by Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game Theme of Competition
Competition is the name of the game in Ender’s Game. The International Fleet needs a bunch of people, but they only need one supreme commander. (And for entirely other reasons, they need that supreme commander to be a super genius who’s easy to fool.) In order to find out which of their super geniuses children is the super genius, the kids have to compete. And compete. And compete. Competition also comes up outside of Battle School. For instance, in Peter’s view of the world and, most notably, in Ender and Peter’s relationship.
Questions About Competition
- How do characters react to competition? Are there positive portrayals of competition in this book? Negative portrayals? Does competition help more than it hurts characters?
- Games should be fair (everyone should have the same chance), but as Graff points out, war isn’t fair. How do characters talk about fairness in these games? What about when Ender’s opponents are given advantages in the null gravity laser tag game? How do people react to those unfair changes?
- How does competition relate to the other themes in this book, like Warfare and Identity?