A Short Note Before Starting
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
If you haven’t read Orson Scott Card’s introduction to Ender's Game, you might take a look at it, if only for the part where Card says that he avoided all the literary tricks that make reading hard (Intro.32). (You can read his introduction here.) But that doesn’t mean that Card avoids symbolism. Mostly, it tends to mean that his symbolism is rather clear. For instance, when Ender’s character in the mind game can’t play on a playground, that kind of seems like a symbol for his lost childhood.
There’s a curious thing we noticed, though: it’s hard to pin down any single image that runs through the whole book. What we generally have in this book are larger categories, like “games” – it’s not like Ender’s life is symbolized by any particular game, but games are all over his life. We’re going to talk about our top four categories for symbols/images that are pretty common in this book.