions? How would you react to the same events? Is what you would do different from what you would like to do?
4. A snake appears as part of a game. How would you respond at this portion of the game on the screen? Why?
5. What is the "just living" mentioned in this chapter? Is it true that Ender has never done this? How would you feel if you were he?
6. Ender's attitude is growing stronger. Why?
7. Explain the following quote with specific examples from the novel (as far as you have read).
8. What is the difference between "hot" and "cold" anger as mentioned in this chapter? Have you experienced both? If so, how?
9. Why have people abandoned the practice of celebrating birthdays? What would your life be like if your birthday were forgotten or ignored or if it is so now?
10. Explain the meaning of the nightmare Ender experiences.
11. Ender thinks out his evaluation of Bonzo's leadership qualities (or lack of them). Do you think the other boys will agree with Ender's thinking or do you think this is just Ender's interpretation? Explain your answer.