Ender's Game

Ender's Game Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Does Ender have more of Valentine's personality or Peter's? What characteristics are more characteristic of Valentine or Peter? What are Ender's unique qualities?

  2. 2

    Mazer suggests that one's best teacher is one's enemy. Who are the most effective teachers in the novel, and why?

  3. 3

    How innocent or guilty are the buggers for killing innocent humans, presuming they did not know that the humans were intelligent beings rather than, say, bugs?

  4. 4

    Put yourself in the position of world leader. Given what your civilization knows about the buggers and their invasions, what would you do? What information from the novel would lead to different courses of action? Which information did world leaders have when they decided to send a fleet towards the bugger worlds? Was there any opportunity for peace, or was a surprise attack the only realistic option?

  5. 5

    Consider the abilities of the young children--most of all, Ender and his siblings, and Bean. Does the educational system of the future push children to meet their full potential--and does Card seem to indict today's educational system for making school too easy? Compare, for example, Plato's ideas for educating the most able children to become leaders in the Republic, and what you know about the Spartan educational system. Is it true, as Plato and others suggest, that in becoming a tool of society, one sacrifices one's personal goals?

  6. 6

    Was it the right strategy for the adults to trick Ender into fighting the buggers?

  7. 7

    Ender is a great leader, yet he is alone. What is it that makes a leader in some way inevitably unable to be a friend of his followers?

  8. 8

    What do you think of Ender's observation that "Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth"?

  9. 9

    As the bugger war ends, suppressed conflicts break out on Earth. In the novel, what is the unifying effect of having a common enemy?

  10. 10

    In the beginning of the novel, Graff tells Ender, "Human beings are free except when humanity needs them." Do you think that Graff was right in his assessment of this aspect of the human condition? Can anyone become fully free of responsibility to humanity, even if he seems to have no skills that are of use? In what ways is Ender free?

  11. 11

    Does anyone represent "good" or "evil" unambiguously in the novel? Are there any values that the novel suggests are universal, as suggested by a common value shared by the humans and the buggers?