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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Youth

What do you usually think of when you ponder childhood? Toys and games? Schoolwork? Innocence? Growing up? Being carefree? Ender's Game is all about kids, but it doesn't fit any of our assumptions...

Manipulation

You can almost count the number of times that adults tell Ender the truth on the fingers of one hand. Ender sums it up pretty succinctly when he notes, “I've spent my life as someone's pawn" (15....

Warfare

The most important part of Ender’s life is the war against the buggers. If there were no war, then Ender wouldn’t go to Battle School. (Heck, if there’s no war against the buggers, then the g...

Isolation

Ender is the loneliest little boy in the whole galaxy. That’s pretty much all we need to say about the issue of isolation in Ender’s Game. But, OK, we’ll go on. He’s lonely at Battle School...

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 sup...

Community

A large part of Ender's Game is about Ender trying to find his proper place in the world – a community to which he can belong, a community where he can live without worrying about competition and...

Friendship

Besides having a brother who wants to kill him, parents who feel conflicted about him, a teacher who lies to him, and an alien species that might want to destroy his planet, Ender’s big problem i...

Strength and Skill

No one can beat Ender – not at anything. Ender is the smartest boy in the world, but he also has some serious hand-eye coordination, is very empathic and caring, and, um, is the best killer out o...

Identity

Very often, we would classify a book about young kids growing up as a “coming-of-age” story. And very often that sort of story would have the characters asking questions about their identity ...

Freedom and Confinement

Here’s a fun game: count the number of ways that Ender gets confined in this book. Actually, that’s not a fun game at all because the subject is just sad. But you can still impress your friends...
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